Tennessee

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Citizens' Rapid-Transit Co. v. Dew


This is an action for negligently injuring and killing a dog by the driver of a streetcar. The Supreme Court of Tennessee affirmed a verdict for $200 after defendant train killed plaintiff’s dog. The Court reasoned that since large amounts of money are now invested in dogs, and since they are regarded as companions to many in society, they now have "a distinct and well established status in the eyes of the law." Thus, the owner of a dog has property rights in that dog to maintain an action at law. The Supreme Court of Tennessee found that the defendant company was guilty of negligence in the killing of Dew's dog, that his death could have been prevented by the exercise of proper care and diligence.

CITIZENS' RAPID-TRANSIT CO. v. DEW


In 1898, this court affirmed a verdict for $200 after defendant train killed plaintiff’s dog. The Court reasoned that, "Large amounts of money are now invested in dogs, and they are extensively the subjects of trade and traffic. They are the negro's associates, and often his only property, the poor man's friend, and the rich man's companion, and the protection of women and children, hearthstones and hen roosts. In the earlier law books it was said that "dog law" was as hard to define as was "dog Latin." But that day has passed, and dogs have now a distinct and well established status in the eyes of the law."

Detailed Discussion of Tennessee Great Apes Laws The following article discusses Great Ape law in Tennessee. Under Tennessee’s exotic animal law, great apes are considered Class I wildlife, meaning that permitees must obtain a permit and meet housing requirements for the animals. Tennessee also indirectly regulates the possession of great apes by reference to the federal endangered species list. In addition, the state declares the unlawful commercial use of wildlife a Class A misdemeanor, or a Class E felony if the animal is valued at $500 or more.Additionally, Tennessee covers great apes under federal Endangered Species law. Great apes are also covered under the state’s anti-cruelty law. However, the law contains several exempt categories, including accepted veterinary practices, medical treatment by the owner or with consent of the owner, or bona fide experimentation for scientific research.
Friedli v. Kerr


This case involves two passengers who were injured when the horse-drawn carriage that they were riding in turned over after the horse was startled and the driver lost control of the horse.

 

The trial court held, and the court of appeals affirmed, that the defendant’s carriage business was not immune from liability to its passengers under Tennessee’s equine liability statute.

 

There were three reasons for this decision:

 

1) the defendant is not an “equine activity sponsor,” 2) his business is not an “equine activity,” and 3) the plaintiffs were not “participants” engaging in an “equine activity” when they were injured.

Hodge v. State


The indictment charged that the defendant unlawfully and needlessly mutilated a dog by setting a steel-trap in a bucket of slop and catching the dog by the tongue, and that great pain and torture were unlawfully and needlessly inflicted upon the dog. Defendant argued that a dog had been invading his property and destroying hens' nests for a long time. Witnesses testified that the dog had a bad character for prowling about through the neighborhood at night. The court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding that defendant had a right to protect his premises against such invasions, and to adopt such means as were necessary for that purpose. There was no evidence that the slop used by defendant was such as was calculated or likely to lure dogs away from the premises where they belonged on to his premises or within his enclosures. If the dog was in the habit of committing the depredations, defendant had a right to set a steel-trap for the purpose of capturing him, and if, while committing the nightly depredations the dog was thus caught and mutilated, it was not needless torture or mutilation within the meaning of the Act, and the jury should have been so instructed. The indictment charged that the defendant unlawfully and needlessly mutilated a dog by setting a steel-trap in a bucket of slop and catching the dog by the tongue, and that great pain and torture were unlawfully and needlessly inflicted upon the dog. Defendant argued that a dog had been invading his property and destroying hens' nests for a long time. Witnesses testified that the dog had a bad character for prowling about through the neighborhood at night. The court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding that defendant had a right to protect his premises against such invasions, and to adopt such means as were necessary for that purpose. There was no evidence that the slop used by defendant was such as was calculated or likely to lure dogs away from the premises where they belonged on to his premises or within his enclosures. If the dog was in the habit of committing the depredations, defendant had a right to set a steel-trap for the purpose of capturing him, and if, while committing the nightly depredations the dog was thus caught and mutilated, it was not needless torture or mutilation within the meaning of the Act, and the jury should have been so instructed. The court reversed defendant's conviction for cruelty to animals and granted a new trial.

In re Estate of Ronald W. Callan, Jr. This Tennessee order appoints a guardian ad litem for the custody and care of decedent, Ronald W. Callan Jr.'s, dog. According to the order, the guardian ad litem (an attorney in this case) acts not as an advocate for the dog, but rather has a duty to determine what is in the dog's best welfare. Further, the guardian is given unlimited access to the dog and has the right to inspect where the dog is being sheltered. He can also inspect all veterinary records and speak with the dog's veterinarian.
Ivey v. Hamlin (Unpublished)


This is an action for damages for the deliberate killing of a dog by a Deputy Sheriff that was alleging terrorizing the neighborhood.  In finding for defendant-officer, the court noted that the consensus among the courts is that a vicious dog is a public nuisance and that governments and their agents have broad power to protect the public from these animals.  The court thus found the officer acted reasonably under the circumstances and had a qualified immunity defense.

McElroy v. Carter


In this Tennessee case, a man shot and wounded a cat owned by his neighbor as the animal exited from the bed of the man's prized pickup truck. The cat died from its wounds shortly thereafter. The neighbor sued for the veterinary bills she incurred for treatment of the cat's injuries. The truck owner counter-sued for the damage the cat allegedly caused to his truck by scratching the paint. After a bench trial, the court awarded the truck's owner $6,500 in damages, which it offset by a $372 award to the neighbor for her veterinary bills. The Court of Appeals reversed that decision finding that as a matter of law the cat's owner cannot be held liable for not keeping her cat confined when the damage the cat allegedly caused was not foreseeable.

Stanton v. State


The defendant, a self-employed oil distributor, was charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty for intentionally or knowingly failing to provide food and care for his horses. After being denied a petition for pretrial division and a petition for a writ of certiorari, the defendant appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee, who granted the defendant permission to appeal, but affirmed the lower court's decision that the assistant district attorney general did not abuse his discretion and that the trial court did not err in denying the defendant's petition for writ of certiorari.

State v. Scott
The appellant pled guilty to one count of animal fighting, one count of cruelty to animals, and one count of keeping unvaccinated dogs, and asked for probation. The trial court denied the appellants request for probation and sentenced him to incarceration. The appellant challenged the trial court's ruling, and

the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to deny probation, stating that the heinous nature of the crimes warranted incarceration.

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