Scary stuff out of Tennessee. Senator Tommy Kilby is planning on introducing legislation that would make it a misdemeanor to "own, keep, or exercise control" over a pit bull in the entire state.
If you live in Tenn, please contact your legislator
Senators: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/ - scroll down to bottm to find your legislator
House Representatives: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/ - scroll down to bottom to find your leg
NASHVILLE -- Six months after a new state law opened the door for speedier civil suits against owners of vicious dogs that injure others, a state senator has filed a bill to outlaw pit bulls in Tennessee.
Sen. Tommy Kilby, D-Wartburg, said Friday he won't push his bill for an outright ban on the breed but hopes to use it as a vehicle for compromise legislation to increase penalties on the owners of dogs that cause serious bodily injury.
Kilby's bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor under Tennessee's criminal code to "own, keep, harbor or exercise control" over a pit bull in the state. Such a misdemeanor conviction would be subject to a fine of up to $2,500 and a potential jail term of up to a year.
In addition, the owner would have to surrender custody of the dog to a humane society.
The latest state death from a pit bull attack was Nov. 12 in Knoxville when Jennifer Lowe, 21, was mauled at a West Knox County residence by two dogs that had been declared dangerous last August after attacking another dog.
Kilby said he knows that breed-specific dog bans have been ruled unconstitutional.
"I hope to use it as a vehicle for a law that will make penalties against the owners more substantial. My intent it to pass a law that makes owners responsible for their dogs' actions. With ownership of pets, there are responsibilities," he said.
There is no House co-sponsor for the bill, but Kilby said he expects one soon.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to review a separate bill by Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, that would create the "Tennessee Animal Abuser Registration, Tracking and Verification Act" -- a state registry of people convicted of animal abuse.
Last year, Tennessee lawmakers strengthened criminal penalties against owners whose dogs cause harm to others and abolished the state's long-held "First Bite" doctrine that essentially allowed owners to escape civil liability the first time their dogs injured someone.
The new law, also sponsored by Jackson, went into effect July1. It provides that "the owner of a dog has a duty to keep it under reasonable control at all times and to keep it from running at large. A person who breaches that duty is subject to civil liability for any damages suffered by a person who is injured by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in or on the private property of another, regardless of whether the dog has shown any dangerous propensities or whether the dog's owner knew or should have known of the dog's dangerous propensities."
Kilby said he doesn't believe those laws go far enough. "I respect the AKC (American Kennel Club) people and pet organizations and their opinions. The democratic process is that, hopefully, we can come to an agreement," he said.
In light of the recent proposal of a bill in the Tennessee Senate that would make pit bull ownership a Class A Misdemeanor and recently proposed pit bull bans, the incredible Karen Delise did some research and come up with this great information:
I was going over the fatal attacks in Tennessee last night, and came up with some very interesting facts.
If Pit bulls are uniquely dangerous and have the ability to inflict injuries unlike other dogs (See MTSA ordinance and outrageous descriptions of Pit bull abilities) - Then how does Tommy Kilby, Rockford and the MTSA ordinance explain the following facts about fatal attacks in Tennessee.
There have been 21 fatal attacks in Tennessee (over the past 43 years), by ten different breeds of dogs.
PIT BULLS ARE NOT THE BREED INVOLVED IN THE MOST FATAL ATTACKS in Tennesse.
-Another breed has been implicated in 5 fatal attacks in Tennessee
-Still another breed has been implicated in 4 fatal attacks in Tennessee
-Pit bulls and pit bull mixes have been implicated in 4 fatal attacks in Tennessee
-Another breed has been implicated in 3 fatal attacks in Tennessee.
-Four other 4 other breeds/types of dogs were involved in the remaining cases of fatal attacks in TN.
Also, for those in Rockford, please note:
There has only been one fatal dog attack in Rockford, Tennessee - and it was not by a Pit bull, pit bull type dog or any type of "bully" breed.
I have purposely not mentioned the other breeds, because the breeds have changed over the last 43 years and are a simply a reflection of their popularity among substandard and abusive/negligent owners.
All this information can be referenced and is documented. Please use as needed.
Best of luck,