A problematic amendment to Tennessee House Bill 852 failed in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and the bill was taken off notice, likely ending its consideration for the remainder of the legislative session. Thank you to dog owners who shared information about this issue and animal owners across the state who contacted subcommittee members and legislators to express their concerns.
RECAP: Various overreaching amendments were proposed to HB 852 after it was introduced in 2019. The most recent amendment included provisions that would have authorized non-governmental “societies” to seize animals; required that seized animals be placed in the custody of a specified list of entities that excluded veterinarians, co-owners, and boarding facilities; further enabled the awarding of seized property, fines and fees to non-governmental organizations; required that any second or subsequent conviction for simple animal cruelty would be a felony; and numerous other egregious provisions. View AKC’s most recent alert.
The American Kennel Club supports full enforcement of reasonable animal cruelty laws, including felony charges when appropriate. However, AKC expressed concern that the felony animal cruelty provisions in the amendment would not adequately distinguish between a correctible issue—such as a spilled water container that does not result in harm to an animal—and heinous acts of animal torture. AKC also opposes granting police powers and powers of confiscation of property to any group or organization that operates without governmental administrative oversight.
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