On August 18, 2007, 15-month-old Elijah Rackley was killed by a chained family dog in McMinn County, Tennessee. It was a female Chow-mix that just had puppies. The death occurred in the backyard and apparently happened when the child was unsupervised for only a minute. (Read more about this death.)

The Rackley accident is yet another instance of a chained dog killing a young family member. More and more jurisdictions are passing anti-chaining laws because they protect children and encourage humane treatment of dogs. (Learn more about chaining and dog bites.)

In the USA this year, there have been 19 canine homicides. Only 4 have been in the states that reject the British one-bite rule. Tennessee had an opportunity to repeal it this year, but amazingly passed a new law that explicitly re-enacted it for residential killings. In other words, as far as the law is concerned, nobody was responsible for Elijah Rackley's fatal mauling (it happened at a residence). No responsibility means no vigilance, and no vigilance means Tennessee will see more such deaths -- as will all the other states that fail to repeal this old English law.

With 3 deaths since the beginning of 2007, Tennessee is now among the top three states in fatal maulings (Georgia has 3 and Texas leads with 6). The Tennessee legislature must revisit its dog bite law next year and eliminate the one-bite rule from state law. This law obviously is one reason why there are so many fatalities in the great state of Tennessee.