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Tennessee

Statute Name Citation Summary
TN - Assistance Animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws   T. C. A. 39-14-208, 212, 216; 44-17-403, 404; 55-8-180; 62-7-112; 66-7-104, 106  

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

 
TN - Bovine - Chapter 21. Liability of Bovine Owners   T. C. A. 44-21-101 - 104   This chapter operates similarly to equine activity liability laws and provides that a bovine owner shall not be liable for any injury, loss, damage, or death of a person resulting from the inherent risks of bovine activities. The section also requires the posting of warning signs alerting visitors to bovine activities that the owner or operator is not liable.  
TN - Breeder -Part 7. Commercial Breeder Act   T. C. A. 44-17-701 - 715   In 2009, Tennessee enacted its Commercial Breeder Act. The act defines a commercial breeder as means any person who possesses or maintains, under the person’s immediate control, twenty (20) or more unsterilized adult female dogs or cats in this state for the purpose of selling the offspring as companion animals. Commercial breeders must maintain and display licenses to operate in accordance with the act. Further, the act requires commercial breeders to keep on file at all times the number of dogs and cats in their possession and how many were sold during the reporting period. Inspections may occur under the act, but are not mandatory.  
TN - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes   T. C. A. 39-14-201 - 217   These Tennessee anti-cruelty provisions define "animal" as a domesticated living creature or a wild creature previously captured.  A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals (a Class A misdemeanor)  if he or she intentionally or knowingly tortures, maims or grossly overworks an animal; fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care or shelter for an animal in the person's custody; abandons unreasonably an animal in the person's custody; transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner; or inflicts burns, cuts, lacerations, or other injuries or pain.  Animal fighting is also prohibited under this section, with dog fighting incurring a felony penalty and cockfighting resulting in a misdemeanor in most cases.  A person commits aggravated cruelty (a Class E felony) to animals when, with aggravated cruelty and with no justifiable purpose, he or she intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal.  Exclusions include animal farming, research, veterinary practices, hunting, trapping, "dispatching" rabid animals or wild animals on one's property, among other things.  
TN - Dangerous Animals - 39-17-101. Dangerous snakes or reptiles; handling   T. C. A. 39-17-101   This Tennessee law makes it an offense for a person to display, exhibit, handle, or use a poisonous or dangerous snake or reptile in a manner that endangers the life or health of any person. Violation is a Class C misdemeanor.  
TN - Dangerous dog - 44-17-120. Death or serious injury; destruction of dogs   T. C. A. 44-17-120   This Tennessee statute provides that any dog which attacks a human and causes death or serious injury may be destroyed upon the order of the circuit court where the attack occurred.  The owner shall be given notice that if he or she does not appear before the court within five days and show cause why the dog should not be destroyed, then the order shall issue and the dog shall be destroyed.  This statute also allows certain counties to make ordinances to petition a general sessions court to provide for the disposition of dangerous dogs and/or dogs causing death or serious injury to humans or other animals.  
TN - Disaster - Part 8. Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act of 2007   T. C. A. 58-2-801 - 813   The Tennessee Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act applies to registered volunteer health practitioners who provide health services for a host entity during an emergency. Volunteer health practitioners are not liable for their acts or omissions in providing health services. “Health services” means treatment, care, advice, guidance, or provision of supplies related to the health or death of an animal or to animal populations.  
TN - Dog - Consolidated Dog Laws   T. C. A. 44-8-408 - 412; 44-17-101 - 505; T. C. A. 5-1-120, 6-54-135, 39-14-205, 39-14-213, 44-14-104, 70-4-103, 70-4-118, 70-4-122, 70-2-214  

These Tennessee statutes comprise the state's dog laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements for companion animal dealers, laws concerning damage done by dogs, and the Tennessee Spay/Neuter Law.

