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Tennessee

Consolidated Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: T. C. A. 39-14-208, 212, 216; 44-17-403, 404; 55-8-180; 62-7-112; 66-7-104, 106

Citation: TN ST 39-14-208, 212, 216; 44-17-403, 404; 55-8-180; 62-7-112; 66-7-104, 106


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 11/2013

Summary:  

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.



Statute in Full:

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 39. Criminal Offenses. Chapter 14. Offenses Against Property. Part 2. Animals.

§ 39-14-208. Injury to and value of guide dogs

§ 39-14-212. Aggravated cruelty to animals; definitions; penalties

§ 39-14-216. Service animals; offenses; restitution

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 44. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 17. Dogs and Cats. Part 4. Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 44-17-403. Liability for death of pet; damages; exemptions

§ 44-17-404. Death of or injury to guide dogs

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 55. Motor and Other Vehicles. Chapter 8. Operation of Vehicles--Rules of the Road. Part 1. Operation of Vehicles--Rules of the Road

§ 55-8-180. Blind persons

Title 62. Professions, Businesses and Trades. Chapter 7. Hotels and Places of Public Accommodation.

§ 62-7-112. Guide dogs; admission

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 66. Property. Chapter 7. Leases.

§ 66-7-104. Physically disabled persons; housing access

§ 66-7-106. Blind persons

 

 

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 39. Criminal Offenses. Chapter 14. Offenses Against Property. Part 2. Animals.

Title 39. Criminal Offenses. Chapter 14. Offenses Against Property. Part 2. Animals.

§ 39-14-208. Injury to and value of guide dogs

A person who intentionally or knowingly unlawfully injures the guide dog of another and, thereby, permanently deprives the owner of the use of the guide dog's services commits theft of that animal and shall be punished under § 39-14-105. In determining the value of the guide dog for purposes of § 39-14-105, the court shall consider the value of the guide dog as both the cost of the dog as well as the cost of any specialized training the guide dog received.

CREDIT(S)

2004 Pub.Acts, c. 957, § 2, eff. June 15, 2004.

 

§ 39-14-212. Aggravated cruelty to animals; definitions; penalties

(a) A person commits aggravated cruelty to animals when, with aggravated cruelty and with no justifiable purpose, the person intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Aggravated cruelty” means conduct which is done or carried out in a depraved and sadistic manner and which tortures or maims an animal, including the failure to provide food and water to a companion animal resulting in a substantial risk of death or death;

(2) “Companion animal” means any non-livestock animal as defined in § 39-14-201(3);

(3) “Elderly” means any person sixty-five (65) years of age or older; and

(4) “Minor” means any person under eighteen (18) years of age.

(c) The provisions of subsection (a) are not to be construed to prohibit or interfere with the following endeavors:

(1) The provisions of this section are not to be construed to change, modify, or amend any provision of title 70, involving fish and wildlife;

(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to activities or conduct that are prohibited by § 39-14-203;

(3) The provisions of this section do not apply to equine animals or to animals defined as livestock by the provisions of § 39-14-201;

(4) Dispatching an animal in any manner absent of aggravated cruelty;

(5) Engaging in lawful hunting, trapping, or fishing activities, including activities commonly associated with the hunting of small game as defined in § 70-1-101(a)(34);

(6) Dispatching rabid or diseased animals;

(7) Dispatching animals posing a clear and immediate threat to human safety;

(8) Performing or conducting bona fide scientific tests, experiments or investigations within or for a bona fide research laboratory, facility or institution;

(9) Performing accepted veterinary medical practices or treatments;

(10) Dispatching animals in accordance with § 44-17-403(e);

(11) Engaging, with the consent of the owner of a farm animal, in usual and customary practices which are accepted by colleges of agriculture or veterinary medicine with respect to that animal;

(12) Dispatching wild or abandoned animals on a farm or residential real property; or

(13) Applying methods and equipment used to train animals.

(d) Aggravated cruelty to animals is a Class E felony.

(e) In addition to the penalty imposed by subsection (d), the sentencing court may order the defendant to surrender custody and forfeit all companion animals as defined in subdivision (b)(2), and may award custody of the animals to the agency presenting the case. The court may prohibit the defendant from having custody of other animals for any period of time the court determines to be reasonable, or impose any other reasonable restrictions on the person's custody of animals as is necessary for the protection of the animals.

