Price of pets: Rules you should follow if you own animals in Knox County, Knoxville


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Following a tragedy involving a 19-year-old being attacked by five dogs in Knox County last week, we wanted to highlight existing rules for animal ownership in the County and in the City of Knoxville.

Amanda Cameron, an Animal Control Officer for the Knoxville Police Department, is passionate about clocking in every day.

“I enjoy helping animals. I’ve always been a big animal lover. I enjoy educating the public about animals so they’re properly taking care of and living in a happy home,” she said.

She also spends a lot of her time responding to concerned citizens.

Jacqueline Williams was one of them Thursday, who called 911 after two birds flew into her apartment. Cameron, a pro with animals, said she wasn’t concerned on the way to the call because she had the proper gear and training to remove them safely.

Her calls vary from removing a snake to a possum, to stray dogs roaming a neighborhood, or dogs not properly being contained.

Animal owners are prohibited from allowing them to roam freely onto streets and nearby properties. They have to be contained to the owners’ property. And, in the City of Knoxville, they have to be on a leash if they’re being taken off their property. Cameron said the leash requirement isn’t just to protect other people, but also the animal.

Cameron also said this time of year, and in the winter, they also take in a lot of animal welfare calls from people concerned by seeing animals in hot cars and no water, or a lack of shelter.

Outside dogs must also have access to drinking water, that’s potable, or simply drinkable. Cameron recommends dog owners check their dogs’ water supply, as it could get knocked over or too hot from summer heat.
Cameron pointed out every outside dog must have a dog house, according to the city ordinance.

“Under the porch doesn’t count,” she said. “It must be a dog house that’s two inches off the ground and covered, weather proof.”

Here are a few more requirements for animal owners:

Knox County

Your animal can’t stray or run around on a public street, sidewalk, park, or another person’s property

To take an animal to a public space where animals are permitted, they have to be on a leash (no longer than six feet long)

No more than five dogs and/or cats, if you live on less than one acre of land

For five or more cats and/org dogs, you have to live on more than 1.5 acres of land

Any dog or cat more than three months has to be vaccinated against rabies

If you get the dog from someone else and there is no proof of vaccination, you have 30 days to get them to a vet

City of Knoxville

  • Can’t allow your animal to roam freely on a street, a sidewalk, park, or another person’s property
  • If you take an animal to a public space where animals are permitted, they have to be on a leash
  • You cannot own an animal in the city that’s reported for frequent noise issues, disturbing the peace of neighbors, or one who frequently snaps at, chases or attacks pedestrians
  • You can’t own or keep a “vicious” animal in the city. That’s defined as an animal that’s attacked a person or other animal twice, without being provoked
  • You can’t have more than four dogs and/or cats if you live in the city
  • All animals are required to be vaccinated when they’re three months old, and every year following, unless your animal received a three-year vaccination

There are other restrictions in the City of Knoxville for level one and level two dangerous dogs.

To learn more about those designations and the requirements that go along with them, you can read that here.

To learn more about Knox County regulations, click here.

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