Tennesseans, Make Your Voices Heard, Write to Governor About 4 New Laws

If you live in Tennessee, you need to push Governor Bredesen to sign four new laws that will help to protect you against vicious dogs, while remaining fair to all dog owners.

Click here to open your email program with the governor’s email address. Then copy and paste the following into your message:

“Governor, I urge you to sign SB 143 / HB 108, SB 537 / HB 548, SB 139 / HB 106, and SB 140 / HB 107. These laws will promote responsible dog ownership, help to control dangerous dogs, and protect our children.”

SB 143 / HB 108. Imposes liability upon owner of a dog that causes injury to another regardless of whether the dog had any past propensity for viciousness or whether the owner had knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. This means that the burden of a dog attack will fall upon the dog owner, not the victim and not the taxpayers. As a practical matter, the bills will be paid by homeowner or renters insurance, which covers dog attacks. 

SB 537 / HB 548. Increases the punishment for the offense of being present as a spectator at a dog fight from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor. Dogfighting produces dangerous dogs that get onto the streets and injure children and seniors. People who attend dogfighting events support the practice with their presence and by betting on the dogs. This measure will reduce dogfighting and thus protect the streets.

SB 139 / HB 106. Increases punishment for the offense of owning a dog running at large and provides staggered punishments for such offense depending upon the amount of damage or injury to another caused by the dog at large. Dianna Acklen was killed by three dogs, but no prosecution resulted because of a loophole in the law. This bill will close that loophole and provide appropriate penalties for failing to keep a dog on its own property.

SB 140 / HB 107. Enhances the punishment for the offense of dog running at large if the dog was trained to fight, attack or kill, had a prior history of biting people, or the owner knew of the dangerous nature of the dog. Without a doubt, the owners of dogs that have been proven to be dangerous need to be dealt with if those dogs run at large and injure a person. This law provides appropriate punishment. It will help keep the streets safe of the most pernicious, dangerous dogs.