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February 14, 2013

Feb. 14, 2013

For more information,
Contact: Lauren Christ
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 544-0088

Jesse Mayshark
(865) 215-3710

Mabel the Beagle weighed 67 pounds when she was surrendered to Young-Williams Animal Center.

Mabel the Beagle weighed 67 pounds when she was surrendered to Young-Williams Animal Center.

When Mabel the Beagle was surrendered to Young-Williams Animal Center she was clinically obese, weighing a whopping 67 pounds. The shelter took in the overweight pooch with the hope of finding a new home for Mabel, and it was love at first sight when University of Tennessee Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Angela Witzel spotted the pudgy pooch. Witzel decided to adopt Mabel and enroll her in UT’s canine fat camp.

Mabel has now lost more than 40 pounds, earning herself the honor of Grand Marshall at the Sixth Annual Mardi Growl Parade and Festival on Saturday, March 2.

The City of Knoxville and Friends of Young-Williams Animal Center invite all Knoxville-area pet owners, animal lovers and furry friends to celebrate this inspirational dog, while enjoying the day’s festivities and supporting the animal shelter. The event features a pet-friendly parade at 11 a.m. and a festival in Market Square from noon-2 p.m.

“Mabel’s story is uplifting,” said Jeff Ashin, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Mabel reminds us how important a new beginning can be for the animals that come through our shelter doors looking for a loving home. Mabel has inspired many of us to commit to a healthier, and therefore happier, lifestyle for ourselves and our pets. Why not start with walking in the Mardi Growl parade with your dog?”

“We hope to see every Knoxville pet owner and animal lover at Mardi Growl – having fun and doing something healthy for you and your pet – all while supporting the adoption of animals through Young-Williams.”

All proceeds from the annual Mardi Growl event benefit Young-Williams Animal Center, and everyone, with or without pets, is encouraged to come downtown to watch the parade and join in the festivities.

Mabel, now more than 40 pounds lighter, is healthy, happy and this year's Grand Marshall of the Mardi Growl parade on Saturday, March 2, in downtown Knoxville.

Mabel, now more than 40 pounds lighter, is healthy, happy and this year’s Grand Marshall of the Mardi Growl parade on Saturday, March 2, in downtown Knoxville.

“The annual Mardi Growl event has become a flagship celebration for Knoxville, celebrating our community’s pet-friendly initiatives and commitment to animal welfare,” said City of Knoxville Mayor Rogero. “The event is a great way to raise awareness and funds for Young-Williams Animal Center, so that the shelter can help even more animals in need like Mabel.”

The costume parade for dogs and their owners is set for 11 a.m. on March 2. Early registration for the parade is $15 per dog and ends Friday, Feb. 22, and the first 1,000 Mardi Growl registrants will receive goodie bags. Registration is available at

Day-of event registration is $20 per dog and starts at 9 a.m. The parade begins at the PetSafe Downtown Dog Park located at the corner of Summit Hill Drive and Central Avenue in downtown Knoxville.

Parade prizes will be awarded to dogs in categories including Best Costume, Best Vol Spirit, Pet/Owner Look Alike, Most Congenial and Best Naked Dog as well as Best Dawg, recognizing the company or organization with the most participants in the parade.

Following the parade, the pet-friendly festival on Market Square from noon-2 p.m. will include pet-related product vendors; $10 microchips and $10 rabies vaccinations; animal welfare and rescue group booths; face painting and balloon animals; and more

Many downtown restaurants offer pet-friendly dining patios, and several restaurants in Market Square, the Old City and along Gay St. are event sponsors, donating 10 percent of their March 2 proceeds to Young-Williams. Look for “Official Restaurant of Mardi Growl” posters. Many downtown retailers are Mardi Growl sponsors as well.

Knoxville’s Mardi Growl is presented by the City of Knoxville and Friends of Young-Williams Animal Center, and event sponsors include Merial’s HeartGuard Plus and FrontLine Plus; WBIR-TV Channel 10; B97.5; Knoxville News Sentinel; DeRoyal; Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Elder Law Office of Monica Franklin; Kristin Designs Inc.; Erie Insurance; and Enrichment Federal Credit Union.

For more information about Mardi Growl, visit or or call 865-215-6599.

About Young-Williams Animal Center

Young-Williams Animal Center reminds the community to please spay and neuter your pets.

The Young-Williams Animal Center is the official animal shelter for Knox County and the City of Knoxville. The center is a nonprofit organization, community-supported through public and private donations, that turns no animal away and is dedicated to the sheltering and placement of animals, general animal welfare, and public education of companion animal issues.

Young-Williams Animal Center is located off Sutherland Avenue at the entrance to John Tarleton Park at 3201 Division St. Young-Williams Animal Village is located at 6400 Kingston Pike adjacent to Deane Hill Drive. Both locations are open seven days a week from noon-6 p.m.

For more information about Young-Williams Animal Center, including detailed driving directions, call 865-215-6599 or visit