(f) In addition to the penalty imposed by subsection (d), the court may require the defendant to undergo psychological evaluation and counseling, the cost to be borne by the defendant. If the defendant is indigent, the court may, where practicable, direct the defendant to locate and enroll in a counseling or treatment program with an appropriate agency.

(g) If a defendant convicted of a violation of this section resides in a household with minor children or elderly individuals, the court may, within fifteen (15) days, send notification of the conviction to the appropriate protective agencies.

(h) In addition to the penalty imposed by subsection (d), the defendant may be held liable to the impounding officer or agency for all costs of impoundment from the time of seizure to the time of proper disposition of the case.

(i)(1) In addition to the penalty imposed by subsection (d), the defendant may be held liable to the owner of the animal for damages.

(2) If an unlawful act resulted in the death or permanent disability of a person's guide dog, then the value of the guide dog shall include, but shall not necessarily be limited to, both the cost of the guide dog as well as the cost of any specialized training the guide dog received.

(j) If a juvenile is found to be within the court's jurisdiction, for conduct that, if committed by an adult, would be a criminal violation involving cruelty to animals or would be a criminal violation involving arson, then the court may order that the juvenile be evaluated to determine the need for psychiatric or psychological treatment. If the court determines that psychiatric or psychological treatment is appropriate for that juvenile, then the court may order that treatment.

(k) This section does not preclude the court from entering any other order of disposition allowed under this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

2002 Pub.Acts, c. 858, §§ 1, 2; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 920, § 1, eff. July 1, 2004; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 940, § 5, eff. June 15, 2004; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 957, § 4, eff. June 15, 2004.

 

§ 39-14-216. Service animals; offenses; restitution

(a)(1) As used in this section, “service animal” means:

(A) Any animal that is individually trained, or being trained by an employee or puppy raiser from a recognized training agency or school to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability; and

(B) Any police dog, fire dog, search and rescue dog, or police horse.

(2) Other species of animals not specified in this subsection, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.

(3) For purposes of a service animal as defined under subdivision (a)(1)(A), the work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of the animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of subdivision (a)(1)(A).

(b) It is an offense to knowingly:

(1) Maim or otherwise inflict harm upon a service animal;

(2) Attempt to maim or otherwise inflict harm upon a service animal; or

(3) Permit an animal that the person owns or is in the immediate control of to maim or otherwise inflict harm upon a service animal.

(c) It is an offense to recklessly maim or otherwise inflict harm upon a service animal or permit an animal that the person owns or is in the immediate control of to maim or otherwise inflict harm upon a service animal.

(d) It is an offense to knowingly interfere with a service animal in the performance of its duties, or permit an animal that the person owns or is in control of to interfere with a service animal in the performance of its duties.

(e)(1) A violation of subsection (b) or (c) is a Class A misdemeanor.

(2) A violation of subsection (d) is a Class C misdemeanor.

(f)(1) In addition to any other penalty provided by this section, a person convicted of a violation of subsection (b), (c) or (d) shall be ordered by the court to make full restitution for all damages that arise out of or are related to the offense, including incidental and consequential damages incurred by the service animal's handler or the recognized training agency or school.

(2) Restitution, for purposes of this section, includes:

(A) The value of the service animal if the animal is disabled or can no longer perform service animal duties;

(B) Replacement and training or retraining expenses of the service animal or handler if necessary to restore the animal to service animal capabilities;

(C) Veterinary and other medical and boarding expenses for the service animal;

(D) Medical expenses for the handler; and

(E) Lost wages or income incurred by the handler during any period that the handler is without the services of the service animal.

(g) If the violation of this section involves a guide dog and the offense results in injury to the dog that permanently deprives the owner of the use of the guide dog's services, nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution and conviction for such conduct under § 39-14-208.

CREDIT(S)

2012 Pub.Acts, c. 910, § 1, eff. July 1, 2012.

 

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 44. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 17. Dogs and Cats. Part 4. Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 44-17-403. Liability for death of pet; damages; exemptions

(a)(1) If a person's pet is killed or sustains injuries that result in death caused by the unlawful and intentional, or negligent, act of another or the animal of another, the trier of fact may find the individual causing the death or the owner of the animal causing the death liable for up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) in noneconomic damages; provided, that if the death is caused by the negligent act of another, the death or fatal injury must occur on the property of the deceased pet's owner or caretaker, or while under the control and supervision of the deceased pet's owner or caretaker.

