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Town deals with Fox Den ‘Cat House’
Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen

The Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen tackled the issue of what has locally become known as the “Cat House” without the matter becoming a total catastrophe at its meeting Thursday, Aug. 10.

The residence came to the forefront early in July when Charles Wade Sexton, 70, and his wife, Sylvia Jeane Sexton, 68, both of a Tazewell Pike address, were charged and arrested with a combined 33 counts of cruelty to animals by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, July 5.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested the pair based on evidence secured by Knox County Animal Control officers, who had obtained a search warrant for the couple’s 130 Champion’s Point residence following a “cat bite” complaint by a neighbor.

Officials found 26 dead animals in the Fox Den residence and later found seven dead animals in the Tazewell Pike house.

Town attorney Tom Hale advised FBMA members the authority the town has to condemn a home based on a state statute.

“Our ordinance requires the vacant properties review board to review the facts concerning the blighted property,” Hale said. “That body is required to give the owner notice of the deficiencies and give them ninety days to correct the problems.”

In the case of the Sexton house, he said, the point of condemnation is moot because the property has a new owner.

A letter from the Farragut Vacant Properties Review Commission identifies the new owner of the property at 130 Champions Point as Michael Ayres of Farragut.

“I believe the new owner has applied for a demolition permit for the property,” Hale said.

Residents of the Fox Den subdivision expressed concern over the demolition process.

Patty Morgan lives at 124 Champions Point and it was her child bitten by a cat that brought the matter to the public spotlight. Morgan said she was concerned about mold and other material that might be in the house and what would happen when the home was brought down.

“The smell in there right now is horrific,” she said.

Theresa Nadalsky, president of the Fox Den Homeowner’s Association, echoed the concerns of Morgan.

“That home has been open to the elements for about three or four winters now,” she said. “With the dead animals and the weather, there’s bound to be some black mold in there. Black mold is absolutely


She asked if the town required any type of Environmental Protection Agency certification from demolition companies.

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III asked town home inspector John Householder if the town requires such certifications. Householder said no. Ford told FBMA members he would remain on top of the situation.

Ford suggested Ayres be notified of neighbors concerns.

In other business, the Board approved a cost sharing agreement with Scott Davis, representing Jefferson Creek, LLC, for the creation of a subdivision off Union Road. This arrangement has been a bone of contention for several weeks as the parties hammered out an arrangement agreeable to both


Under the terms of the agreement, Davis agreed to reconstruct Union Road between Fox Run subdivision and the entrance of his new subdivision with curb and gutter on both sides. He also agreed to foot the cost for all the engineering studies.


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