Search Menu

Two bills that seek to criminalize safely tethering a dog are on the agenda of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee tomorrow, March 16. One of the bills could actually increase the risk of harm to a dog.

Dog owners are urged to immediately call and email subcommittee members and respectfully ask them to vote NO on House Bill 2860 and House Bill 2034. The subcommittee meets at 9:00am tomorrow. Emails and voice mail messages of opposition can be left overnight. Please scroll down for contact information.

Concerns with House Bill 2860: HB 2860 seeks to make it an offense for a person to restrain a dog with a chain, cord, tether, cable, or similar device when a severe flooding, tornado warning, or a mandatory or voluntary evacuation order is in effect for the geographic area where the dog is located. Unfortunately, HB 2860 could increase the risk of harm to a dog by prohibiting a person from “restraining” their dog to keep it safe and close by in conjunction with preparing to evacuate or during an evacuation with the dog.

It also would make it an offense to safely tether a dog during certain weather warnings, even if the forecasted conditions do not occur where the dog is located.

Concerns with House Bill 2034:  A problematic amendment was proposed to HB 2034 at a previous subcommittee meeting. The proposed amendment would remove practical exemptions in the bill that allow for safely tethering hunting and working dogs. As a result, the American Kennel Club (AKC) changed its position on HB 2034 from “neutral” to “oppose.”

The subcommittee provided the bill’s sponsor the opportunity to file a different amendment; however, as of 10:00 today, no additional proposed amendments were reported. Click here to read more about concerns with HB 2034 and its amendment.

Why these bills matter to responsible dog owners:

 It is already a crime under Tennessee state law to knowingly tie, tether, or restrain a dog in a manner that results in the dog suffering bodily injury.

Also, under existing law, upon a conviction for certain offenses, the dog must be forfeited to a humane society and a court may prohibit the person convicted from having custody of other animals for any period of time the court determines to be reasonable. These significant penalties could apply regardless of whether the dog suffered any harm—or even discomfort—from being tethered or restrained.

What you can do:

 Contact House Criminal Justice Subcommittee members and respectfully ask them to: “Vote NO on HB 2860 and HB 2034.”

House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Members:

Rep. Clay Doggett, Chair, (615)741-7476,
Rep. Cameron Sexton, (615)741-2343,
Rep. Bill Beck, (615)741-3229,
Rep. Michael Curcio, (615)253-0244,
Rep. Andrew Farmer, (615)741-4419,
Rep. Bruce Griffey, (615)741-6804,
Rep. G.A. Hardaway, (615)741-5625,
Rep. Dan Howell, (615)741-7799,
Rep. William Lamberth, (615)741-1980,
Rep. Debra Moody, (615)741-3774,
Rep. Lowell Russell, (615)741-3736,

View advocacy resources from AKC Government Relations:

The Question of Tethering
Recent Legislative & Informational Alerts
Recent Blogs & Articles
State & Federal Legislation Tracking Map
Key Issues
Toolbox (with downloadable materials)

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