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Tennessee Informational Alert: Dog Bills in Committee March 19

(Friday, March 14, 2014)

The following bills have been placed on the calendar of the Tennessee House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee for March 19, 2014:

House Bill 1260 seeks to enact conditions under which tethering a dog would be an animal cruelty violation. Under this bill, it would be a crime to use a tether of less than 10 feet in length or to tether a dog without access to food, a spill-proof container of water, and a shelter with bedding. As written, this bill would effectively outlaw the use of grooming nooses and could prohibit temporarily securing a dog by a tether in conjunction with training, hunting, and competition activities.

House Bill 2385 seeks to delete the provision that terminates the Commercial Breeder Act on June 30, 2014. If this measure passes, the current Commercial Breeder Act would remain in effect. Because this bill is written to "amend" the existing law, additional (and possibly problematic) amendments could be added during the committee process if the bill should advance.

History of the Tennessee Commercial Breeder Act

The Tennessee Commercial Breeder Act was passed in 2009 and went into effect January 1, 2010. The act licenses, regulates and provides for inspection of commercial dog and cat breeders. It considers a commercial breeder to be a person who possesses or maintains 20 or more unsterilized adult female dogs or cats for the purpose of selling the offspring as companion animals.

This law was enacted based on fiscal projections that it would generate more than $1 million dollars from revenue received from an estimated 500 licensed breeders. As of fiscal year 2011-2012, the actual number of licensed breeders was 20, actual licensing revenue was $19,900, and the increased cost to taxpayers to administer the program was $365,600. See Comparison of Actual and Estimated Fiscal Note Impacts, pages 8-10.

The act includes a “sunset clause” that states: The provisions of this act will terminate and expire on June 30, 2014. House Bill 2385 seeks to delete this sunset clause.

Additional Information

In 2013, United States Department of Agriculture rules were enacted that federally regulate pet sellers who sell pets over the Internet or otherwise transact pet sales “sight unseen.” The new USDA rule may serve to make state regulation of commercial breeders redundant.

House Bill 2007 seeks to enact an animal abuser registry.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Dog owners and responsible breeders should contact members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee to express their position on these proposed laws.

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee

Representative Ron Lollar (subcommittee chair) rep.ron.lollar@capitol.tn.gov , (615) 741-7084
Representative Brenda Gilmore, rep.brenda.gilmore@capitol.tn.gov, (615) 741-1997
Representative Curtis Halford, rep.curtis.halford@capitol.tn.gov , (615) 741-7478
Representative Andy Holt, rep.andy.holt@capitol.tn.gov , (615) 741-7847
Representative Judd Matheny, rep.judd.matheny@capitol.tn.gov , (615) 741-7448
Representative Billy Spivey, rep.billy.spivey@capitol.tn.gov , (615) 741-4170
Representative John Tidwell, rep.john.tidwell@capitol.tn.gov , (615) 741-7098
Representative Ron Travis, rep.ron.travis@capitol.tn.gov , (615) 741-1450

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