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Tennessee Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Who has legal ownership of dog living in home with no electricity and owner been in jail since Jan 18?

I live in Sweetwater, TN and have become aware of a dog, Mia, living in a house in Sweetwater with no electricity. Mia's owner has been in jail since Jan. 18 and a family member is feeding her and taking her out to potty twice a day. Upon her owner going to jail, the police told the family member... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Feb 19, 2020

Based on the facts as you describe them, the owner who is in jail still owns the dog. The family member seems to be taking care of the dog on a volunteer basis. The family member may be able to argue the owner abandoned the dog, if that argument is successful then the family member would be the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: If someone told me my dog bite them because he was running loose in their yard, do they have to show proof my dog did it

My dog will not stay in the yard and I don't believe in chaining them up, only makes them more territorial and mean. I had a man come to my house and tell me that he was bitten by my dog because he was in his yard, does he need to show proof that it was my dog that bit him or will the court system... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Feb 10, 2020

If there is no other witness and the man claims he was bitten by your dog, then most likely anyone would believe that he was. Proof could be something as simple as a picture of the bite marks. If the man is willing to put on a sworn document or swear in court as to what happened, he is likely to be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Business Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is it illegal to run a dog kennel business out of a garage? Murfreesboro, TN

There is a home near to me and they have several dogs in crates in their garage. They also have about 6 puppies that they put in their front yard in a small cage. I have never seen anyone spend time with any of the dogs. They do open the garage door occasionally and when they do the dogs... Read more »

Mr. James Charles Wright
Mr. James Charles Wright answered on Feb 7, 2020

If you suspect this is animal cruelty or unlawful contact PAWS in Rutherford County at 615-898-7740. They should be able to respond.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: My neighbors keep their 16 week old puppy outside 24/7 with no shelter, what can I do to help this puppy?

I don't think he's been to a vet, they don't interact with the puppy at all and leave him out in all types of weather. They've only had him for maybe a month. What can I do? I want to rescue this poor puppy and bring him to live with me so he can be spoiled and play with my dogs instead of just... Read more »

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Dec 9, 2019

Contact animal control or the local sheriff's office on the non-emergency line.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: We can’t find my dog and are scared the neighbors took it. Is it illegal for someone to steal my dog?
Richard Winblad
Richard Winblad answered on Oct 29, 2019

Yes, it is actually illegal to steal anything.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is it lawful for a landlord/ property management company to refuse to rent to pet owners (i.e. pets)?

Why can they say "no pets"? Doesn't that discriminate against pet owners?

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 28, 2019

"Pet owners" is not a protected class like race, sex, or origin, subject to exceptions for proper service animals.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: My ex and I split, I moved out took my belongings and dog. The dog is microchipped in my name, my registered ESA dog.

from a licensed therapist as part of my treatment plan. I have the bill of sales for the dog from the dog breeder to me, I have all of his shots in my name and he is on my lease where I have a home in Wi where he was born. She lied and told the cops I “stole $790 in dog toys & her dog” I have... Read more »

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 28, 2019

Hire a criminal defense attorney asap. You may have civil claims for malicious prosecution and other claims. You would be wise do also consult counsel in TN to discuss your options further.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is it illegal for the person I'm living with momentarily to give away my dog while I'm at work?
Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 28, 2019

I'm not sure what you mean by "momentarily?" Did you get the dog back? It's hard to say whether a crime has been committed without significantly more facts.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Tennessee on
Q: My 20/25lb dog was recently attacked by a 83lb Border Collie, I had my dog leashed but the Collie was not leashed.

Border Collie was not up to date on vaccines. I was thrown backwards & being snatched around like a rag doll & I'm having severe spasms in my neck and Spine. What are my rights?

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Jul 1, 2019

If you were attacked by the dog, the owner may be liable for your injuries. There are more facts that would need to be determined in this instance. Dogs generally are not seen as inherently dangerous animals. Thus, many jurisdictions follow the one free bite rule. Do you know who owned the border... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Where can I report someone illegally killing a snake in Tennessee to (specifically Shelby County)?
Gary Kollin
Gary Kollin answered on Jun 15, 2019

Call the police. If not handled, I am sure they will direct you

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I take legal action to have a dog owner repay me for buying shampoo and flea repellents after they didn't inform me?
Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Jun 13, 2019

Your question lacks a lot of specific information. But a lawsuit is likely going to cost you a whole lot more than shampoo and flea repellents. For example, the filing fee alone in the general sessions court is approx. $150. Then the cost of hiring counsel, if you wanted, and taking however many... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: My mom is trying to keep my dog after watching her a couple weeks and now won’t give her back, is it legal?

