Knox County pet sitter accused of neglecting animals under her care

Several dog owners in Knoxville said their pets have came back injured or even dead after being in the care of the same pet sitter.
Several dog owners in Knoxville said they’re pets have come back injured or even dead after being in the care of the same pet sitter
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 10:27 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:37 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - When going out of town and leaving your pet with a stranger, it takes an ultimate amount of trust. Some in Knoxville said one woman has broken that trust.

Savannah Black and her family left for Memphis to visit her family for Christmas and let a woman named Haylee Morris stay in her home to look after her four dogs and cat. When Black came home after more than a week gone, she said there were urine stains all over her carpet and furniture, to the point where it all had to be thrown away.

“It just made it clear they were not being fed and left for days,” said Black, who believed that Morris didn’t feed her dogs properly or take them out for days on end.

WVLT News reached out to Morris several times for comment, but she never replied.

After this encounter, Black made a post to Facebook warning others of Morris, which led to more than a dozen other people sharing their stories of similar experiences.

“As I was driving to her house, she texted me to tell me he had stopped breathing, and her mom was doing CPR on him,” said a woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, who claimed her healthy dog named Tucker died in the care of Morris unexpectedly.

Black said she is owed more than $10,000 in damages after belongings had to be thrown away and her dogs seemed “down and broken.”

“All I know is she blamed it on the lack of smell, and she said she had no idea,” said Black when recalling what Morris allegedly told her when explaining what happened to her home.

According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, there have been several calls made to Morris’ home. One responding deputy said in a report that “a strong smell of urine was emitting from the home. Flies were flying between the blinds and windows. Animal hair covered the trim on the inside of the windows.”

That same report in September of 2022 noted that Morris had adopted 15 animals from Young-Williams Animal Center and only one of them was alive when the report was made. Among the animals that died were eight rabbits, two birds, two hamsters, a dog and a cat, according to the KCSO report.

KCSO officials are investigating a home that recently had 43 animals taken from it this week and have said that charges will likely follow. However, KCSO officials have not confirmed whether or not this is the same case involving Morris, as she does not have any current charges against her.