Series of pet protection bills die in TN legislature - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Series of pet protection bills die in TN legislature

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Pet lovers were hoping this would be the year to create new laws to strengthen pet protection in the state of Tennessee. But by the end of Tuesday, every single newly proposed pet law was all but dead in the legislature.

Animal rights advocates say it's the work of two powerful committees.

One proposal would have placed animal cruelty convicts on a registry for two years. One member of the House agriculture committee said it would endanger bird dog trainers, and the bill died.

Another proposal would have continued inspections at puppy mills. And a third would have required Tennesseans who tie up their dogs outside to give them at least 10 feet. Those bills aren't moving forward.

A fourth bill, which would increase fines for cockfighting and dog fighting from $50 to $500, had a same result as the House agriculture committee.

"There have been four different bills introduced, and all four of them have died at the hands of the House agriculture committee," said Leighann Lassiter, with the Humane Society of the United States.

In unusual strong language, pet-protection supporter State Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, said the Ag committee is not representing Tennesseans.

"It's like a black hole of death," Lundberg said. "These folks, frankly, band together and see if we can move this legislation over here, where we can get our hands on it and kill it."

State Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, a member of the agriculture committee said the state already has laws to address these issues, and he believes Tennessee doesn't need an animal abuser registry.

What Lundberg and others would like to see is for pet-protection laws to go to a judicial committee and not agriculture committees since these are not livestock or farm issues.

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