She got my pup spayed and the rest of her shots while I was gone, but now she won’t give her up and says I can’t take care of her. She’s trying to put her up for adoption. Is this legal? Can I get my dog back?

Richard Winblad
Richard Winblad answered on May 17, 2019

Probably, check into small claims in your state.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: I put a down payment on a puppy in Monterey Tennessee. The puppy has parvo and breeder won’t return the down payment.

Breeder won’t refund money on sick puppy. I haven’t signed any contracts. She still has the puppy. Can I get my $500 back?

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Apr 17, 2019

You still potentially have a breach of contract action. You could choose to file a small claim in the general sessions court for the return of your $500.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Does a 30 suspended jail sentence stay in your permanent record?
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq. answered on Apr 15, 2019

You can't make a determination simply on those facts. If it is pre-trial diversion, because the individual didn't have a prior record, then they probably have the capability to apply to have it expunged at the end which would take it off the record. If it was not a pre-trial diversion situation,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can a dog catcher have me arrested if my dog bit someone in my yard and I don't want to give him my id for a cition?

A officer of city dog pound came to my home because a lady was running in my yard while my dog was on a leash and my dog bit her she said but there was 3 other dogs at large and she said it was my dog, she said she got scared and ran across the street,the officer came to my home about 1 HR or 2... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Apr 10, 2019

The Officer could have taken you to Jail to start with. The Citation is given as a Summons to Court. But if you refuse the Citation, you can be arrested instead. It would have been better to take up your Case in Court, but now you may have several more Animal Charges brought against you. Be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Civil Litigation and Domestic Violence for Tennessee on
Q: My ex gave me our dog when we split. Now she is claiming she will have a warrant issued for theft if I don’t return him.

It was an incredibly toxic relationship and so many domestic situations happened. When we finally split she told me multiple times I had to take the dog or he would go to a shelter. So I took him. Now, because we aren’t getting back together, she is using him against me. He is in her name, she... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Dec 21, 2018

It is very possible, and you might even get convicted. There is no Title to a Dog, but it is probably not worth the trouble and risk to prove ownership in Court. Bond, Attorneys, Court Costs and Restitution could be very expensive. Many Judges and DA's will feel very sorry for her.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Tennessee on
Q: Do I have a defense against a dog at large charge?

My dog ran out in the road and caused a bicyclist to wreck. The dog wasn't aggressive, just curious and immediately ran away when the wreck occurred. Do I have any legal defense against this?

Stephen Arnold Black
Stephen Arnold Black answered on Dec 2, 2018

Call your homeowners insurance company and request that they defend you against any legal action taken against you. Ask them if the policy covers you for losses like this one. Good luck.

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: What can I do? I don't have much money! I have all email/text correspondence with Sky Cargo Ways.

I purchased a puppy that was coming from Virgina. The seller was sending the puppy through a company named Sky Cargo Ways. The first time this company required money from me for the puppy's transport was for a ventilated carrier to safely transport the puppy. They wanted $650 for this with the... Read more »

Adam Savett
Adam Savett answered on Jul 30, 2018

I’m sorry to say, but it looks like the company is a scam.

A number of websites describe the scam. Here are two examples:

https://scamwarners.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=36&p=357721

https://petscams.com/pet-delivery-scam/skycargologistics-us/amp/

If you paid by...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Where can I find the local ordinances or Tennessee laws regarding pet day care centers?

I am considering applying for a management position at a Collierville dog day care center, and would like to know what the applicable laws/local ordinances are regarding the operation of such a center.

Thank you.

Mr. James Charles Wright
Mr. James Charles Wright answered on Mar 21, 2018

Check with the City of Colliersville Codes department. The City Code is online but may not be the most current.

http://www.amlegal.com/codes/client/collierville_tn/

Also, you should check with Shelby County- although the issues here would really relate to zoning- in other words is...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Civil Litigation and Criminal Law for Tennessee on
Q: I had a person threatened me for trespass for walking my dog on a public sidewalk. What are my rights?

I was walking my dog on a leash with baggie in my pocket just in case. This lady comes out on her mobile chair demanding I keep my dog off her property. I am on the sidewalk. I tell her I don't and show her the container with the baggie in it She then threatened me saying she will have me arrested... Read more »

Don Himmelberg
Don Himmelberg answered on Mar 20, 2018

If you were truly on a public sidewalk (and, say, not on her driveway), then you are not criminally trespassing. As an aside, thank you for cleaning up after your dog!

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