Memphis Animal Services is warning everyone to be on the lookout for a man posing as an animal control officer. People in Berclair say he tried to take their pets, but so far, he has been unsuccessful.
One man told the Local I-Team the fake animal control officer was wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants when he walked up to the man’s home and tried to take his pure-bred German Shepard. We’re told another incident happened just down the street to an elderly woman.
Pet owners on Bayliss street are concerned about the imposter animal control officer in the area.
“It’s scary because if I opened my door and someone said they were animal control officer, I’d be inclined to believe them,” said Kelsey Whitcomb.
“Anyone who is acting outside of the law and seizing someone’s pet and doing it under the imposter guise they are an animal control officer is concerning to us,” said MAS Director Alexis Pugh.
Pugh says the man has gone to people’s homes and tried to take their pets. He appears to target either high-end dogs or those in high demand.
Pugh wants to get the word out that legitimate Memphis Animal Control Officers will be driving either an older or newer van with government tags. It will be clearly marked with the city and MAS logo.
Officers will be wearing a uniform they that will be clearly marked. They will have a badge, city ID, radio, and other safety gear.
“Our officers never go out in plain clothes. They are always going to be in official uniform,” said Pugh.
If there is any question about who is at the door, Pugh says ask for identification or call police.
Pugh says it’s not uncommon for non-profit groups to go out into the community, offering pet owners assistance, but Pugh says rescue groups do not pretend to be animal control or take your pet.
“Offers to help are completely fine. Legal directives or claiming you are with animal control when you are not, that’s what’s against the law,” said Pugh.
Witnesses say the fake officer is a young black man, short, and driving a Ford Fusion.