Young-Williams Animal Center received a $60,000 grant from PetSmart Charities to help keep more pets in loving homes and out of shelters in Knoxville.

As the face of family changes over the years, what remains constant is the role pets play in our lives. Many people consider pets family members, and it can be challenging to find resources when facing life changes and issues such as homelessness, lack of pet-friendly housing, military deployment or fleeing domestic violence in search of a safe haven. Pet parents in these and other at-risk situations often determine they have no options beyond surrendering their beloved pet to a local shelter.

With this grant, Young-Williams Animal Center’s Animal Haven program will help preserve the bond between pets and their people by providing boarding services for people who are experiencing a life crisis like home loss, domestic abuse or hospitalization and have no alternative pet caretakers. So far, the shelter has helped 71 animals and their families through the program, and Young-Williams Animal Center can serve up to 65 more families.

“Through our Animal Haven program, we aim to help assist people and their pets so they can stay together,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Keeping families and their furry friends together is important to our organization’s mission of finding a forever home for every animal. I am grateful for this generous grant, and I am confident it will change the lives of many pets and people in our community.”

“A family in crisis needs every member to experience the comfort of togetherness,” said Kelly Balthazor, Senior Community Grants Manager at PetSmart Charities. “When tragedy strikes, pets bring comfort to their people. And pet parents need to be able to continue to feed and care for them, too. Supporting the important work our friends are doing at the Young-Williams Animal Center ensure more families can do the hard work of healing – together.


About PetSmart Charities® PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 600,000 shelter pets each year. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting almost $400 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 16 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit

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Media Contact: Maria McHale 865-544-0088 [email protected]