White van possibly involved in illegal pet operation sighted

White van possibly involved in illegal pet operation sighted in Seymour

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After watching a 6 News story, Judi Blankenship says she noticed a suspicious van in her neighborhood that may have been used to abduct pets. After watching a 6 News story, Judi Blankenship says she noticed a suspicious van in her neighborhood that may have been used to abduct pets.
A Seymour woman believes her Min Pin Rat Terrier named Scooby-Doo could have become a victim of pet theft. A Seymour woman believes her Min Pin Rat Terrier named Scooby-Doo could have become a victim of pet theft.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

SEYMOUR (WATE) - 6 News is learning more about an illegal pet operation in Sevier County.

A Kodak woman created a Facebook page for missing pets in Sevier County. The woman behind the page was alarmed when several people posted about a person driving a white van allegedly trying to steal pets.

One incident was reported on the Facebook page in Pigeon Forge, and a few others in the New Center community.

On Wednesday, Judi Blankenship of Seymour had her own encounter with the white van. 

She says has her Min Pin Rat Terrier named Scooby-Doo could have become a victim.
   
"All of a sudden there was a white man in his late thirties to early forties, and he's waving at the door like he's my best friend," said Blankenship. "He said, 'Can I come in?' I said no. He said, he's the meat man."

She quickly told him to leave, and then noticed what he was driving.

"I could hear the car leaving and as I looked it was a white van," she said.

Blankenship did not think anything about it until she started talking to her mom.

"I told her the story, and she said it was on channel 6 last night," said Blankenship, "That this white wan had been stealing dogs. I said, oh no Scooby-Doo could be outside, and she could go with them."

There still have been no official reports filed with the Sevier County Sheriff's Department about stolen animals.

Jayne Vaughn, the executive director of the Sevier County Humane Society, says it is not a shock to hear of potential pet flipping in the area.

"I would not be surprised at all to hear that whenever there is the opportunity for commercial gain there are people that are going to use that opportunity unfortunately," said Vaughn.

Vaughn says people need to be careful where they buy their pets because they could be stolen. She says it is not smart to buy pets at flea markets or on the side of the road.

She says the best piece of advice is to make sure your pet has identification and always know where they are at all times.

After 6 News aired the story on Wednesday, the Jefferson County Humane Society contacted the newsroom.

Melissa Descant, the shelter director there, says they have also had reports of a suspicious van trying to steal dogs.

She said they have contacted the sheriff's department, and they are on the look out for this vehicle.

Anyone with concerns about people stealing pets in their community is asked to contact their local law enforcement agency.

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