 
TN - Domestic Violence - Part 6 Domestic Abuse   T. C. A. 36-3-601 - 606   Under Tennessee's Domestic Abuse Act, the definitional section states that "abuse" includes inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an adult or minor. Section 606(9) allows the court to direct the care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor residing in the household. Further, in no instance shall the animal be placed in the care, custody, or control of the respondent, but shall instead be placed in the care, custody or control of the petitioner or in an appropriate animal foster situation.  
TN - Ecoterrorism - Part 8. Farm Animal and Research Facilities Protection   T. C. A. 39-14-801 - 806   This chapter comprises the Tennessee Farm Animal and Research Facilities Protection Act. A person commits an offense if, without consent, the person exercises control over an animal facility, an animal from an animal facility, or other property from an animal facility with the intent to deprive the owner of the facility, animal, or property and to disrupt the enterprise conducted at the animal facility. Other offenses include destruction of property, including freeing of animals located there, or entering an animal facility with the intent to disrupt or damage the enterprise or its property. A violation is a Class C felony if the person exercises control over the facility or the damage is $500 or more. A violation is a Class B misdemeanor if the damage is less than $500 or the person illegally enters the facility with intent to damage it. Any person who has been damaged by reason of a violation of this part may recover all actual and consequential damages, punitive damages, and court costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, from the person causing the damage.  
TN - Endangered Species - Nongame and Endangered or Threatened Wildlife Species Conservation Act of 1974   T. C. A. 70-8-101 - 112   These Tennessee statutes comprise the Tennessee Nongame and Endangered or Threatened Wildlife Species Conservation Act of 1974 and includes the legislative intent, definitions, and factors relevant to endangered species investigations.  By statute, it is unlawful for any person to take, attempt to take, possess, transport, export, process, sell or offer for sale or ship nongame wildlife, or for any common or contract carrier knowingly to transport or receive for shipment nongame wildlife.  Violation constitutes a Class B misdemeanor and incurs warrantless searches and seizure of the wildlife taken and the instrumentalities used in the taking.  
TN - Equine Activity Liability - Chapter 20. Equine Activities--Liability   T. C. A. 44-20-101 - 105  

This act stipulates that an equine sponsor or equine professional, or any other person, including corporations and partnerships, are immune from liability for the death or injury of a participant, which resulted from the inherent risks of equine activities.  However, there are exceptions to this rule:  a person, corporation, or partnership will be held liable for injuries of an equine activity participant if he or she displays a willful and wanton or intentional disregard for the safety of the participant and if he or she fails to make reasonable and prudent efforts in ensuring the safety of the participant.  In addition, a person will be held liable for the injury of an equine activity participant if he or she is injured on the land or at a facility due to a dangerous latent condition of which was known to the equine sponsor, professional or other person.

 
TN - Exotic Pet - Part 4. Exotic Animals.   T. C. A. 70-4-401 - 417   This Tennessee chapter relates to the private possession of wildlife. It is unlawful for any person to possess, transport, import, export, buy, sell, barter, propagate or transfer any wildlife, whether indigenous to this state or not, except as provided by this part and rules and regulations promulgated by the Tennessee wildlife resources commission pursuant to this part. Additionally, no person shall possess Class I (all species inherently dangerous to humans such as wolves, bears, lions and poisonous snakes) or Class II (native species that are  not listed in other classes) wildlife without having documentary evidence showing the name and address of the supplier of such wildlife and date of acquisition. In order to obtain a permit to possess Class I wildlife, a person must be 21, have at least 2 years of experience handling such animals (or take an approved written exam), have a full-time resident caretaker, and must have a plan for the quick and safe recapture of the wildlife, among other provisions. The annual permits and fees for personal possession of  Class I wildlife are $150/animal or $1,000/facility.  
TN - Expert - 29-26-115. Burden of proof; expert witnesses   T. C. A. 29-26-115  

This Tennessee statute provides the requirements for the claimant’s burden of proof under malpractice actions, including, inter alia, the proof that the defendant’s actions fell below the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice in the community, proximate cause, and proof by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant’s actions were negligent.

 
TN - Hunting - Part 3. Hunter Protection Act.   T. C. A. 70-4-301 - 303   This section represents Tennessee's "Hunter Protection Act." The law makes it a Class C misdemeanor to interfere with the lawful taking of a wild animal by another with the intent to prevent the taking; disturb or engage in an activity that will tend to disturb a wild animal, with the intent to prevent the lawful taking; disturb a person engaged in lawful hunting with the intent to prevent the taking; enter or remain on land with intent to violate this section; or fail to obey a peace officer's orders to desist from conduct in violation of this section. A person affected by conduct in violation of this section may seek an injunction or recover damages, including punitive damages.  
TN - Hunting, Internet - Part 5. Computer-Assisted Hunting from Remote Locations   T. C. A. 70-4-501 - 504   This set of Tennessee laws prohibits computer-assisted remote hunting or providing or operating facilities for computer-assisted remote hunting if the wildlife being hunted is located in this state. Computer-assisted remote hunting is defined as "the use of a computer or any other device, equipment or software, to control remotely the aiming and discharge of a rifle, shotgun, handgun, bow and arrow, cross-bow or any other implement to hunt wildlife."  
TN - Impound - Rabies. 68-8-109. Observation; confinement or quarantine.   T. C. A. 68-8-109   This Tennessee statute provides that if any animal has bitten any person, is suspected of having bitten any person or is for any reason suspected of being infected with rabies, the animal may be required to be placed under an observation period either by confinement or by quarantine for a period of time deemed necessary by the commissioner or rules of the department.  
TN - Licenses - 68-8-107. Seizure; adoption; destruction.   T. C. A. 68-8-1  

