|TENNESSEE LAWS PROTECTING ANIMALS|
Answer any of your questions or clarify the law. Please see “How to contact us”
1) Animal refers to a domesticated living creature or wild creature
2) Livestock refers to all equine as well as animals raised primarily
For food or fiber for human consumption, including cattle,
Sheep, swine, goats, and poultry.
3) Non livestock refers to a pet normally maintained in or near
A household in #1 as well as exotic animals, pet rabbits, pert
Chicks and ducks, pot bellied pigs not previously referred to
4) Torture refers to every act, omission, or neglect that brings
Unreasonable pain, suffering or death. This does not include
The shooting of wild birds or game for human consumption.
&39-14-202 Cruelty to animals
(a) A person commits an offense who intentionally or knowingly:
1) tortures, maims, or grossly overworks an animal;
2) fails to provide necessary food, water, care, and shelter for
Animal in the person’s custody
3) abandons unreasonable an animal in their custody
4) transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner
5) inflicts burns, cuts, lacerations, or other injuries or pain,
By any method, including blistering compounds to the legs or
Hooves of horses for competition or show purposes.
(b) No experimentation on any animal that causes pain and
Suffering is allowed.
c) Wnen a person is taken in custody due to any violations as in
Relation to (a) 4, the vehicle may be seized along with it’s
D) In addition TO penalty imposed in subsection F below, the court
Award custody of animal9s) to a humane society incorporated
Under Tennessee law. The court may prohibit person convicted
From having custody of other animals for a said amount of
AN OFFENSE UNDER THIS SECTION IS A CLASSA MISDEMEANOR
$39-14-203 Cock & animal fighting
A) It is unlawful for any person to:
1) own, possess, keep, use or train any bull, bear, dog, cock, or
Animal for the purpose of fighting, baiting, or injuring
Another animal for amusement, sport or gain;
2) Cause , for amusement, sport or gain, any such animal to
Fight, bait or injure another animal or each other;
3) permit any such acts stated above to be done on any
Premises under the person’s charge or control, or aid
And aid or abet such act;
4) be knowingly present as a spectator at any place where
Preparations are being made for such exhibitions
B) This does NOT include the training of hunting dogs for
Sport or law enforcement purposes
C) (1) Except for any offenses involving a cock, an offense under
(a) (1) - ( 3 ) is a class E felony.
(2) an offense involving a cock under (a) (1 ) - ( 3 ) is a
Class A Misdemeanor
D) An offense under (a) (4) is a Class A misdemeanor
E) It is not an offense to own, possess or keep cocks, or aid
And abet the owner. For the sole purpose of selling or
Transporting such cocks to a location in which possession of
Such cocks is legal.
A) It is unlawful for any person to:
(1) sell, barter or give away baby chicks, ducklings or
Goslings of any age or rabbitsunder (2) two months of
Age as pets, premiums or novelties if suck animal has been
Colored, dyed or stained or otherwise had it’s natural
(2) bring or transport such animal into Tennessee for
(B) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
&39-14-205 Intentional killing of animal
(A) A person who intentioinall kills the animal of another with
The intent to deprive the owner of the right to keep
His animal or without the owners consent commits
Theft of the animal and shall be punished under
(B) A person is justified in killing an animal if the person
Acted under reasonable belief that the animal was
Posing a threat of danger, injury or death to such person
&39-14-207 Feeding of impounded animals--care provided by
Humane society or rescue group
(A) If any impounded animal is without necessary food & water
For more than 12 successive hours, it is lawful for any
Person, as often as necessary, to enter a place where the
Animal is confined, and give food and water to the animal
As long as it remains confined. That person will not be liable
To any action for such entry and a reasonable cost of the
Food and water may be collected from the owner or keeper
Of the animal.
(B) If an animal is found to be injured, diseased, malnourished
Suffering from the elements, an agent of any humane
Society chartered by the state may request veterinary
Treatment, shelter or nourishment to be given to this
Animal. The society will have the right to take action
Against the owner for all necessary and reasonable expenses
Incurred. Within 48 hours,after taking custody of the
Animal, the society must make reasonable efforts to notify
Owner of the animal’s whereabouts. Any right of action by
The society will be voided if owner decides to relinquish
Animal to society rather than pay for goods or services
&39-14-211 Powers of Societies for the prevention of cruelty to
((A) Agents of any society which is formed for the prevenmtion
Of cruelty to animals, may, within specific county of
Incorporation, make arrests and bring before any court,
Any offenders found violating provisions with regard to
(B) Any officers, agents or members of such society may
Lawfully interfere to prevent any act of cruelty upon any
Animal in that person’s presence. Any person who inter-
Feres with or obstructs any such agent commits a Class
C misdemeanor .
