Kingsport’s new animal shelter is about $1 million off-target, and officials are turning to community fundraising to close the gap.
Petworks Kingsport Animal Services Director Donna Davidson said everything is still on track to break ground on the new facility next month, eyeing a spring 2020 opening. But she said the organization hasn’t recouped the full $3.2 million it cost to make the move to a brand-new building.
The City of Kingsport donated about $685,000 for the new building, and $1 million came from the James and Laura Rogers foundation. With an extra $25,000 grant from the Randy Boyd Foundation for a dog park, Davidson said Petworks is still looking to make up for a little more than $1 million for the forthcoming facility.
“We’re always at capacity,” she said. “We’ve took in close to 70 cats this month so far, we’ve got 40 cat cages. It’s just every day, it’s a struggle.”
The 20-year-old shelter is busting at the seams, Davidson said, and the new 17,000 square foot building will double the capacity of the current building. She said she’s considered an executive director-type position that would focus on fundraising, but she said the roadblock has been getting a position like that off the ground.
A fundraising position, she added, would help the shelter moving forward. A bigger building means a bigger light bill and increased operating costs — bills that Davidson said the shelter would need to fundraise to reach.
“They’re going to have to be able to bring in more money than what they make so funding to be able to hire someone is the big issue,” she said.
“It is going to take more money, so that’s going to be a little bit of an obstacle, probably, trying to get more money for operations because this year has been extremely tight. (An executive director is) going to have to be able to bring in more money than what they make, so funding to be able to hire someone is the big issue.”
She said the James and Laura Rogers Foundation is spearheading a fundraising committee for the shelter, sourcing donations from local businesses and organizations.
Soon, the public will also be able to donate to help cover the costs of the move, she added.
“We want the public to be a part of it too,” Davidson said. “If they want to give $5, $10, $100, whatever, it still makes them a part of it.”
The new shelter will open on East Stone Drive. Donate at petworkstn.com and keep up with the shelter on Facebook at facebook.com/petworkskingsport.