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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Meghan Bowers and Wendy Kurtz from the Warren County Humane Society about fostering for the shelter.

What is fostering?

Fostering for the Humane Society is rewarding and challenging, and a huge part of our strategy to maintain our no-kill status.

Fostering an animal is taking care of an animal in your home for a period of time, without adopting it. Sometimes fosters are needed for a few days, and sometimes for months or years. We use fosters during kitten season for babies that need around-the-clock care, when an animal is recovering from an injury or surgery, or if an animal is uncomfortable in the shelter environment.

Not all animals need fosters, and many benefit more from being in the shelter where they will be in front of adopters. Check-in at the shelter to find out which animals are approved for fostering.

While an animal is in a foster home, they are still the legal custody of the shelter, which means that the Humane Society must oversee the vaccinations and care of the animals while they are in your home. Any medical procedures or vet visits must be approved in advance by the Shelter Leadership Team in order to get those expenses covered by the shelter.

The Foster Care Program brings caring individuals and needing animals together providing special care in a home setting until the animal is ready for adoption.

If you think fostering is right for your family, please fill out an application or visit the shelter for more information.

The new date for Rough, Tough & Scruffy is June 18th.


Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to



Tennessee mystery pig taken in by animal sanctuary

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Less than a week after a pig wandering the back roads of Carter County made national news, one wildlife sanctuary took it upon itself to give her a new life.

Known to the residents of Judge Ben Allen Road as Petunia, the 300-pound sow spent her last days in Tennessee as she had any other — sleeping and eating. Little did she know, only hours later she would join over 100 other pigs at Harley June Farm and Sanctuary.

How It Started

Petunia was a nuisance animal — one that trespassed and caused property damage throughout the areas she was known to frequent. After several calls from residents to local authorities scattered over months, the Carter County Sheriff’s Office put out a call for her owner. Petunia needed to be dealt with, and if her owner wouldn’t, someone else would. There was only one problem: moving a pig that big is a bit difficult.

Photo: WJHL

“We have no way to transport a 300-pound pig; we have nowhere to put a 300-pound pig…safely,” Shannon Posada, director of the county’s animal shelter, said. “Unless we ask for a foster, and we’re happy to ask for a foster, but still, we have no way of transportation for that large of an animal.”

The shelter hoped a local farmer would pick Petunia up, but there were no guarantees that she would end up in a permanent home once the foster had her. In the meantime, she was still at large and enjoying a hearty diet of grasses and neighborhood property.

So, how do you get her out? Simple: an interstate effort from multiple people to capture and transport a 300-pound animal.

Operation: All The Way Home

Enter Amy Mullins, owner and operator of Harley June Farm and Sanctuary. She was first made aware of Petunia’s predicament after CBS Mornings picked up her story.

Photo: WJHL

With the logistics down, Mullins and company needed to figure out the nuts and bolts of Petunia’s pickup.

Pigs are notoriously stubborn creatures without the added independence of free-range wandering, so crews needed a way to figure out just how to get her from Point A to Point B without major injuries or damage. The solution is straightforward: let her walk in herself.

Using boards to her left and right and a blocker behind, helpers were able to guide Petunia into a livestock trailer without a shoving match that they would have lost. In a video, you can hear her grunting in protest but going along with the crew’s directions albeit slowly.

Part of that lumbering pace, it turns out, was because she was “Fat Blind,” a condition in pigs that occurs when forehead and cheek fat grows so large that it covers the eyes completely.

A pig being heavy isn’t altogether that surprising, but Petunia’s weight is a topic that Mullins plans to address at her new home in North Carolina.

How It’s Going

Photo: Amy Mullins

Nowadays Petunia goes by another name: Ellie Mae. She’s living high on the hog in North Carolina, at an undisclosed location for her and her new friends’ safety.

In the short term, she’s living in a smaller pen as the herd gets used to her. Pigs have a pecking order much like chickens (yes, it’s a thing.), so throwing her straight in with new pigs could lead to fights and injuries. Plus, with her being temporarily blind, the stress of all the new sensations could prove to be too much for her.

That smaller space isn’t without its amenities: she has a pool, brand new straw pile bed and a chicken friend that likes to sleep on her back.

Ellie’s Carter County journey has come to an end, but her weight loss journey has just started. To get the medical care she needs like spaying, she’ll have to trim down quite a bit.


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