Nov 2 2009

The new Blount County Animal Center is set to open today. Located at 241 Currie Ave. in Maryville, the new animal shelter will be open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 4:30PM.

Blount County has been without an animal shelter since 2007 when County Commission ended the county's contract with the City of Maryville. Blount County Animal Control has been contracting with Loudon County to take in strays. The county also had no organized spay/neuter program.

The new shelter is opening in phases. The first phase, opening today, will address Blount County's immediate animal control needs, which include 4,000 stray and abandoned pets each year. The next phases will expand public education and animal health and welfare programs and will make services available to the community and other local governments.

The Blount County Animal Center was created through a public/private partnership with the non-profit Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation, which raises funds through private donations and is coordinating the program. The estimated construction cost is $1.6 million, with about one third of that coming from county funds and the rest through donations. Annual operating costs are expected to be over $300,000, funded through a contract with the county, adoption fees, and private donations.

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