Virus temporarily shuts down animal shelter

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Young-Williams Animal Center is closing one of its locations for a few days after learning that several cats came into contact with a virus similar to parvovirus in dogs.

The Division street location of Young-Williams Animal Center will be closed Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14. The Young-Williams Animal Village at 6400 Kingston Pike will remain open.

Several cats at the Division Street location have come in contact with panleukopenia virus. Symptoms include diarrhea, lethargy and vomiting, and the virus can be fatal to infected animals. Over the next two days, the shelter staff will disinfect all cat areas.

“We are an open intake shelter that takes in approximately 14,000 animals each year,” said Jeff Ashin, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Our intake numbers increase in the summer, and we can be more susceptible to exposure to diseases as the shelter becomes overcrowded. The most effective and humane way to prevent the pet overpopulation is to spay and neuter your animals.”

Due to the disinfection protocols currently in process, space is extremely limited for incoming animals. While Young-Williams Animal Center never turns away an animal, owners wishing to surrender their pets are encouraged to wait until Sunday, if at all possible.

Young-Williams Animal Center also provides resources and information that may help struggling pet owners keep their pets when possible. These resources include the Pet Food Pantry, which provides free pet food to pre-approved, low-income pet owners.

For more information, visit and check out Young-Williams Animal Center on Facebook and Twitter.

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