Animal Services

Our mission is to lead the community to end pet homelessness, promote animal welfare and enhance the human-animal bond through community empowerment, education and proactive services for both pets and humans.


Young-Williams Animal Services is responsible for all animal control services for the City of Knoxville and Knox County.

Our team comprises a Director of Animal Services, Animal Services Supervisor and 15 Animal Services Officers.

Our officers focus on assisting pet owners to create long-term change rather than relying on citations and seizures. Those enforcement tools will only be used when necessary for a pet or person’s safety. Animal Services Officers serve to protect the public health and safety of our community and its pets. We provide a range of services including:

  • Reconnecting lost pets with their owner.
  • Providing a range of resources to pet owners and their pets.
  • Offering education and community outreach.
  • Investigating an animal bite or safety concern.
  • Responding to animal-related issues.
  • Investigating concerns of animal cruelty or animal welfare.

To report any animal-related concerns, please call 865.407.2229 between 7am - 7pm Monday - Friday and 8am - 5:30pm on weekends. For emergencies, call 911

To request a pickup in the City of Knoxville for a dead animal contact 311.

Animal Services
Contact Information

For non-emergency animal control-related calls please call 865.407.2229 between 7am - 7pm Monday - Friday and 8am - 5:30pm on weekends. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.

You may also fill out the Animal Services Report Form.

Helpful Links:

Lost and Found Services

Young-Williams Animal Center offers Lost and Found pets services for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. You can view all Lost and Found pets here.

  • Young-Williams Animal Center is the only facility in the City of Knoxville and Knox County permitted to house stray animals and the most likely place to find a missing feline, canine or other pet.
  • If you have found a stray pet in Knoxville or Knox County, please visit our Lost and Found Resources page for ways to get the pet back home to its family, including posting on social media pages, Petco Love Lost, PawBoost and posting found pet flyers.
  • If you have lost your pet, please visit our Lost and Found Resources page.

Pet Resource Center

Our goal is to help you keep your pet! We have a lot of resources and will do our best to help find a solution so that you can keep your pet. Taking your pet to any animal shelter should be the last resort.

Pet Food Pantry

The Pet Food Pantry is a Young-Williams Animal Center program that provides free pet food for low-income families struggling to afford pet food. Click here to fill out of the form for the Pet Food Pantry program.


If you are seeking temporary assistance in housing your pet(s) due to a crisis, please call us at 865.363.6702.

Animal Ordinances

To read the animal and pet-related laws in the City of Knoxville and Knox County, visit the below websites:

Animal Bites

If you have been bitten, attacked or scratched by a domestic or wild animal and are in need of emergency care, call 911. If emergency care is not required, please call 865.407.2229 to report the animal bite. All animal bites must be reported to Young-Williams Animal Services.

Animal cruelty or neglect

If you suspect that an animal is being abused or neglected and would like to file a report, you may call 865.407.2229 or submit a report below. Please note, animal cruelty investigations do not include barking dogs, loud cats or loose animals.

Animal Services FAQ

Why is this the best solution for citizens and animals in our community?

This approach will unite animal welfare organizations and law enforcement agencies, resulting in better service to our community’s people and pets. Our focus will be on educating and assisting pet owners rather than the traditional responses of citing and seizure.

When individuals are cited or fined and their pets are removed, an unsustainable cycle within the legal system begins, discouraging them from reclaiming their pet despite how much that animal means to them. In some cases, their pet might remain at the shelter while they get another animal elsewhere.

We will meet individuals where they are, without judgment or assumption, to achieve the best possible outcomes for them and their pets.

How is the new department different than current animal control operations?

Rather than being reactive to our community’s concerns, the new organization will proactively address animal welfare with education and a plethora of resources. The department will empower residents to resolve pet-related issues for the long term. This progressive model also will enhance community safety by engaging with pet owners to interrupt the cycle of repeated offenses.

Will this be a law enforcement agency?

