The Knox/Whitley Animal Shelter is changing its name to the Knox-Whitley Humane Association and has set a goal of becoming a, “no-kill shelter.”
Mary Anne Smyth, chair of the Association Board of Directors, said the association has begun working with Best Friends Animal Society in Utah in an effort to reach “no-kill” status.
They have been helping us tremendously,” Smyth said of the society explaining it has purchased beds, donated for the surgery room at the shelter and provided grants that has enabled the shelter to lower the cost of an adoption to $25.
“They make up the difference,” Smyth said of the society.
“They have been a tremendous resource for us,” she said.
Smyth emphasized that while Best Friends Animal Society has become more and more involved with the shelter, it will remain a local operation.
“They don’t want to take over,” Smyth said. “They are attempting to help us be the best we can be.”
Smyth said other partnerships are helping the shelter, including one with the Kentucky Department’s of Corrections’ Bell County Forestry Camp.
Under the new partnership, dogs from the shelter are paired with inmates at the facility for an eight-week training program designed to house train and teach the dog basic commands.
During their time at the facility, the dogs stay in the cellblock with the inmates.
Smyth said the inmates, all of whom are incarcerated for non-violent offenses, had to apply to participate in the program.
“The dogs have benefited. The inmates have benefited,” Smyth said.
“It opens up space at the shelter and when the dogs come back we have been able to get them adopted out quickly,” Smyth said. “It is just awesome.”
Smyth said shelter officials are in the process of putting together a number of volunteer committees to help the facility expand its efforts.
Among the committees will be a marketing committee and a fundraising committee.
Smyth said more information about the committees would be forthcoming.
For those who want to help the shelter, Smyth said volunteers are always needed to socialize the animals.
“We have one lady who comes in to bath the puppies,” Smyth said, emphasizing that volunteers only do what they are comfortable with.
Smyth said one of the biggest needs is volunteers to interact with the animals.
“Just getting them used to walk on a leash, used to human contact, and maybe teaching them a few simple commands, such as, ‘sit’ helps make them so much more adoptable,” Smyth explained.
Smyth added that it is something that children may be involved in and that being used to being around children increases an animal’s adoptability even more.
“Our ultimate goal is to save more lives,” Smyth said.
The shelter is located on Busy Lane in Corbin off of Fifth Street Road.
More information about the shelter is available online at www.kwas.org, or on Facebook.
The shelter may be reached by phone at 526-6925.