Knox County Sheriff - Sheriff J.J. Jones
Knox County Sheriff News
Owner of Animal Rescue Organization to be Cited for Cruelty to Animals
Animal Control Officers with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office seized 41 cats Monday morning from an animal rescue home and will cite the owner with cruelty to animals. Armed with a search warrant, officers and two veterinarians from the Young-Williams Animal Center went to the house at 9013 Coburn Drive around 11 o’clock where they found the cats housed in inhumane conditions. A complaint to Animal Control triggered the investigation.
They found numerous cats housed in various rooms of the basement, which was closed off from the upper portion of the house. The incident report states that the ammonia smell was overwhelming and that the litter boxes were overflowing with cat waste. The report also says there was standing urine and what appeared to be smeared diarrhea on the large basement floor. One cat had its head stuck behind an unused refrigerator for an unknown amount of time. Furniture was covered in cat hair, dander, dirt, and litter. The basement was very dark because curtains, empty wire crates and extra- large pet taxis were stacked in front of sliding glass doors and two windows and a door were covered. It was the same conditions in each of the five rooms: cat feces, urine, overflowing litter boxes, scattered food, no ventilation, and no light.
The owner of the home who runs an animal rescue organization called “Almost Home Animal Rescue” told officers she didn’t know how many cats were in the basement. Forty-six year old Annette Traore, who runs the rescue from her home, will be cited later today for cruelty to animals. Officers found three cats in the garage and three other dogs in the upper part of the house and didn’t seize them because they were in humane conditions. Traore was advised that under Knox County Ordinance Sec. 6-34 she was not permitted to have more than five animals on her property. She was instructed to reduce the number of animals to five within 30 days.
Traore refused to surrender ownership of the cats so she will be responsible for all fees associated with their care at Young-Williams.
Animal Control had been at this house twice before in the past year because of complaints. The owners voluntarily showed officers three cats housed in the garage, but refused to consent to let them see inside of the house and denied that any cats were inside. This time, new information was obtained from a concerned citizen which provided enough information for probable cause to get the search warrant.