Shelter cares for pets stranded by Gatlinburg wildfires

Posted at 6:16 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 07:14:09-05

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. -- Many people in Gatlinburg had to leave home so quickly that they didn't have time to take their pets with them.

That's why the Sevier County Humane Society set up a shelter to reunite pets with their owners. Dozens of dogs and cats have been brought to the county fairgrounds to be cared for until their owners are found.

"The outpouring of support has been incredible," Sevier County shelter director Michaela Sorey said.

Volunteers came from all over to help unload trucks of supplies. Dog food, cat food and other donated items were stacked up.

One section of the shelter is for strays brought in by animal control, police or residents. Another section is for what they're calling "safe holds."

"We know who the owner is," Sorey said. "The owner brought them in. They owners have nowhere to live due to lost property or they don’t have a hotel that's willing to take in their pet as well. So, those pets are being held here."

There have already been some happy reunions. Human Society Board President Martha Gilchrist recalled one couple's story.

"They saw their little buddy named Sparky on Facebook and they said, 'That's my dog,' and so they came and claimed him, and he was as happy to see them as they were to see him," Gilchrist said.

Mike Nelson of Tennessee Valley Golden Retriever Rescue came from Knoxville to lend whatever help he could.

"Pets are part of a family, and that's why drives us," Nelson said.

The need right now is not for more supplies, but monetary donations to help with veterinary expenses for the furry friends. Click here for more information.