C) Any agent or member of such society may lawfully
destroy or cause to be destroyed,any animal found
Abandoned or otherwise:
---- Which is not properly cared for , in the judgement of
2 reputable citizens, called to view the animal, found to
Be beyond humane recovery.
---- after a holding period of 72 hours and having made
Reasonable efforts to locate owner, for the purpose of
Animal population control.
(D) All fines, penalties and forfeitures imposed and collected
In any county, under provisions relating to or in any way
Affecting animals, shall inure to such society in aid of the
Purpose for which it was incorporated---no injunction
Shall be granted against such society after due notice and
(E) Any humane society chartered by the state, into whose
Custody shall lawfully come any animal, shall have a lien on
That animal for the reasonable value of goods and services
Necessarily rendered by or at the request of such society.
(F) Custody of any animal victimized under these laws shall be
Placed with any humane society chartered by the state
Immediately upon arrest of the person alleged to have
Been in violation of these laws. The society will assist the
Animal and preserve evidence for prosecution.
&39-14-212 Aggravated cruelty to animals--defintion & penalty
(A) A person commits aggravated cruelty to animals when,
With no justifiable purpose, such person intentionally
Causes physical injury to or kills a companion animal.
Aggravated cruelty means conduct which is done or
Carried out in a depraved and sadistic manner which
Tortures, maims or kills an animal.
(B) A first time conviction for aggravated cruelty to animals
Is a Class A misdemeanor. Any subsequent conviction is
A Class E felony. In addition to the penalty imposed
By the court, the sentencing court may order the defen-
Dant to surrender custody and forfeit all companion
Animals and award custody of said animals to the agency
Representing ther animals. The court may also prohibit
The defendant from having custody of other animals for
A period of time deemed reasonable by the court
&44-8-410 Female dogs: confinement while in heat
Every owner of a female dog is required to confine the same
For 24 days during the time she is in heat ( season ).
&44-8-411 Crippling, killing or destroying a female in heat
Any person crippling, killing or in any way destroying a
Female dog in heat that is running around at large shall
Not be held liable for the damages due to such killing or
&44-17-502 Adoption requirements for the TN Spay/Neuter Law
(A) No person shall adopt a dog or cat from an agency
Including but not limited to an animal shelter, dog
Pound , animal control agency, or humane shelter
Operated by a governmental agency or a private
Organization operating a shelter from which animals
Are adopted or reclaimed, unless:
-----dog or cat has already been spayed or neutered.
-----new owner signs a written agreement with the
Agency stating that the new owner will have pet
Spayed or neutered by a licensed vet----
1) within 30 days of the adoption date (if the animal is
2) within 30 days after the pet reaches 6 months of age
(B) Nothing in this section shall preclude the sterilization of
A sexually immature pet at the discretion of a licensed vet
With the consent of the new owner
(A) If the pet being adopted has not been spayed or
Neutered, the agency must require a deposit of not less
Than $25.00 from the new owner prior to the adoption
In order to insure that the pet is spayed or neutered.
The new owner may request and shall receive a refund of
The deposit from the agency upon providing confir-
Mation of the spaying or neutering.
(B) If the new owner fails to have the pet sterilized within
Time frame established, or if the surgery is timely
Performed but the new owner fails to request the
Refund within 10 days of completion of the surgery,
The new owner forfeit’s the deposit to the agency and
It shall be used to conduct programs to spay / neuter
Pets or to conduct educational programs in support of
The spay/neuter program.
&44-17-504 Compliance petition
If a person fails to comply with the provisions of the spay /
Neuter agreement, the agency may file a petition with a
Court seeking compliance and/or requesting return of the
Pet to the agency from which it was adopted.
&68-8-104 Vaccination & registation of dogs & cats
It is unlawful for any person to own, keep or harbor any
Dog or cat which has not been vaccinated against rabies .
Evidence of such vaccination shall consist of a tag issued
And worn on the collar of the pet as well as a copy of the
Certificate given at the time of the injection.