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Please share this information with animal owners in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The Knoxville City Council is scheduled to hold a second vote to enact overreaching changes to the city animal ordinance, which includes provisions that would criminalize the actions of many responsible dog owners.

Concerned dog owners are urged to immediately contact city council members and ask them to VOTE NO until certain problematic provisions in the proposed ordinance are amended. Scroll down for contact information.

Please note that five of the nine city council members are sponsoring this ordinance, which was approved 8-1 in a previous vote. Therefore, it is likely to be enacted unless there is immediate and strong opposition by City of Knoxville residents.

The city council meets Tuesday, January 24, 2022, at 6:00pm, 400 Main St, Suite 467, Knoxville, TN 37902. Public comments are usually accepted at the end of the meeting, which is after voting. To view the proposed ordinance click here, then click on the Agenda Packet for the January 24 City Council Regular Meeting. The proposed ordinance begins on Packet Page 14.

Among the many problematic provisions in the proposed ordinance:

  • Under certain weather conditions and forecasted weather conditions, an owner would be required to bring their animals inside a climate-controlled building used primarily for human habitation.
  • It would be a cruelty violation to fail to provide “adequate space for exercise,” which would mean “the opportunity for the animal to move sufficiently to maintain normal muscle tone and mass for the age, species, size, and condition of the animal with space for a dog being a minimum of two hundred (200) square feet.” It is unclear how a dog owner living in an apartment or residence that does not allow for construction of an exercise area would comply.
  • Animal businesses, any person who breeds a litter, and anyone who sells a dog would be required to be licensed, zoned, and inspected as “pet retail establishments” and comply with onerous and overreaching regulations. Further, an individual who wishes to keep more than four cats and/or dog would be subject to these provisions, even if they do not engage in commerce or sales with their pets.
  • The unelected city animal control board’s authority would be expanded to “issue permits at their discretion to any person operating an animal exhibit or display or to any pet retail establishment and further, to establish minimum standards of operation and care for such animals maintained, exhibited, sold or displayed.” This potentially affects both “pet retail establishment” licensees and clubs/groups conducting animal events in the city.
  • Current law reasonably requires the provision of “veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve distress from injury, neglect or disease.” The proposed ordinance would instead require “immediate veterinary care must be administered to relieve distress from injury, neglect or disease.” The proposed ordinance does not define “distress.”
  • Animals are subject to confiscation for any violation of care provisions.

City Council Contact Information:

Tommy Smith – 1st District
2240 Hillsboro Heights
Knoxville, TN 37920
Phone: 865-567-6211

Vice Mayor
Andrew Roberto – 2nd District
1005 Hayslope Dr.
Knoxville, TN  37919

Seema Singh – 3rd District
1012 West Park Drive
Knoxville, TN  37909

Lauren Rider – 4th District
229 E. Scott Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917

Charles Thomas – 5th District 
386 Hiawassee Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917

Gwen McKenzie – 6th District
411 Carta Rd.
Knoxville, TN  37914

Lynne Fugate – At Large Seat A
PO Box 11245
Knoxville, TN  37939

Janet Testerman – At Large Seat B
5923 Kingston Pike, Suite 180
Knoxville, TN 37919

Amelia Parker – At Large Seat C
P.O. Box 6132
Knoxville, TN 37914

Residents may also wish to contact Mayor Indya Kincannon at 865-215-2040 or

For more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at or 919-816-3720.