Chattanooga, TN - City Council to Consider Restrictive Animal Ordinance

The Chattanooga City Council is considering a restrictive animal ordinance that would redefine...

The Chattanooga City Council is considering a restrictive animal ordinance that would redefine “kennel” under city code, require largely unobtainable $300 annual permits and unlimited inspections for “kennels” and “dealers”, and establish problematic provisions for any person who sells or gives away a cat or dog.  Under this proposal, home-based hobby breeders could not offer for sale more than two litters of puppies or kittens per year.

The city council was scheduled to vote on the proposed ordinance on September 16, but the measure appears to have been deleted from the 9/16/14 agenda.  Click here and scroll down to view the meeting agenda, to check for revisions, and to view future meeting information as it is posted.  The proposal could be considered at any city council meeting. 

 

Provisions of concern include, but are not limited to:

  • A “kennel” would be broadly defined as any building, structure or property wherein any person engages in the business of boarding, breeding, grooming, training for a fee, or hunting with a companion animal, maintaining a Companion Animal Daycare, or providing “any similar service” for or with a companion animal.  Under city zoning codes, a kennel would not be approved on residential or agricultural property.

  • A “dealer” would be defined as any person who engages in the business of selling, buying, brokering the sale of, or bartering animals in any manner, including through the Internet.  It is unclear if a person who buys or sells a single animal would be considered to be engaged in the “business” of selling animals or how this would impact a person who purchased, and later sold, an animal.  “Animal shelters” (which under current law are not required to be not-for-profit) and commercial animal transporters would be exempted.  Because a “dealer” would be defined as engaging in a business, business licensing and commercial zoning requirements would apply.

  • Both “kennels” and “dealers” would be required to obtain a permit at a fee of $300 per year, comply with all regulations and zoning requirements, and agree to submit to random inspections of records and the premises where animals are kept, including private homes. Permits could be denied for “any due cause.”

  • “Hobby breeders” would be exempt from permitting. A hobby breeder would be defined as “a person that is an active member of a recognized national, state or local breed organization and that houses or breeds dogs or cats at or adjoining a private residence for the purpose of improving the breed or exhibiting dogs or cats at shows operated by a recognized national, state, or local breeder organization.” A hobby breeder would be allowed to sell puppies or kittens from no more than two litters per household per year. A hobby breeder who sells puppies or kittens from more than two litters per household per year would be defined as a “dealer”.

  • Upon request by an animal services officer or the animal control board, a hobby breeder would be required to provide records demonstrating that he or she had not exceeded the two litters per year sales limit.  This provision would empower designated personnel to demand records without due process of law.  It would further require an animal owner to “prove a negative.”

  • Any person who sells, exchanges, or gives away a cat or dog would be required to provide documentation that the animal had received a specific list of vaccinations and anthelmintics. No exceptions would be provided for a pet owner advised by a veterinarian to provide an alternate vaccination protocol. The American Kennel Club believes that animal health care decisions should be made by an animal owner in consultation with a veterinarian and not dictated by city code.

  • Every person who sells a dog or cat would be required to update the dog’s microchip registry information and report the new owner’s personal information to the city within 48 hours of the sale.

 

Concerned dog owners in Chattanooga are encouraged to:

  1. Contact city council members to express your opposition to the ordinance.

  2. Attend city council meetings and state your opposition to the ordinance.

  3. Contact residents of Chattanooga who are impacted by this proposal and ask them to express their opposition to city council members.

 

Chattanooga City Council Meeting

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
6:00 p.m.
1000 Lindsay Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402 (map). 

 

Call the city council office at (423) 643-7170 for updated meeting and agenda information, information about how you may speak before the council, and additional contact information for council members.

 

Council Member Contact Information:

Chip Henderson, Chair, Phone: (423) 643-7186, Fax:  (423) 643-7199, E-mail: henderson_chip@chattanooga.gov, note: there is an underscore between henderson and chip.

Jerry Mitchell, Phone: (423) 643-7187, Fax: (423) 643-7199, E-Mail: mitchell_jerry@chattanooga.gov - note: there is an underscore between mitchell and jerry.

Ken Smith, Phone: (423) 521-0238, Fax: (423) 643-7199, E-Mail: smith_ken@chattanooga.gov - note: there is an underscore between smith and ken.

Larry Grohn, Phone: (423) 643-7184, Fax: (423) 643-7199, Email: grohn_larry@chattanooga.gov - note: there is an underscore between grohn and larry.

Russell Gilbert, Phone: (423) 643-7183, Fax: (423) 643-7199, Email: gilbert_r@chattanooga.gov - note: there is an underscore between gilbert and r.

Carol B. Berz, Phone: (423) 643-7181, Fax: (423) 643-7199, E-Mail: berz_c@chattanooga.gov - note: there is an underscore between berz and c.

Chris Anderson, Phone: (423) 643-7180, Fax: (423) 643-7199, E-Mail: anderson_c@chattanooga.gov -
note: there is an underscore between anderson and c.

Moses Freeman, Phone: (423) 643-7182, Fax:  (423) 643-7199, E-Mail: freeman_m@chattanooga.gov - note: there is an underscore between freeman and m. 

Yusef Hakeem, Phone: (423) 643-7185, Fax: (423) 643-7199, E-Mail: hakeem_y@chattanooga.gov -
note: there is an underscore between hakeem and y.

 

For questions or more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.