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S.O.S!!!!! ----- Save OUR Shelter PLEASE SHARE!!!!!

Friends of the Animal Shelter needs your support. Beginning as soon as July 1st, we may be forced to no longer serve Cocke County as the County’s animal shelter. We will have to become some other form of animal welfare organization. It’s unknown what the county will do to address the lost, injured, unwanted and surrendered animals of Cocke County. As painful as it will be for all of us, there is just nothing more that we can do that hasn’t already been done.

The budget committee of the Cocke County Government will hear our request for an increase to our budget on Monday June 7th at 4:00 p.m. in the Chancery Courtroom in the Annex Building. The committee has already set the budget for the shelter at the same amount as in past years but is willing to listen to our request. Your support at the meeting would be welcome.

We’ve tried every cost cutting measure possible to keep the operating expenses of the animal shelter to a minimum. Our paid workers do not even get vacation, sick days or any health benefits and the average pay is $10.00/hr. This last year it cost approximately $23,000 a month to operate the shelter. Utilities, insurance, medicine, vehicles, vet bills, supplies, staff and other necessary expenses. The County Government contributes $8,333.34 a month towards our expenses, barely one third of what’s needed. ALL capital expenses like replacing washers and dryers, fixing leaking roofs or gutter replacements, are paid by donors who make restricted donations to the shelter. NO operational funds are used for anything but operational expenses.

All of the recent upgrades to the shelter such as Calvin’s Room, the Cat Rooms, the shelter entrance, etc., have all been made with donations and specific fund raising efforts specifically for those projects – none of these projects were funded with operational funds.

We can no longer operate with this much of a deficit in our funding. We’ve tried hard with hundreds of hours of time donated by our wonderful volunteers to raise money for the shelter to make up the difference. We stand at roadblocks at Walgreens, the three way on 321 and all kinds of fundraising activities including the thrift store, Wags-2-Wiggles. And of course, with all of your donations to the shelter when we’ve asked for your help. All of these efforts have kept us almost even each month, but it’s not sustainable for the long-term operation. We can’t afford for any of the extraordinary fund raising or donations to fall off or we would not be able to pay our bills. Last year, one of our board members had to lend money to the shelter so we could pay our employees.

We are asking the budget committee and the CLB to increase our budget to pay one half of our operating expenses. Our all-volunteer board of directors and the dozens of volunteers and donors will continue to fund raise for the difference and for the capital expenditures that need to be made.

The CLB needs to hear from its county residents. The animals of Cocke County have a voice, and it’s yours. We are asking you to please, please contact the CLB Commissioner in your district by phone and or email and tell them that you need them to support the shelter’s budget request for half of the operating expenses. If the Commissioners do not hear from you then they don’t know what’s important to you. They will be voting on the final budget within a couple of weeks.

Below is a list of the CLB Commissioner and their available contact information. When you send an email to your commissioner please copy us a THANK YOU!

Dist. Commissioner Phone Email

1-Calvin Ball 423-623-9554

1- Barry Ford 423-608-3432

2-H. Clay Blazer 423-623-6971

2-Gayla Blazer 423-623-2083

3-Norman Smith 423-625-9485

3-Terry Dawson 423-237-0481

4-Jonathan Laws 423-415-9880

4-Jeff Esslinger

5-Dan Bright 423-721-1105

5-Casey Gillam 423-465-2317

6-Forrest Clevenger 423-237-3512

6-David Veridal 423-721-1413

7-Kyle Shute 423-248-9915

7-Gary Carver 423-608-1584

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