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These days, it’s rare to hear good news from an animal shelter. The recession has put a squeeze on donor dollars at the same time more and more families are forced to surrender animals due to foreclosure or other economic challenges. The Young-Williams Animal Center , the shelter for Knoxville and Knox County, Tenn., is a shining exception. Next March, the center will open a satellite facility with a high-visibility adoption center, a stand-alone spay/neuter clinic, and, if all goes well, a dog park.
The project is a unique public and private collaboration between The Friends of the Young-Williams Animal Center (with support from the Aslan Foundation) and Knoxville citizens Randy and Jenny Boyd. Randy Boyd is CEO of Radio Systems , which produces and markets PetSafe brand products and the Invisible Fence and operates PetSafe Village , a local daycare and kennel. The new facility will include space for Invisible Fence and a small PetSafe doggie daycare.
While it might seem unusual to couple a profit with a nonprofit venture, Tim Adams, executive director of the Young-Williams Animal Center, expects a synergy between visitors to the shelter and Boyd’s customers that will benefit everyone concerned.
For Boyd, partnering up on the new facility is just one of several pro-dog moves. He has also opened the PetSafe Village dog park to the public and contributed toward establishing two other public off-leash parks in the county. With each step, he moves toward his stated goal of making Knoxville the most pet-friendly city in America. This is a tall order for a state with a poor animal welfare ranking and a high euthanasia rate. But solutions require creative thinking, and I’m thrilled to see initiatives like Knoxville’s.
Photo of Banjo from Young-Williams Animal Center, Knoxville, Tenn. Banjo is a five-ish Shepherd mix, “looking for a quiet home with a good routine.” (ID: A08499035) Learn more about Banjo  and other Knoxville companion animals in need.