Cocke Co. animal shelter to open thrift store benefiting pets

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NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Thrift stores present the opportunity to find new and vintage knick knacks for your home. A new thrift store soon opening in Gatlinburg will help abused and abandoned pets find a new home.

Friends Animal Shelter in Cocke County is opening 'Wags to Wiggles' thrift store in Gatlinburg, just over the Cosby line on Highway 321.

All proceeds from the store will go towards the shelter and animals.

"To continue to improve this place and renovate it and make it a safer, better, more fun and a clean environment for the animals," Elisha Henry, the shelter's director, said. "321 is very traveled so I hope tourists will stop and bring something home to wherever their from."

The store is set to open March 15. It will be staffed by volunteers, and the building was donated leaving few expenses for the shelter.

Last year, the shelter took in 1,671 animals. Henry said the county only has one animal control officer and awareness is scarce. The shelter is working on education with visits to elementary classes.

Cocke County contributes $100,000 to the shelter each year, but the rest is left to the shelter to fund. Henry said the thrift store will help.

"Along with education for young children, I think we can really turn this county around, and I'm looking forward to it," Henry said.

The shelter is currently working on a surgical suite that will offer low-cost care. They are also finishing renovations on the cat room and a new puppy room.

While the store is not open yet, the shelter is accepting donations for the store at its Newport facility.

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