Citing massive backlash to the legislation the sponsor of this bill has officially withdrawn the legislation.
_____________________3/15/13 post below_____________________
This update comes via Pit Bull Awareness of Tennessee:
“It seems like there is A LOT of misinformation going on around the proposed amendments to HB621 and SB865. There have been several releases of documents on various different sites which have conflicted information in them. Several sites have the proposed amendment showing no mention of pit bulls and several other sites show where it clearly states that pit bulls should be considered vicious… with that said, until the proposed amendment is entered by Rep Gilmore and is on the states site directly, we are in a wait and see situation until something concrete comes from the state itself.”
Read more here.
There are two different versions of this bill circulating. Frankly both versions are concerning because of the language employed. In the one version available on the states website there is a section that reads “Any dog which because of its physical nature and vicious propensity is capable of causing serious bodily injury, as defined in this section, or death to humans or other animals and would constitute a danger to human life or property;” Full text of the bill to be found here.
This language is so vague as to be applicable to virtually any dog. One thing that dangerous dog laws need for enforcement is specificity, which this language does not have. There is no definition as to what a “vicious propensity” constitutes. This leaves any dog open to having people taken to court to fight a dangerous dog declaration because of the municipalities perceived idea of what the breed of dog may be or a perceived idea of what constitutes a vicious propensity.
The previously posted amendment says that a vicious dog will include dogs which “belongs to the breed that is commonly know as a pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping or harboring of a vicious dog.”
We discussed the issues with this language here.
The status of this amendment as of right now is that it has been proposed as a change to the two bills that have been introduced to address vicious dogs in Tennessee. They must first go through several legislative steps in order to be passed.
We feel that from a public safety stand point not only should the proposed amendments be opposed, but also the language highlighted in the bills that is in the version on the states website should also be opposed.
HB 621 has been placed on the calendar for the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee for March 20th. SB 865 has yet to be set for a date.
Tennessee residents: Please reach out to express your concern about both the proposed amendment to these bills and the vagueness of the language of the bills as they stand now. Just because a specific breed is not mentioned in the current versions, does not mean these bills would not impact owners in a breed specific way.
Contact information for the Agricultural and Natural Resource Subcommittee can be found here. You can find you respective legislators here.