Many animal control organizations nationwide are moving away from a law enforcement model. Other agencies are housed under unrelated departments, such as parks and recreation, public works and the local health department. Today’s solutions are community-based and collaborative, which is proven to make a greater long-term impact.

The reimagined agency will rely on support from local law enforcement officers as needed and defer to them when concerns need to be escalated.

Will Young-Williams Animal Center be authorized to issue citations and seize animals?

Yes. Our trained staff will uphold all local ordinances and state laws to cite pet owners and remove animals when necessary. The staff also will provide resources to address the factors that led to the misconduct. This ensures that offenders are held accountable and have opportunities to correct any unlawful acts.

When will Young-Williams Animal Center remove pets from properties?

Our officers will be able to legally remove an animal from a private property under the following circumstances:

  • Officer witnesses an animal leave its owner’s property and stray in the surrounding area.
  • Officer obtains a warrant to seize an animal from a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • Officer determines that exigent circumstances exist and without immediate intervention, the animal will suffer serious harm or death.
Will officers respond to wildlife reports?

Animal Control’s current policy on wildlife reports will remain unchanged. Officers will respond to calls about wildlife animals that are sick/injured and pose a direct safety risk to the public. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has jurisdiction over wildlife including bats, skunks, racoons, foxes and coyotes.

How will the consolidation affect budgets and taxpayer dollars?

The consolidation of departments with duplication of services is a more cost-effective and efficient use of resources. This proven strategy saves taxpayer money while improving the lives of people and their pets.

With Young-Williams Animal Center overseeing Animal Control as a nonprofit, there would be the opportunity to apply for grants and solicit additional funding for training and equipment not included in the budget. This would create the capacity to grow our animal welfare services for community pet owners.

How will the consolidation affect the average citizen?

Knox County and Knoxville citizens will benefit from progressive methods of creating a safe and humane community through owner education, community outreach and follow-up on each call for service. Pet owners also will be connected to more immediate resources and solutions, as we promote compliance over enforcement and impoundment when truly necessary. Additionally, improved communication among local agencies and animal welfare organizations will resolve cases more quickly and result in better outcomes for people and their pets.

How will the reporting process differ?

To report any animal-related concerns, please call  865-407-2229. For emergencies, call 911. The reporting process will include prompt service, timely follow-up and thoughtful action. Whether a concerned citizen is reporting a dangerous incident or a pet owner is in need of resources, our team will respond with a solutions-driven and respectful approach.

Reporting across the animal welfare community also will be enhanced. Young-Williams Animal Center will share accurate, timely information with regional partners to best aid pet owners and prevent animal mistreatment.

How will the department be staffed?

Current Animal Control employees are encouraged to reapply. Employees will receive training through the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACCA) and Best Friends Animal Society on the department’s new strategies and available resources, preparing them to better serve our community.

The number of officers will remain consistent.

Where will Animal Services be housed?

Young-Williams Animal Services operations will remain in the same building on 5th Street. All animals will continue to come to Young-Williams’ main intake facility at 3201 Division St.

What is the plan for department oversight?

Leaders and officers of the new department will be overseen by the Young-Williams Animal Center CEO to ensure our citizens are served according to the highest standards and adhering to the municipal contract between the City of Knoxville and Knox County.

An expansion of the City of Knoxville Animal Control Board, to be renamed Animal Advisory Board, will be proposed to add: A county-appointed member, Knoxville Police Department and Knox County Sheriff’s Office representatives, the new field services director and a member of the Knox County legal department.

Will current officers still have a job if they do not join Young-Williams Animal Services?

Yes. Both Knoxville Police Department and Knox County Sheriff’s Office will ensure all employees who do not join the new team will have a job within the departments.

How will success be defined under the new structure?

Young-Williams Animal Center is committed to transparency and would continue the current quarterly reporting to the city and county. We are a data-driven industry and organization and will identify key performance metrics, issue monthly Animal Services reports, track data through our shelter management software and work with media to share important information, stories and the important lifesaving work Young-Williams Animal Center is doing to improve our pet-loving community.