TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
A tiny Chihuahua in a red plaid sweater wagged his tail at the sight of a small crowd of high school students Friday.
The kids were equally thrilled about the dog, and when his owner placed him on the floor, he walked to the students.
A girl sits down to hold him, another placed him in her lap. He soaked up the attention and — for a moment — stole the spotlight from the speakers.
Thus began the event employees of the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter held for members of Whitley County High School’s Fighting Animal Cruelty Together (FACT) club.
Ashley Wyatt and Amanda Foreman spoke to the students about animals in shelters and volunteering for the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter. Foreman brought her Chihuahua named Little Man as a guest, and they began their program by talking about the shelter’s losses in a recent devastating fire, particularly Sassy — the shelter’s canine mascot who perished in the blaze.
The Friday program was among the shelter’s programs that continue despite the Nov. 29 fire that destroyed the shelter.
Wyatt said the shelter continues its canine spay-and-neuter program for low-income families in the 40769 zip code. Wyatt also said shelter staff is available for educational programs, and they could be contacted for these events via their e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The shelter’s temporary building, owned by Ralph Rogers of Corbin, was leased to the shelter at a reduced rate, according to public relations volunteer Theresa Martin. The building was formerly A&J Lawn Mowers and has electricity, heat, and water, Martin said. The building will be equipped with enough kennels and supplies to accommodate up to 50 cats, dogs, puppies, and kittens and will also include a small office, Martin said.
Shelter officials have decided not to rebuild on their old site, according to Foreman. A place to begin building the new permanent shelter is being sought. Foreman said they hoped to only be in their temporary building for three to six months.
Martin said the supplies to set up the shelter were made possible through the generous donations of many in the community who dropped off items at the shelter’s four drop off locations, as well as contributions made from the Christian Appalachian Project and Petsmart charities.
According to Foreman and Wyatt, memorial T-shirts for the shelter will be available at Dr. Mike Culver’s office on 319 Tackett Creek Road in Williamsburg starting today (Saturday) for $10.
The shelter continues to accept and receive donations of supplies and money, Martin said, and all proceeds are being used to rebuild the shelter and care for any animals taken in. Included among those donations was proceeds from a FACT club fundraiser.
The fundraiser, sponsored by teacher Johna White, raised money for the shelter through an ugly sweater contest, in which teachers would wear ugly Christmas sweaters and students would vote for the ugliest sweater by donating money. Their goal was to raise $500, which was exceeded when donations added up to $577. The winner of the contest was teacher Kelly Bryant.
The shelter also continues to accept offers to volunteer and foster animals, according to Martin. Volunteers may privately message the animal shelter’s Facebook page (Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter) or call the shelter.
According to Wyatt, the temporary shelter is now open and so far holds 10 dogs and puppies. The shelter’s old phone number, 526-6925, will also carry over to the new location once phone services are set up. However, strays and abandoned animals will still be the only animals taken in; the shelter continues to request that owners care for their animals rather than surrender them.
Any animals that have not been adopted or claimed at the temporary shelter will be placed in rescues or other shelters. These organizations include the Lexington Humane Society, Wagging Hearts of Chicago, Homeward Bound of Lexington, and Hope for Animals Rescue Team in Corbin.
Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter hours
The temporary shelter will allow people to view strays or find lost pets Tuesdays from 11-4, Wednesday through Friday 11-3, and Saturday 10-1. People will be able to drop off strays or abandoned animals Tuesday-Friday 11-1 and Saturday 10-12. Those who wish to adopt an animal from Knox-Whitley should call, and as animals come in and the shelter’s internet is up and running, potential adopters will be able to check out available animals on petfinder.com or kwasonline.com.