Local shelter receives criticism for foster program

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Last May Shaylyn Schaepe and her boyfriend fostered 4 kittens from Kingsport’s animal shelter, Petworks, with hopes to adopt them.

“The first 24 hours we lost one of them and then a few days later we lost another one…we lost all of the kittens eventually,” said Schaepe.

She says the kittens were only a day old with their umbilical cords still attached. She says she felt unprepared.

“I didn’t even know that you needed to syringe feed them if they wouldn’t take a bottle,” said Schaepe.

Shaylyn says that the shelter never followed up with her about the kittens.

“They told me if they survive that I could bring them back, I could foster them out…I could do whatever I wanted with them. They didn’t care,” she claims.

Shaylyn’s case is not the only one according to Neonatal Kitten Rescue who says people have approached them after adopting kittens from Petworks.

They even went as far as making a Facebook post asking for people to share their stories in hopes that they could help.

“We know how to take care of them, we have protocols in place to take care of the kittens,” said Neonatal Kitten Rescue’s director, Heather Whittle.

Whittle says the whole situation is disheartening- especially since the kittens leave without being spayed or neutered.

“That organization becomes part of the problem that the rest of us and other shelters have to pick up the pieces and go find our funding and our donations to be able to take care of all of them,” Whittle says.

Whittle also claims the kittens she has seen are too young to be vaccinated.

News Channel 11 took the concerns to Petworks in Kingsport- the shelter manager, Donna Davidson, says they can’t reach back out to all foster families.

“It’s very busy here. We’re very short-handed, short-staffed. If the girls have time, they will try to check in on them but if there’s a problem they need to contact us and let us know,” says Davidson.

Davidson also says all new foster parents leave the shelter knowing that the odds could be against them.

“We explain that upfront, you know- there’s a risk. This kitten may not make it or this litter may not make it and it happens,” Davidson said. “Sometimes they fail to thrive.”

Petworks also says they typically try to foster kittens out around 3 weeks old or when they are at least one pound and eating on their own.

Once Davidson learned of Schaepe’s case she said this was an oversight.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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