Members of Martin Elementary FCCLA have chosen to do something for the Cumberland County Animal Shelter this year for their service project.

Students made over 170 homemade dog treats and delivered them to the animal shelter. They met two shelter dogs and discovered a lot of information about the shelter while conducting an interview with Andrea Gaskins, director of the shelter.

Q: What is the reason you started this animal shelter or started working at the shelter?

A: The Cumberland County Animal Shelter opened in 2008 under the direction of then-mayor Brock Hill. The county previously had a contract with the Humane Society to collect stray animals from the public and animal control officers, but in 2008 the contract expired and was not renewed. This required the county to either take responsibility or completely shut down animal control operations, which would have left the approximately 4,000 stray animals collected each year with no place to go and pose a potential danger to the citizens of Cumberland County. I decided to leave the Humane Society and take on the role of Director of the Cumberland County Animal Shelter in 2008 to help them with this new endeavor.

Q: Can you give us information about your animal shelter?

A: The main purpose of the animal shelter is to accommodate stray or seized animals from animal control officers, law enforcement and related entities. We also accept stray animals found by the public and animals returned by their owners, subject to availability. Because our primary focus is on animal control activities, we occasionally welcome animals that have bitten or are aggressive with the public, as well as some that have been seriously abused or neglected. For this reason, it is impossible for us to be a completely “no-kill” installation. Over the past 13 years, we have worked hard to develop great partnerships and build a network of animal welfare organizations that help meet the needs of the animals in our community. Some organizations, such as Wags & Whiskers, focus on sterilization / sterilization assistance, while others, such as AARF (All About Rescue & Fixin) help rehouse animals and organize transport to other rescues without killing. We also work closely with HART Rescue, which mainly focuses on feral (feral) cats. By developing this network and the teamwork of everyone involved (there are several other organizations such as A Time 4 Paws and FOCCAS) we were able to reduce the overall population of stray animals entering the shelter by 4,000 in 2008. , to around 2000 in the last few years. It is thanks to the hard work of everyone involved that we have been able to save over 90% of our animals.

Q: What would you like everyone in our community to know about the shelter?

A: We want everyone in the community to know that although we are not a “no-kill” facility, we work very hard to relocate the animals and we place over 90% of the animals that enter the shelter.

Q: How long have you worked with animals?

A: I have worked with animals for 20 years, having worked as a veterinary technician before coming to the shelter.

Q: What can people in our community do to help the shelter or the animals?

A: The most beneficial thing the community can do to help would be to sterilize / neuter their pets and not allow their pets to run free. To help the animals taken care of by the shelter, we encourage everyone to share us on social networks. All of our adoptable pets are posted on Petfinder, by sharing this link we can reach more people and hopefully place more pets in homes: https://www.petfinder.com/member/us/tn/crossville/cumberland-county-animal-shelter-tn512/

Q: What is the average time for an animal to finally find a stable home?

A: The average length of stay of an animal in the refuge is approximately 10 to 12 weeks.

Q: Do you have certain rules regarding the adoption of animals?

A: The shelter requires that all animals be sterilized upon adoption. Adopters must be able to provide suitable accommodation for the animal inside the house. No animal should remain tethered outdoors as a permanent way of life.

Q: What are some of the things you do in your daily routine to take care of animals?

A: The daily routine of animal care requires many cleaning and disinfection! Our day starts at 7:30 a.m., cleaning out litter boxes, picking up and sanitizing kennels, beds and feeders, sweeping and cleaning floors and washing blankets. The morning routine takes about 3.5 hours, with a staff of four to five employees. Most of this work must be done before it opens to the public at 10 a.m. Spot cleaning, if necessary, continues throughout the day as needed. Other routine duties at the shelter include administering medications and vaccinations, recording and keeping medical and admission records, assessing animal temperament, transporting animals to the veterinarian, walking animals. dogs, the presentation of animals to potential adopters and assistance to the public in person and by telephone. .

Q: How many animals do you get each month?

A: The average shelter reception is around 180 animals per month, although we are the busiest from April to October. This is commonly known as the “puppy / kitten season” in the rescue world as most babies are born during this time.

Q: Do you only accept dogs and cats at the shelter?

A: Although the shelter usually only accommodates dogs and cats, unusual circumstances have arisen which have required animal control / law enforcement to bring other animals to us which need care briefly. . These include birds, guinea pigs, snakes, pot-bellied pigs, and goats.

Q: How do you think animals are good for humans?

A: Animals are beneficial to humans on many levels. They provide love and companionship to us and are of great service as working animals performing such jobs as canine police, medical alert dogs, bomb / explosives scouts, search and rescue dogs. And much more. Dogs are even trained to detect cancers and viruses in humans. We have a duty to provide responsible care to these animals who have enriched our lives for so many years in the past and will continue to do so in the future.