Blount animal shelter to open next week

Furniture, supplies moved in; some work still needed

By Robert Wilson knoxnews
MARYVILLE - Initial operations will commence next week at the new Blount County Animal Shelter, beginning a new phase in animal control for the county.

Taking advantage of an 18-wheeler and labor donated by Bock's Moving Systems of Blount County, Mayor Jerry Cunningham helped oversee the delivery of the first furniture, supplies, dog food, beds and other goods to the shelter, parts of which remain unfinished.

The part of the shelter that will house - and, in some circumstances, quarantine - dogs and cats picked up by animal control personnel is complete and could be in use as early as next week, the mayor said.

Cages and fenced runs are in place.

The foyer, adoption area and some other rooms and offices at the shelter still require interior work.

Cunningham said the county has obtained surplus furniture and office accessories from the University of Tennessee and the county's own courthouse for use in the shelter. Some appliances, such as a washer, dryer, refrigerator and surgical equipment, are still to come.

In addition, Vulcan Materials recently donated about 75 tons of rock, which was spread on the shelter's parking lot.

Most of the donated items, including beds, food and supplies, have been donated by private citizens, Cunningham said.

By next week, he said, Blount County should be able to stop taking animals to the shelter in Loudon County, as it has done ever since a previous Blount County Commission refused to agree to a fee increase demanded by the Maryville Animal Shelter, which had previously handled the county's stray and surrendered animals.

"Loudon County has been just wonderful," Cunningham said.

Jon Bock, owner of Bock's Moving Systems, said he donated use of his truck for Wednesday's move, and three of his employees donated their services.

Helping carry items into the shelter were Jeanette Sadler, who will serve as director of the shelter, and Amy Cowden, executive administrative assistant to Cunningham.