Luckily, though, the coronavirus hasn’t stopped construction on the new facility, and, according to the president of the organization, work is moving along well and should wrap up in several months.
“It’s coming along great and GRC anticipates being done by the first of September, so it’s not very far away,” said Tom Parham, PETWORKS president. “The roof is on and the major work being done now is the masonry walls. It’s really well designed and has features no other shelter in the region has, from Roanoke to Knoxville.”
ABOUT THE SHELTER
PETWORKS’ new 17,000-square-foot facility is being built on a 3.5 acre site off East Stone Drive just east of Cleek Road — between Clayton Homes and Kingsport Used Tires.
Once completed, the facility — dubbed the Good Steward Adoption Center — will include room for 180 animals, isolation rooms for both dogs and cats, dedicated adoption spaces, an educational area for animal care and training, larger workspaces for employees and a 1.2 acre dog park on the rear of the property.
The facility has also been designed for an expansion, if Sullivan County chooses to rejoin the organization.
AN EMPHASIS ON SPAY/NEUTER
Animals brought to the new facility will be examined and evaluated. If they’re found to have a disease or be sick, Parham said they will go into one of the quarantine rooms for two weeks. The rooms are separate from the other rooms in the building, complete with their own ventilation system.
That makes a big difference in keeping the sick animals from infecting the well animals. That’s something the current shelter on Idle Hour Road does not have.
“It’s to make sure before we put them in with the animal population they’re healthy and in good shape,” Parham said.
PETWORKS’ goal is to spay or neuter all animals that go out its doors, with the exception of young puppies. Veterinarians say that if a puppy is less than 6 months old, it shouldn’t be spayed or neutered.
In those instances, Parham said, the facility will give the new owner a certificate to give to a vet of their choice to have the procedure done once the puppy comes of age.
“We also have an arrangement with the University of Tennessee and its outreach program where they’ll come up once a month, their vets and advanced students, and they’ll spay and neuter the animals we have at no cost,” Parham said. “We can offer that as an outreach for those who can’t afford the service.”
Typically, the spay and neuter costs will be covered by the adoption fees. PETWORKS’ plan is to get in front of the rapid reproduction of stray animals and bring that number down, Parham said.
PETWORKS has already raised about $2.2 million in pledges and commitments toward its $3.5 million goal and was planning to launch a public fundraising campaign in April. Then the pandemic hit and the organization had to hit the pause button, Parham said.
“We thought it would be inappropriate to ask folks to donate during a pandemic, but in about a month we’re going to make that offering available,” Parham said. “We’re coming along extremely well. It’s a project that’s going to attract regional interest, but for us to go forward, we’re depending on the community’s contributions.”
Within the next week or two, PETWORKS plans to start offering tours of the new building to those who have contributed to the project, to give them an idea of how their dollars are being spent and see how work is progressing on the state-of-the-art facility.
To make a donation to the campaign, visit www.petworkstn.com or mail checks to PETWORKS, P.O. Box 7545, Kingsport TN 37664. The organization also accepts cash, credit cards, gifts of stock, and more. For more information about donating, call Tom Parham at (423) 360-8092.