House Bill 361 seeks to authorize any officer of a governmental animal control agency to enter any property or dwelling that the officer reasonably believes is abandoned to rescue any non-livestock animal contained therein. This would expand powers to enter certain private property and confiscate companion animals without first obtaining a warrant.
The bill is on the agenda of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee for Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Concerned animal owners are urged to immediately contact committee members to express opposition to HB 361 as currently worded. Concerns with HB 361 include:
- “Abandoned” property is not defined.
- “Rescue” is not defined.
- Existing Tennessee law 39-14-210, to which this bill would apply, already grants certain powers of arrest to “appointees” of the president of any “society incorporated for the prevention of cruelty to animals.” Problematically, this bill could further authorize such individuals to enter private property without warrant under vaguely-defined circumstances.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) abhors the neglectful treatment of a companion animals. We also believe that properly authorized, POST-certified law enforcement personnel should obtain a warrant prior to entering private property, particularly when the purpose may include confiscation of animals or other property, unless substantiated exigencies exist.
What you can do:
Contact subcommittee members to express your concerns with HB 361:
For questions or additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-816-3720.