Humane Society

RUTLEDGE – Grainger County Humane Society (GCHS) has been serving Grainger County for more than 20 years. 

Its mission is to help control the pet population in Grainger County. 

GCHS President Keith McDaniel said the organization’s first objective was to provide a spay and neuter clinic to Grainger County residents to help control the overpopulation of animals. He said as time passed, GCHS began to take animals in to provide and find homes for them. 

GCHS is still a foster-based system, and has two cat fosters and five dog fosters. 

The organization has 20 active volunteers, with only eight being full-time volunteers. However, they all wear many hats to ensure the animals receive the best possible care. 

McDaniel said the individual who supervises animal intake is also in charge of spay and neuter clinics, transports to Knoxville for spay and neuter clinics at the University of Tennessee, managing electronic intake files, and is the dog foster coordinator and the main puppy foster. McDaniel said the organization’s secretary is also the volunteer coordinator and attends pet adoption events. He said his duties cover maintaining organization, electronically updating animal outtakes, attending pet adoption events and manning the GCHS hotline.  

McDaniel said Grainger County residents can find GCHS volunteer Nonna Settlemyer at county events like Grainger County’s Tomato Festival or Bean Station’s Harvest Festival. Adoptable pets can often be found at Bean Station’s Harvest Festival. 

McDaniel said there have been cases where social media has helped raise funds to care for animals who had been injured or neglected. Sugar Ray, a red coon hound, came to GCHS after he had been mauled by what McDaniel believed was a mountain cat or a bear. He had been slashed from one shoulder to another and required more than 40 stitches and staples. Sugar Ray is now healing properly. 

Amy made her way to GCHS after reports of a matted, stray dog in Thorn Hill had been made to the organization. McDaniel said volunteers shaved her and found a beautiful dog beneath the matted fur. He said she will now have a good life. 

GCHS is currently fostering 22 cats and 24 dogs. One foster is currently caring for 12 dogs. 

“We’re in need of a shelter,” said McDaniel. 

GCHS is in need of volunteers and fosters, according to McDaniel. However, he said more than that, they need a shelter. He requested anyone who would like to help the organization speak to their county and city representatives about the need for a shelter or animal control. 

McDaniel said the organization wants to do as much as possible and help every animal in need, but without a facility, it is limited to what it can do.

“With a building, there’s just so much more we can do, there’s so many more animals we can help,” he said. 

McDaniel said the addition of animal control in the county would be a help to the organization. He said because GCHS is a volunteer organization, it is difficult to pick up every stray animal with fosters being at full capacity and also having full-time jobs. McDaniel said people are currently reaching out to the Grainger County Sheriff’s Department for animal control. 

“I think the first step for the county is getting animal control,” said McDaniel. 

Anyone who would like to donate to GCHS has a variety of options. They can visit one of the organization’s donation drop off locations at McCoy Chiropractic in Bean Station, Blaine Veterinary Clinic, A Cut Above Meat Company in Rutledge or Petsense Morristown. They can add GCHS to their Amazon Smile accounts which allows the organization to receive a small percentage of funds from Amazon with each purchase at no charge to the consumer. Donations can also be made with GCHS’ Amazon Wish List, which can be found by visiting A list of needs is posted on GCHS’ website and includes puppy pads, peroxide and cotton balls, bleach, dry dog and puppy food, Dawn dishwashing detergent, cat litter and dry cat food, among other needs. For more information about what GCHS might need, call (865) 828-0050. 

GCHS will hold a fishing tournament fundraiser Saturday, October 2. There is an $80 registration fee per boat to participate in the event. Each entrant will have a chance to win $1,000. McDaniel said anyone who would like to sponsor the event or participate can call

(865) 548-6733.

GCHS will also hold a pet adoption Saturday, August 7 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Petsense in Morristown. 

Anyone who would like more information about GCHS and how to help can visit, visit GCHS on Facebook or call

(865) 567-0050.