Economic slump bites Knoxville animal shelter hard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The combination of pet over-population and the downturn in the economy makes for a breeding ground for trouble at the Young-Williams Animal Center.

Record numbers of animals are being put down as more animals turn up at local shelters.

For Melissa Gianbolvo's family, adopting a pet from an animal shelter is the only way to go.

"We are hoping to give at least one a good home today."

Gianbolvo adds, "we had got a dog before at a shelter and she just became such a blessing, she was the best dog and when we lost her it was like losing a part of the family."

Now the newest addition to the family, 2-year-old Kenneth Shane, is learning an important lesson on pet over-population. A problem that has Young-Williams euthanizing more animals than at any time since the shelter opened seven years ago.

Melissa says, "I just want him to know it's better to give a dog that needs a home, a good home."

But for every animal being adopted from the Young-Williams Animal Center, a record seven animals are being brought in.

Center Executive Director Tim Adams says, "In 2007 we had 17,213 animals come into your city county animal center."

And with the down turn in the economy, there are days when 40-50 percent of the animals brought in are owner surrendered.

Adams says, "People have to make choices, you are going to feed your kids before you are going to feed your animals, so a lot of time people grudgingly bring their animals in and owner surrender them, that does happen."

You can do your part by spaying and neutering your pets, avoid breeding and to adopt from a shelter, like the Gianbolvo family.

Melissa says, "if I can save one that will make me feel a bit better."

To adopt an animal, or if you need help with food donations, call the Young Williams Animal Center at 865-215-6599.

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