Knox County commissioners draft proposal to protect pets

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Some Knox County commissioners are looking at ways to protect pets in the area.

Commissioners Amy Broyles and Jeff Ownby have come up with a proposal to strengthen an existing animal ordinance.

Ownby says he wants to add “more teeth” to the ordinance.

Pet owners also say more needs to be done to keep animals in the area from suffering in extreme weather conditions.

Sara Everett was taking care of a 15-week-old Yorkie on Thursday afternoon.

She works at Admiral Veterinary Care in Farragut, but not all pets come into the vet like the dog she was caring for.

She’s seen her share of animals that have been left out in the bitter cold or extreme heat.

“It’s devastating. It’s devastating. They don’t know what it’s like to be inside. They don’t know, typically, if they’re left out in an extreme circumstance like that. They don’t know what it’s like to be a house pet,” said Everett.

After hearing from people, like Everett, and the Knox County Animal Cruelty Alliance, Knox County commissioners are considering a change to an existing animal ordinance.

Ownby wants to see more accountability from pet owners who neglect their animals.

“If you’re going to the same people’s house constantly, there needs to be something that is done to protect these animals,” said Ownby.

He says that the ordinance hasn’t been changed since 1993.

The details are still being worked out, but Ownby says it’ll require pet owners to have an outside shelter that’s at least two inches off of the ground and for fresh food and water to be provided every day.

Everett supports the idea and says there’s been too many times that she’s seen animals neglected.

“So when they come in, they’re not used to a lot of human touch. They’re not very used to being comfortable,” she said.

Ownby says he’ll be asking the commission next week to push back discussion of the ordinance until next month.

He says he’s working with the sheriff’s office and the county law director to figure out how it would be enforced.

Next week’s discussion would have been the first reading for the proposal.

The discussion was first scheduled to be held the week of March 16. Ownby says he’s tabled the bill to give him more time to work with the sheriff’s office and the county law director to figure out how it will be enforced.

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