(2) If an unlawful act resulted in the death or permanent disability of a person's guide dog, then the value of the guide dog shall include, but shall not necessarily be limited to, both the cost of the guide dog as well as the cost of any specialized training the guide dog received.

(b) As used in this section, “pet” means any domesticated dog or cat normally maintained in or near the household of its owner.

(c) Limits for noneconomic damages set out in subsection (a) shall not apply to causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress or any other civil action other than the direct and sole loss of a pet.

(d) Noneconomic damages awarded pursuant to this section shall be limited to compensation for the loss of the reasonably expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet.

(e) This section shall not apply to any not-for-profit entity or governmental agency, or its employees, negligently causing the death of a pet while acting on the behalf of public health or animal welfare; to any killing of a dog that has been or was killing or worrying livestock as in § 44-17-203; nor shall this section be construed to authorize any award of noneconomic damages in an action for professional negligence against a licensed veterinarian.

CREDIT(S)

2000 Pub.Acts, c. 762, § 1; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 940, § 4, eff. June 15, 2004; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 957, §§ 5 to 7, eff. June 15, 2004.

 

§ 44-17-404. Death of or injury to guide dogs

If a person's guide dog is killed or sustains injuries that result in death or permanent disability caused by the unlawful and intentional, or negligent, act of another or the animal of another, then the trier of fact may find the individual causing the death or the owner of the animal causing the death liable for economic damages, which shall include, but shall not necessarily be limited to, both the cost of the guide dog as well as the cost of any specialized training the guide dog received.

CREDIT(S)

2004 Pub.Acts, c. 957, § 3, eff. June 15, 2004.

 

West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 55. Motor and Other Vehicles. Chapter 8. Operation of Vehicles--Rules of the Road. Part 1. Operation of Vehicles--Rules of the Road

§ 55-8-180. Blind persons

(a) Whenever any pedestrian guided by a guide dog or dog on a blaze orange leash, or carrying in any raised or extended position a cane or similar stick white in color or white tipped with red, shall undertake to cross any public street or thoroughfare in this state, the driver of each and every vehicle approaching that pedestrian carrying the cane or stick or conducted by such dog shall bring such vehicle to a complete stop and before proceeding shall take all precautions necessary to avoid injuring the pedestrian; provided, that nothing in this section shall be construed as making any person totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated guilty of contributory negligence in undertaking to cross any street or thoroughfare without being guided by a trained dog or carrying a cane or stick of the type specified in subsection (a).

(b) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

CREDIT(S)

1951 Pub.Acts, c. 72, § 2; 1980 Pub.Acts, c. 488, § 2; 1989 Pub.Acts, c. 591, § 113.

 

Title 62. Professions, Businesses and Trades. Chapter 7. Hotels and Places of Public Accommodation.

§ 62-7-112. Guide dogs; admission

(a)(1) No proprietor, employee or other person in charge of any place of public accommodation, amusement or recreation, including, but not limited to, any inn, hotel, restaurant, eating house, barber shop, billiard parlor, store, public conveyance on land or water, theater, motion picture house, public educational institution or elevator, shall refuse to permit a blind, physically disabled or deaf or hard of hearing person to enter the place or to make use of the accommodations provided when the accommodations are available, for the reason that the blind, physically disabled or deaf or hard of hearing person is being led or accompanied by a dog guide. A dog guide shall be under the control of its handler. A place of public accommodation shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a dog guide.

(2)(A) No proprietor, employee or other person in charge of any place of public accommodation, amusement or recreation, including, but not limited to, any inn, hotel, restaurant, eating house, barber shop, billiard parlor, store, public conveyance on land or water, theater, motion picture house, public educational institution or elevator, shall refuse to permit a dog guide trainer to enter such place or to make use of the accommodations provided in those places, when the accommodations are available, for the reason that the dog guide trainer is being led or accompanied by a dog guide in training; provided, that the dog guide in training, when led or accompanied by a dog guide trainer, is wearing a harness and is held on a leash by the dog guide trainer or, when led or accompanied by a dog guide trainer, is held on a leash by the dog guide trainer; and provided, further, that the dog guide trainer shall first have presented for inspection credentials issued by an accredited school for training dog guides.

