(WBIR) The Knox County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate a photo of a dog tied to a trailer stopped at a red light in Farragut.
In a matter of hours, a picture shared by a viewer on the WBIR Facebook page went viral.
The first photo shows a dog tied to a trailer; the second taken later shows the driver untangling the dog. The thousands of shares, comments and likes caught the attention of local law enforcement.
"We're seeing a lot of how social media affects law enforcement," said Martha Dooley, Knox County Sheriff's Office spokesperson. "We can go back several months and talk about pictures that have been taken on crime scenes and how that makes a story explode. Well, look at this."
The Knox County Sheriff's Office said it is currently investigating and there are several things it is looking for.
"We look at how an animal is being transported," Dooley said. "If it is injuring the animal in any way and also how an animal is restrained. Is that causing pain or injury?"
KCSO said deputies questioned the man at his home. He told police the dog was originally in the front seat but was whining because he wanted out. He then tied him to the back of the trailer where he got tangled.
"He says the dog was tangled up in the leash with his back legs and as soon as he saw that, he untangled him but yet left him on the trailer and continued on home," Dooley said.
We reached out to Young-Williams Animal Shelter about best way to keep your dog safe if you're taking them with you.
"We highly recommend that you always put your animal in a crate," said Amy Johnston, Young-Williams Animal Shelter director. "If your car is not big enough for a crate, there are seatbelts that you can actually purchase for your pet."
There are currently no laws in Tennessee that prevent a pet from riding on a truck bed or trailer, but the animal shelter said it's not the best idea.
"They could see something that they want to get and they could jump out," Johnston said. "We've seen that happen before; I've actually seen that happen before."
KCSO said the dog was uninjured when deputies arrived at the home. It had food, clean water, and shelter available.
We have reached out to the family about the incident and they released the following statement:
"We agree that placing the dog on the trailer was not the best choice. However, the pictures posted do not show an accurate representation of the events. The dog was thought to be secured safely and at no time was "hog tied" and was being watched by the driver.
At no time was the dog ever harmed. It is very concerning to our family of the multiple postings of threats of verbal and physical attacks along with identifying the address of where they live. Our family loves all of our animals and we believe the safety of an elderly couple is also a great concern."