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Young-Williams Animal Center achieves first-ever ‘no-kill’ status

May 2, 2019

Young-Williams Animal Center has achieved “no-kill” status for the first time in the shelter’s history, marking a milestone toward fulfilling its vision to find a home for every pet. In 2018, Young-Williams Animal Center saved 8,311 pets.

“We’ve worked diligently through innovative programs and community involvement to make it to this day, and it is such a remarkable achievement for our staff and the volunteers who care for our animals and put these programs into practice,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “We celebrate for the animals, we celebrate for the families, we celebrate for the community and we celebrate for the staff and volunteers.

“We’re not stopping now – we will continue to move forward in our laser focus on finding a home for every pet and saving lives of animals so deserving of a second chance.”

Young-Williams Animal Center CEO Janet Testerman announces that the shelter has achieved “no-kill” designation.

Achieving “no-kill” status means that a shelter saves all healthy and treatable animals. The generally accepted goal is for an overall save rate of 90%, which Young-Williams Animal Center has reached – a remarkable feat for a shelter required to take every animal brought in, no matter how sick or injured, according to Testerman. Young-Williams Animal Center, which was established in 2004, is the official municipal shelter for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Community involvement, government support and the implementation of key programs led to the shelter’s save rate of 90.45%.

Through the Pet Resource Center, people who are at risk of surrendering a pet due to behavior issues, cost of care, housing issues and other factors can receive help to keep the pet out of the shelter. In 2018, the Pet Resource Center provided assistance to keep 94 pets in their homes and resources for owners to privately re-home another 198 pets, keeping nearly 300 animals from ever entering the shelter.

The foster care program not only allows adoptable animals to spend time and become socialized in private homes but also opens additional space at the shelter for incoming animals. Last year, 1,928 animals were placed through the foster care program.

Last year, 5,772 animals were adopted from Young-Williams Animal Center. Another 1,102 pets were transferred to a rescue operation, and 1,437 animals were reunited with their families.

Other factors leading to the shelter’s overall success include the Spay/Neuter Solutions program, which provides lower-cost surgeries at Young-Williams Animal Village, and a mobile shuttle that offers spay and neuter services at community locations across Knoxville and Knox County.

Enacted this year, the new Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return program known as TNVR will also have a great impact on the number of cats that enter the shelter.

With the community’s help, the combination of these programs could lead to an even higher number of lives saved in 2019.

“The work that we’re doing at Young-Williams Animal Center is fueled by the great support of our community. We want them to know that we appreciate them and need their help to save even more lives this year,” Testerman says. “Last year, 16,000 volunteer hours were donated by 930 volunteers, along with goods and money, including private donations and corporate sponsorships. We strive to put every hour and every dollar to good use to provide a shelter that provides the best quality of care while these animals are with us and a shelter that our community can stand behind and be proud of every day.”

About Young-Williams Animal Center
The vision of Young-Williams Animal Center is “a home for every pet.” It is the municipal shelter of the City of Knoxville and Knox County, and in 2018, the center took in more than 9,000 animals.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Young-Williams Animal Center serves the needs of lost, unwanted, abandoned and neglected animals. The center’s mission is to lead the community to end pet homelessness, promote animal welfare and enhance the human-animal bond through the shelter and placement of animals, spay/neuter initiatives and public education of companion animal issues. Young-Williams Animal Center reminds pet owners to spay and neuter their pets.

Young-Williams Animal Center’s main facility is located off Sutherland Avenue at 3201 Division Street. Young-Williams Animal Village satellite adoption location and public spay/neuter program is located at 6400 Kingston Pike.

Both locations are open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The shelter closes from 1-2 p.m. for an hour of quiet time for the animals. For more information about Young-Williams Animal Center, call 865-215-6599 or visit