Identifying neighborhoods with dangerous dogs just got a whole lot easier thanks to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s new interactive map, Knox News reports.
The technology is similar to the Sheriff’s Office’s crime map and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s sex offender map. Users can type in an address and search for dangerous dogs in any Knox County area.
The map displays the location of all court-declared “dangerous dogs,” complete with links to the specific address, owner, incident report and a picture of the dog. It’s coded by dog breed and is intended to raise awareness, educate and make area neighborhoods safer for people and pets, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office. It also provides an explanation why the dog was declared dangerous. The reasons range from biting someone to killing another animal.
“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to have this registry,” said Cpl. Frankie Byrne, Director of Animal Control for the city of Knoxville. “People would keep their animals on their property. But they are animals, and animals can be unpredictable.”
“It’s an effort to try and allow the dogs to stay with their family, because I know the family loves their pet,” Byrne said. “But it does put a layer of protection between the dog and the neighbors.”
KCSO Capt. Robert Hubbs said one of the key complaints at a neighborhood summit this year was animal control. “We hope now that there’s more attention paid to the Dangerous Dog ordinance, that people really will comply, because sometimes they don’t,” he told reporters.
For a Level 1 offense, the dogs are left on the map for 18 months. In a more serious Level 2 offense, they’re on there for good. That’s something which Byrne hopes will encourage people to start taking proper steps to keep their pet off the map.
Joe Griffith, a north Knox County resident, learned from the map he's living near a dog that killed another dog after breaking loose from its yard. "That's pretty scary," he told WATE News. "If I take my dog for a walk, it could get out. I'll keep my eyes out, my eyes open and I'm sure she will," he said, referring to his Black Lab, Dixie.
“Always ensure your electric fence is working properly, fence gates are shut and your animal hasn’t dug any holes,” Byrne said.
Quinton Smith, another Knox County resident, told WATE 6 News, "It's good for people with small children or small dogs that would like to know if there's a dog that could harm their dog or harm their children."
Of the 14 dogs currently on the map, the Sheriff’s Office said all owners are taking the proper steps towards getting their dog off the list.
Knox County Dog Ordinances: http://young-williams.org/files/animal_control_ordinance_of_Knox_County.pdf