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5 questions with animal shelter director Tammy Davis

David Floyd • Nov 27, 2019 at 9:00 PM

Before serving as director of the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter, Tammy Davis worked as a veterinary assistant.

“As a vet assistant, you typically see animals that are lucky because they are in a loving home and are being cared for,” she said. “I decided that I wanted to try and make a difference in the lives of animals that were not so lucky: The animals that had been abandoned, neglected, abused and had no place to call home.”

Davis has now served as the shelter’s top administrator for three years and advocated for the recent passage of a new animal control ordinance in Johnson City, which among other things will help phase out the chaining of dogs in the city.

What made you realize that you wanted to work with animals?

I have had a strong connection with animals all of my life. Being an only child, I relied on my pets to occupy my time. So I knew from a very young age that I would spend my life doing something that involved animals. I started working for local veterinarians when I was in high school and continued working for veterinarians in Knoxville while attending the University of Tennessee. I graduated with a Biology/Animal Science degree.

What are your daily responsibilities as director?

I am not even sure if I could list my daily responsibilities. There are so many things that happen daily at the shelter. I can honestly say there is never a dull moment, and no two days are ever the same! My day begins by walking through the shelter to monitor the health and well-being of each animal. Part of my responsibility is make sure each animal is well taken care of and given any medical attention it may need. I oversee the health of the animals, the daily activities, animal control and fundraising.

What kinds of services does the shelter offer to local animals who are in need of homes?

I know that many people feel sorry for the animals that find their way to this animal shelter. But in reality this may often be the safest place that animal can end up. We provide a guaranteed meal daily (which some animals have never had), a warm safe place to rest, toys, vaccines, immediate medical care if needed and most importantly love and affection. We want our animals to be as comfortable as possible while they wait for their forever home.

What's the biggest challenge facing the animal shelter at this time?

The biggest challenge facing the animal shelter is the need for additional money. There is a misconception that our shelter is completely funded by the city and county. This in not true. While both the city and county provide some funding, it only covers 50% of the need we have. Providing good care and not limiting the amount of time an animal can stay in our care costs money. We have monthly operational bills including payroll, electric, water and phone bills. In addition to medical bills for the animals.

What can people do to assist the shelter?

People can assist in numerous ways. They can donate or volunteer, and we have programs like Sponsor a Kennel and Friends of the Shelter that help keep an individual involved with the shelter.