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TN: Bill banning felons from owning vicious dogs approved

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Staff Member

    Tennessee bill banning felons from owning vicious dogs approved

    * By Phil West
    * Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:45 a.m. , updated April 29, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.

    NASHVILLE – State senators sent the House legislation today that would ban violent felons from owning potentially vicious dogs for 10 years after completing their prison sentences and probation.

    The measure, co-sponsored by state Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis, is meant to curb gang and drug-related violence.

    "This bill will help police cripple gangs that not only use vicious dogs to commit crimes, but also own these animals as part of a violent culture that promotes drug activity and animal abuse," Tate said in a statement.

    "Law enforcement and community leaders will soon have another tool in our continued fight against crime in Memphis and Shelby County."

    The legislation, which passed on a 31-0 vote, criminalizes the possession of a potentially vicious dog – one that bites unprovoked or has a history of menacing behavior off its owner’s property – by a convicted violent felon for 10 years after being released from prison and completion of probation.

    Those owners could keep such dogs only if the animals have implanted microchips and are spayed or neutered.

    “It is a minor but very important way to strengthen our crooks-with-guns bill,” said the measure’s prime sponsor, Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville.

    Law enforcement officials have said 80 percent of dog bites on police officers come from unneutered animals, according to information provided by Tate's office. Such animals pose a health risk for officers and can help buy time for criminals to escape law enforcement.

    The legislation is part of a five-year effort, known as Operation: Safe Community, to lower crime rates in Memphis and Shelby County.

    The same measure passed the House 85-3 on April 19, but because the Senate amended the bill, it must pass the House again before going to Gov. Phil Bredesen for his signature.

    "Memphis lawmakers like myself have a responsibility to pass legislation that helps make Memphis and Shelby County safer," Tate said.

    "This is a creative way to fight crime and gang violence in Memphis and throughout Tennessee, and I'm proud to have cosponsored it."

    Tennessee bill banning felons from owning vicious dogs approved The Commercial Appeal

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