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Young-Williams Animal Center receives surprise $750,000 grant from Petco Foundation

February 14, 2019

Today, Young-Williams Animal Center celebrated a surprise Valentine’s Day grant for $750,000 from the Petco Foundation to support the shelter’s lifesaving animal rescue efforts in Knoxville.

Representatives from the Petco Foundation and Petco joined the shelter’s staff and leadership to surprise Young-Williams Animal Center with a check presentation and Valentine’s Day lunch, along with toys and treats for the animals. This event was one of 16 celebrations across the country – and the only one in Tennessee – held to thank staff and volunteers for their hard work.

“We are so grateful for the support and Valentine’s Day surprise from the Petco Foundation as part of its Send Love to Shelter Pets campaign and can’t thank them enough,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “A grant of this magnitude will allow us to help so many more animals and pet owners across our community, making a huge impact toward our goal to find a home for every pet.”

The funds from the Petco Foundation grant will assist Young-Williams Animal Center with lifesaving initiatives, such as low-cost spay/neuter services for families with limited resources, animal enrichment and behavioral training resources, training and education for employees, and facility improvements.

“Valentine’s Day is all about love, and we especially love shelter pets, so it’s exciting to make this Valentine’s Day special for the people who work tirelessly every day to save them,” said Susanne Kogut, president of the Petco Foundation. “Our grant investments are designed to support the organizations that have the biggest hearts and who save the most lives. We’re so honored to be a partner in Young-Williams’ lifesaving work. And we aren’t the only ones who wanted to thank them. Adopters around the country conveyed their gratitude with their personal messages to staff and volunteers working hard to save lives all year round.”

In addition to the grant, the Petco Foundation presented the shelter with the world’s largest virtual valentine to shelter pets and the people that care for them, an online mosaic of thousands of heartfelt valentine messages from supporters across the country.

“This Valentine’s Day, we can hug our pets just a little bit tighter knowing that we have this amazing ability to do more for Knoxville’s homeless animal population in the coming months,” Testerman says. “We are humbled by Petco Foundation’s recognition of our purpose and community.”

The celebration is part of the more than $14 million in grant investments that the Petco Foundation is committing to animal welfare organizations across the country as part of its annual investment efforts to find and invest in the most-effective lifesaving animal welfare organizations nationwide.

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

About the Petco Foundation
At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we’ve invested more than $230 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we’ve helped more than 5.5 million pets find their new loving families, and we’re just getting started. Visit to learn more about how you can get involved.