KNOXVILLE — The Knox County Sheriff's Office has created a map that displays the locations of dogs deemed dangerous by a court order.
The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/16HLKAI) reports that the interactive map comes complete with links to the address, owner and incident report. It even includes a photo of the animal.
The sheriff's office says the aim of the map is to raise awareness about dangerous dogs, to educate the public and to make neighborhoods safer for people and other animals.
"In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to have this registry," said Cpl. Frankie Byrne, director of animal control. "People would keep their animals on their property. But they are animals, and animals can be unpredictable."
The technology used to create the map is similar to that used for the Sheriff's Office's crime map and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's sex offender map.
Members of the public can search for any dogs in a specific area by typing in an address.
"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."
Knox County Sheriff's Capt. Robert Hubbs said animal control was a major complaint during a neighborhood summit earlier this year.
"We hope now that there's more attention paid to the dangerous dog ordinance, that people really will comply, because sometimes they don't," Hubbs said.
A lesser offense lands a dog on the map for 18 months while a more serious one keeps them listed permanently.
Byrne says he hopes the map will encourage people to keep their pet off the map.
"Always ensure your electric fence is working properly, fence gates are shut and your animal hasn't dug any holes," Byrne said.
The sheriff's office says all the owners of the 14 dogs currently listed are taking steps toward getting their pets off the list.
Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com