JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Washington County-Johnson City Animal Shelter broke ground Tuesday on what will soon become their on-site spay and neuter clinic.
“This is a game-changer,” said president of the animal control board, Jenny Brock.
City leaders and supporters of the animal shelter alike came together to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Judy and Doug Lowrie Spay and Neuter Clinic.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity in growth, and an area that we feel is key to the quality of life in our community with our animal shelter,” said Bob Cantler, CEO of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
Executive Director of the shelter Tammy Davis says a major step in fixing the animal overpopulation crisis in the region is fixing as many animals as possible.
“It’s just been overwhelming. Since the start of 2021, we have seen a huge increase in the number of animals coming in,” said Davis.
Right now, the shelter is at capacity for cats and dogs. They are currently housing more than 100 dogs and more than 250 cats.
Davis says finding surgery appointments to alter all of the shelter’s animals before they are adopted has recently become much harder.
“We want to be able to get them spayed or neutered in a timely manner so we can hopefully shorten the length of stay they have here at the shelter,” said Davis.
The creation of the clinic is thanks to a generous donation by Judy and Doug Lowrie, long-time supporters of the shelter.
“Judy and Doug knew the only way to turn the direction of the revolving door of animals in and out of the shelter and the thousands of unwanted litters of cats and dogs in our community was to reduce the numbers through spay and neuter,” said Brock.
Johnson City City Manager Pete Peterson said this day would not have been possible without the dedication of Ralph Van Brocklin, a passionate animal supporter and former Johnson City commissioner who passed away in 2018. Van Brocklin was dedicated to raising money and awareness of the need for the clinic.
“It’s very satisfying to see this come together,” said Peterson.
The plan is for the clinic to be fully staffed and to prioritize fixing the shelter’s cats and dogs. It will also provide low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for community members.
“I think that it makes the animals in our community healthier. It will cut down on strays and cut down on community cats,” said Davis.
Construction will soon begin on the site. It is set to open in 2022.
For more information on supporting the shelter and to learn about animals available for adoption, visit the WCAS website.