This Tennessee statute mandates that any dog found running at large may be seized by any peace officer and placed in an animal shelter in counties or cities where an animal shelter or pound is available. If the dog or cat is wearing a rabies vaccination tag or other identification, all reasonable effort shall be made to locate and notify the owners who shall be required to appear within five (5) days and redeem the animal by paying a pound fee as set by the city or county legislative body.

 
TN - Liens, Veterinary - 63-12-134. Liens and incumbrances.   T. C. A. 63-12-134   This statute specifically allow vets to hold an animal until a bill is paid for treatment, board or care of an animal.  
TN - Ordinances - 44-17-401. Use of electronic locating collars on dogs   T. C. A. 44-17-401  

This Tennessee statute provides that no agency or entity of state or local government shall enact, adopt, promulgate, or enforce any law, ordinance, rule, regulation, or other policy which restricts or prevents the owner of any dog from using an electronic locating collar to protect such dog from loss.

 
TN - Ordinances - 5-1-120. Dogs and cats; licenses, shelters and other animal control facilities   T. C. A. 5-1-120  

This Tennessee statute outlines the broad police power counties have with respect to dog and cats.  It provides that counties, by resolution of their respective legislative bodies, may license and regulate dogs and cats, establish and operate shelters and other animal control facilities, and regulate, capture, impound and dispose of stray dogs, stray cats and other stray animals.

 
TN - Pet Damages - 44-17-403. Liability for death of pet; damages; exemptions   T. C. A. 44-17-403   This Tennessee statute provides that a pet owner may seek non-economic damages up to $5,000 for the death of his or her pet against the person who is liable for causing the death or injuries that led to the animal's death.  The person causing the pet's death must have done so intentionally or, if negligently,  the incident must have occurred either on the owner or pet caretaker's property or while in the control and supervision of the caretaker.  These damages are not for the intentional infliction of emotional distress of the owner or other civil claim, but rather for the direct loss of "reasonably expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet."  
TN - Rabies - Chapter 8. Rabies   T. C. A. 68-8-101 - 115   This chapter reflects the Tennessee Anti-Rabies Law. It is unlawful for any person to own, keep or harbor any dog or cat six (6) months of age or older that has not been vaccinated against rabies as required by this chapter. Ferrets, certain livestock, hybrid animals and other animals may be vaccinated for rabies if a vaccine is legally available for that species.  
TN - Rabies - Chapter 8. Rabies. 68-8-108. Transportation.   T. C. A. 68-8-108  

This Tennessee statute provides that this chapter related to rabies shall not prohibit the transportation of dogs or cats in the state; provided, that the dogs or cats are securely confined or kept on a leash while being transported in the state.

 
TN - Trusts - 35-15-408. Trust for care of animal.   T. C. A. 35-15-408   This Tennessee trust law, amended in 2007, provides that a trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one (1) animal alive during the settlor's lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal. The trust may not be enforced for more than 90 years.  
TN - Veterinary - Chapter 12. Veterinarians.   T. C. A. 63-12-101 - 145  

These are the state's veterinary practice laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements, laws concerning the state veterinary board, veterinary records laws, and the laws governing disciplinary actions for impaired or incompetent practitioners.

 
TN - Wildlife - Part 2. Wildlife Regulation and Protection   T. C. A. 70-4-201 - 211   These Tennessee statutes make it unlawful to barter, sell, transfer, or to purchase any wildlife without a hunting or fishing license. The unlawful importation, possession, or sale of skunks or red foxes is a Class C misdemeanor. The statutes also impose requirements on transport and storage of other wildlife.  

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