(B)(i) For purposes of this section, “dog guide in training” includes dogs being raised for an accredited school for training dog guides; provided, however, that a dog being raised for that purpose is:

(a) Being held on a leash and is under the control of its raiser or trainer, who shall have available for inspection credentials from the accredited school for which the dog is being raised; and

(b) Wearing a collar, leash or other appropriate apparel or device that identifies the dog with the accredited school for which it is being raised.

(ii) “Dog guide in training” also includes the socialization process that occurs with the dog's trainer or raiser prior to the dog's advanced training; provided, that the socialization process is under the authorization of an accredited school.

(3) A place of public accommodation may ask a person to remove a dog guide or dog guide in training from the premises if:

(A) The dog guide or dog guide in training is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it; or

(B) The dog guide or dog guide in training is not housebroken.

(b) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

Credits

1955 Pub.Acts, c. 1, §§ 1, 2; 1980 Pub.Acts, c. 488, § 3; 1982 Pub.Acts, c. 748, § 1; 1984 Pub.Acts, c. 612, § 1; 1989 Pub.Acts, c. 591, § 113; 1996 Pub.Acts, c. 668, § 1, eff. March 22, 1996; 2001 Pub.Acts, c. 174, § 13, eff. July 1, 2001; 2003 Pub.Acts, c. 123, § 1, eff. May 13, 2003; 2013 Pub.Acts, c. 69, § 1, eff. July 1, 2013.


West's Tennessee Code Annotated. Title 66. Property. Chapter 7. Leases.

§ 66-7-104. Physically disabled persons; housing access

(a) Totally or partially blind persons and other physically disabled persons shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the general public, to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease or compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable to all persons.

(b) “Housing accommodations” means any real property or portion thereof which is used to occupy or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence or sleeping place of one (1) or more human beings, but does not include any single family residence, the occupants of which rent, lease or furnish for compensation not more than one (1) room in the residence.

(c)(1) Nothing in this section shall require any person renting, leasing, or providing for compensation any real property to modify such property in any way or manner or to provide a higher degree of care for a totally blind or partially blind person or other physically disabled person than for a person who is not blind or disabled.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding subdivision (c)(1), any person renting, leasing, or providing for compensation any real property that is three (3) or more stories tall shall give priority in access to housing units on floors one (1) and two (2) of such property to physically disabled persons whose disability would prevent such persons from having reasonable access to units located on higher floors; provided, that the person shall not be required to seek out physically disabled occupants or forego occupancy of the unit for any period of time if a physically disabled occupant is not available. Nothing in this subdivision (c)(2) shall prevent the lessor from using or applying other factors in determining whether or not to rent to a disabled person.

(B) A violation of subdivision (c)(2)(A) is a Class C misdemeanor punishable only by a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

(d) Every totally blind or partially blind person who has a guide dog, or who obtains a guide dog, shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations included within subsection (a) or any accommodations provided for in §§ 71-4-201, 71-4-202 and this section, and such person shall not be required to pay extra compensation for such guide dog, but shall be liable for any damages done to the premises by such animal.

CREDIT(S)

1972 Pub.Acts, c. 480, § 3; 2005 Pub.Acts, c. 215, § 1, eff. May 27, 2005.

 

§ 66-7-106. Blind persons

(a) Any legally blind person in this state whose loss of sight necessitates a guide dog for mobility purposes, which has been obtained from a recognized school of training for such purposes, may not be denied the right to lease an apartment or other types of dwellings as a consequence of having a guide dog.

(b) Because the guide dog is essential to the mobility of its master, no deposit may be required to be paid, with respect to the dog, by the legally blind person to the owner, manager, landlord or agent of any such attendance.

(c) No restrictions may be imposed upon the legally blind person regarding the whereabouts of the animal so long as its master is in attendance.

(d) Any owner, manager, landlord or agent who refuses to lease living space to any legally blind person because of a guide dog, or violates a provision of this section, commits a Class C misdemeanor.

CREDIT(S)

1982 Pub.Acts, c. 951, § 1; 1989 Pub.Acts, c. 591, § 113.

 

 



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