TENNESSEE: Help ensure pet protection bills get a fair shot in the General Assembly

Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection  is asking for the help of Tennessee residents in ensuring animal welfare and pet protection related legislation has a fair chance at passage in our General Assembly.

Pet lovers were hoping 2014 would be the year to create new laws to strengthen pet protection in the state of Tennessee. But by the first of April, every single newly proposed pet law was all but dead in the legislature.

One of those bills would have increased the penalties for spectators at animal fights. While Tennessee voters realize its only common sense to prosecute spectators because they drive the demand for these inhumane events, members of the House Agriculture Committee failed to see the obvious.

Another proposal would have placed those convicted of animal cruelty on a registry for two years.  One member of the House Agriculture Committee argued that bill would endanger bird dog trainers, effectively killing any support in the Ag Committee.

Ask any animal welfare advocate that works with Tennessee legislators, and they will tell you the House Agriculture Committee has been historically indifferent to the welfare of Tennessee’s animals and the concerns of their owners and caretakers.

The House Ag Committee consistently bows to lobbyists and, in doing so, dismisses the constituents who put them in office in the first place.  Legislators are the voice of the people – not of the corporation or organization with the biggest purse strings.

After the demise of all four animal welfare related bills in the 2014 legislative session, pet-protection supporter State Representative Jon Lundberg said the Ag Committee is “like a black hole of death….[t]hese folks band together and see if they can move this legislation over here, where they can get their hands on it and kill it.”

Representative Lundberg also said in the same interview that the Ag Committee is not  representing Tennesseans.  He, as well as a host of others including Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection, believe pet-protection laws should go to a judicial committee, not the AG committees because they don’t involve livestock or farm issues.

We couldn’t agree more.

In that vein, Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection has started a petition asking Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey to give Tennessee’s animals a fair chance by having these bills heard in the appropriate committees.

The people of Tennessee deserve to have fair and balanced hearings on legislation that is important to them and their families.

TENNESSEE RESIDENTS: please sign Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection’s petition and pass it along to your friends and neighbors.

It’s long past time for a change in the way pet protection and animal welfare legislation is handled in Tennessee, and YOU can be the catalyst for that change.

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