KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Seventeen dogs, 12 cats, two guinea pigs and several other animals were all seized from a pet sitter’s home Wednesday night according to Young-Williams Animal Center. Sadly, five animals were found dead.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says that charges are pending in this case. We are learning there were more incidents with pets than the 38 animals found on the property from a group who all left their animals in the care of the homeowner. They told WATE 6 On Your Side they are upset and heartbroken over these findings.
“I was really shocked by the news. This is someone I welcomed into my life, this is someone I welcomed to come in and take care of the dogs that take care of me,” Dakota Hayes said. “The fact that she would allow five animals to sit her home deceased concerns me.”
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While these pet owners got their pets back, there were issues where some were injured or sick.
“We found that she had zip tied the kennels together,” Savannah Black said. “Luke and Jackson had identical cuts on top of their snouts and we assume that they probably escaped their kennels and pushed their way out after being left for so long and she zip-tied them to keep that from happening again.”
Unfortunately, not everyone who left animals in this person’s care was as lucky. Natalie Hartman left her dog, Koda, while she went on a vacation. She was told her dog had suffered a seizure.
“It took them over an hour and a half to get to the hospital in Farragut,” Hartman said. “I don’t know why it took that long but when my parents met her there, my mom went out to check on Koda, she was hard and super cold, which had shown she had been dead for a long time.”
The shock of finding out the number of animals taken stuck with one owner.
“I think from a dog mom myself, it’s shattering to think that could have been mine,” Hayley Sponcia said. “My dog could have been dead, you just don’t know until it’s you.”
There is one thing for certain though: they all want the best for the animals taken to Young-Williams.
“We want all of the animals taken from her care to go to safe and loving homes around Knoxville,” Makenna said. “That’s our number one goal, to make sure they’re in a safe place.”
An investigation is underway into the incident and according to KCSO, charges are pending.
Young-Williams also released a statement saying in part, “The animals remain in our care and will continue to be evaluated and treated by our veterinarian team.”
“Moving forward, Sheriff Spangler would like to reassure the public the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is working closely with Attorney General Charme Allen’s office on the investigation that is currently ongoing,” reads a statement from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.