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Tennessee Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Rescue dog kills neighbors fighting chickens our dog is now dead. They want to be reimbursed

Rescued a dog from person on Facebook, stated the owner of the dog never came back for him. Seemed very sweet kind dog we own 4 cats + 2 other dogs everyone got along. In the middle of the night dogs got out went to the neighbor's house killed and maimed chickens and now they want an... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Sep 3, 2020

I am not sure I understand the situation. Did your dog die from injuries from the chickens? Fighting chickens (I'm assuming you mean roosters - I've never heard of fighting chickens) are illegal, as far as I am aware, so I am not sure they would count as livestock, let alone be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Am I liable for a neighbors cat being attacked in my yard?

My mother and my dog were just sitting relaxing on the back deck when a cat walked up the stairs of my deck. The cat tryed to get some food like it always does and the dog whent up to it casually to sniff it and the cat scratched the dog on its nose. Thats when the dog chased the cat into the... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 23, 2020

I think I already answered this question here, or on another forum, but either way, without knowing what her evidence is, it's impossible to say whether you'll be liable or not. In a criminal court, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your dog caused the cat's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: My neighbor is saying I'm responsible for a $1200 vet bill because her cat was bit by my dog. The cat was on my propert

My mother and my dog were just sitting relaxing on the back deck when a cat walked up the stairs of my deck. The cat tryed to get some food like it always does and the dog whent up to it casually to sniff it and the cat scratched the dog on its nose. Thats when the dog chased the cat into the... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 23, 2020

If this is a criminal case, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your dog caused the cat‘a injuries in order for you to be liable. If this is a civil case, the other party has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (think: 51%) that your dog caused the cats injuries.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I legally own a dog if someone else’s name is on a vet record?

Around the end of May, my boyfriend’s sister brought a dog to live with us. We said the dog could stay for 2-3 days, but she told us it would be until she moves out without even asking us. She has only paid for 1 vet visit (that I paid part of) and the very beginning essentials. Since then, she... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 20, 2020

Vet records usually are not considered ownership documents in and of themselves. Purchase or adoption paperwork are #1; microchip or registration records are usually #2; then vet records at looked at. So, it's hard to answer your question. That said, since you know she is the original owner,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Civil Litigation and Contracts for Tennessee on
Q: What are the laws when a breeder sells you a dog and the dog dies due to a illness the breeder knew about?

The breeder knew about the illness but didn’t tell us about the illness.

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 18, 2020

It usually depends on the language in the purchase contract, but if the contract doesn’t cover this sort of illness or you can prove the breeder knew about the illness, you Can sue for your financial losses and vet bills.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Am I at fault for my dog killing my neighbors cat that came onto my property and was chased into the woods?

Shes said that he came onto her property which is a lie.. he was on our back pouch and the cat came to my back yard and was chased.. she's threatening to call the cops and sue and gave me a $1200 vet bill.

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 7, 2020

I don’t know what you mean by “it was chased,” but it’s up to animal control if they will press charges. She could sue you civilly but she would be limited to the value of the cat or the vet bills, if the cat survived.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: What's the law in Tennessee for someone who doesn't return a found pet to its owner?
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 5, 2020

You either can call the police to get your dog back, or, if they won’t help, you’ll have to sue this person to get your dog back.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: My ex boyfriend bought me a dog so when I left I took him with me . Now hes saying he’s goin to call the cops on me

What should I do ?

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Jun 22, 2020

I have actually seen this come up a few times with clients and potential clients. If he calls the cops, they are most likely not going to arrest you here. They will probably tell him the custody of the dog is in dispute so he should hire an attorney as this is a civil matter. Based on the facts as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Adoption and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: Animal rescue is rescinding an adoption contract

An animal rescue is trying to rescind an adoption and obtain a warrant to take back my puppy stating I am hoarding animals due to a dog fight on my property (5 cats & 5 dogs). I got rid of the vicious dog (foster - 6th dog) and the puppy was nowhere near the fight; kept apart from all others on... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on May 4, 2020

I recommend you consult with an attorney. In general, anyone that has a contract in Tennessee could sue the other party for breach of contract allegations. Whether there was in fact a breach is a question of fact that would be determined by the Jury (if a jury trial) if the case proceeds to trial.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: She has 25 dogs, with no vaccines some are in big fences some aren’t What can I do without getting the family in trouble

They are fed and giving water daily but they don’t play with them. And the ones in the house aren’t potty trained and they have about 10 cats.

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Apr 23, 2020

Your question is not clear. If you are concerned about the animals call animal control.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: What will happen now that i didnt show up for court over no rabies shots for 3 of my dogs?

I live in greeneville tn and i recieved a ticket from Animal control because i didnt have rabies shots for 3 of my dogs. I went to the first court date and he gave me 2 months to get the shots but i forgot about the next court date so what will happen now?

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Apr 8, 2020

Get the Shot Records and call the General Sessions or City Court Clerk (wherever the Citations are). Ask when the next Docket is for those type of Code Violations. It will be later because of the virus. Then go to Court in a respectful manner, and when the Judge asks if there are any other... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee on
Q: is it against the law for my dog to bark in fenced in yard in cleveland tn

i called the law because the naighbor threatened to kill my dog for barking the law told me that they could fine me but she is in my yard with me now im afarid to let her out is this true and how can someone thretin to cause harm to my pet and me be to blamn

Shanone Emmack
Shanone Emmack answered on Mar 23, 2020

It looks like Cleveland, Tennessee does have a noise ordinance that includes pet barking. According to the ordinance It is a violation if it is "frequent or long continued noise that disturbs the comfort or repose of any person in the vicinity". Therefore, you could be fined by a police... Read more »

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... 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... 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... 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... 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.

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