LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — Animal shelters across the south have not survived the last year. Struggling shelters closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning their animals have to be rescued once again.
"Who is there for the shelter when they need help? That's what we do," said Michael Cunningham with Animal Rescue Corps or ARC.
They fill the void. Most recently, the group took in dozens of dogs from a struggling shelter in Mississippi, some needing a bit more help than others like Pilgrim the pit bill.
Pilgrim was shot and uses a custom wheelchair to get around. He already seems right at home in his new digs.
"He had been shot through the spine and lost the use of his hind end. There is still shrapnel and these injuries are permanent," said Cunningham.
Pilgrim is just one of so many dogs to make their way to the ARC emergency shelter here in Tennessee.
"We have our shelter in Lebanon and we can bring in 100 or 200 and this summer we brought in 624 animals," said Cunningham.
ARC is usually in the news for rescuing animals from puppy mills or hoarding situations. But the pandemic brought this new need as more shelters suffered financially across the south and had no choice but to close.
Meanwhile, "All the other shelters around you are full," explained Cunningham.
So, ARC stepped up going to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee rescuing animals sometimes from overwhelmed shelters. Hopefully, things will improve as the pandemic eventually wanes. In the meantime, ARC will keep collecting animals from struggling shelters and finding them homes.
"We have a network of placement partners all across North America," said Cunningham. ARC itself does not adopt out animals. Their mission is to rescue them from difficult situations.
And, these latest animals will soon be sent to other shelters which are not struggling to adopt out. As always, ARC welcomes donations and especially now volunteers at the emergency shelter.
Anyone interested in finding more information about ARC can click here to visit the group's Facebook page.