Behind the Badge: Knoxville Animal Control officers share a day in the life

Behind the Badge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — You name it: raccoons, possums, bears, and even bobcats. Members of the Knoxville Animal Control have seen it all.

“It’s a pretty broad spectrum. Anything dealing with an animal in the city limits of Knoxville we are involved in,” Animal Control’s Amanda Cameron said. “One time I picked up about a 5-foot iguana.”

As one may have gathered, no day is like the other when working in Animal Control.

“You go on a call and expect one thing, but it can take you in different directions,” said Claudia Reagan, who has now worked in the department for almost four years.

She recently described the time she and several other officers were on the lookout for an out of control rooster.

“It took us about three weeks, maybe more, to finally corner him!” says Reagan laughing. “It took four or five officers to corner him.”

As far as what happens to the animals that are captured?

“We see an animal wondering around lost. We pick it up,” Cameron said. “We take it to the shelter where it is inside. It has food and water and is cared for until an owner can come forward or until it can be adopted.”

“Yes, any animal picked up goes to Young-Williams,” adds Reagan, “unless it is like a raptor or an owl or a hawk or something like that. It would go to UT.”

However, while the shelter is usually where the animals end up, Cameron and Reagan both say, if they can, they’ll take the time to locate the owners of animals first.

“Each one of us has a microchip reader in our truck. We scan for a microchip. If there is one, we can get owner information from that microchip company,” Reagan said. “I always give the people a call. If they don’t answer. I try to leave them a message letting them know the animal will be at Young-Williams.”

Along with rescuing animals, Animal Control also takes donations of dog and cat food, dog houses, pet toys, and wood chips. Officers use these to help pet owners during welfare checks to make sure their furry friends are well taken care of when funds are low.

“We use those to help educate pet owners and the proper ways to care. We also use them to help people that may be in a tough spot right now and to help bridge that gap,” Reagan tells WATE.

If you would like to donate supplies, you can call the Animal Control office at 865-215-8639.

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