County, city welcome Harrington as new animal shelter director

Published 8:43 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                                    New Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter Director Katelyn Harrington met with the Animal Advisory Board Tuesday to provide an update on the shelter and what's ahead for the future.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
New Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter Director Katelyn Harrington met with the Animal Advisory Board Tuesday to provide an update on the shelter and what’s ahead for the future.

Members of the Animal Advisory Board, along with citizens of the community, were able to meet the newest addition to the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter (ECCAS) Tuesday.
During the board’s meeting, the new ECCAS director Katelyn Harrington fielded questions from the board and provided a professional background. Harrington started in her position Monday, and Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey had nothing but praise for the shelter’s new director.
“I’m really encouraged,” Humphrey said. “She’s got a tremendous educational background and with that I think she has the energy that we need to help take this shelter operation to the next level.”
Harrington is a graduate of Lees-McRae College and has a degree in wildlife biology. Along with the academic background, the director also has experience in veterinary hospital, kennel, zoo and wildlife environments.
“It’s a really exciting time to be here,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of change going on and I look forward to being part of that. We’ve got a lot of things to do, we’re prioritizing right now to get everything set so we can make progress. Hopefully we can get that to take off soon and we’ll see some results soon from our efforts. We’ve already seen some of that now from the role that Susan (Robinson) has been in and I look forward to seeing it continue.”
Robinson, who is the mayor’s executive assistant, has been busy pulling double-duty, serving in the interim as shelter director and the working with the mayor. Humphrey thanked the efforts of Susan and others that have played a key part in the shelter’s renovations following up an extensive review put in place by the mayor’s office and the University of Tennessee to shelter operations months ago.
“We’ve been able to achieve no cat deaths in two months, which is unheard of after what we had,” he said. “We hope to have policies and procedures in place to where we can sustain this kind of growth going forward. That’s the key (with the shelter), maintaining the health and welfare of our animals first and foremost, then serving our citizens that come in.”
Harrington went on to say that while having an extensive background, she’s found where she wants to be in her career with shelter work.
“There may be a little concern with my background being primarily wildlife that I’m going to turn the shelter into a wildlife rehab facility,” Harrington joked. “I went to Lees-McRae with the intention of learning what I could there about how to take care of a lot of animals and transferring that to domestic animals and help in an animal shelter environment.
“I learned a lot, medically, and that’s already come into play,” she continued. “When animals come in with eye infections or other problems, I have the knowledge to be able to triage those cases until the vet can take a look at them. It’s been a major help in this and I also have the experience of having a lot of animals in an area, often overcrowded, and having to heal them and get them back out where they belong.”
Harrington also fielded questions during the meeting, stating the shelter was going to work at placing procedures and protocols in place and have the proper training necessary for volunteers, staff members and individuals that want to foster animals. The new director was praised and received well wishes moving forward by members of the board.
During the meeting, Mayor Humphrey went on to add that while the pieces are starting to come together, there’s still work to do. The shelter is currently in the process of hiring an adoption/office manager to assist with front office duties. The mayor went on to add that shelter will look at growing and when funds are necessary, they would be reported to both the County Commission and City Council with the city and county splitting the operational cost of the facility.
“It’s going to take a tremendous amount of work and ethic to get this shelter to a stable level,” Humphrey said. “We’re getting there. There’s a lot of positives things going on at the animal shelter.”

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