RESPONSIBILITY FOR DOGS AND PETS. It is a big responsibility to own a pet. We all love our pets. But the reality is there are some breeds that can be more aggressive than others. Because of instances in which they have been known to attack people and other animals, laws had to be established to protect the public.
In the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Code Annotated is as follows:
44-8-413. Civil liability for injury caused by dogs. (a) (1) The owner of a dog has a duty to keep that dog under reasonable control at all times, and to keep that dog from running at large. A person who breaches that duty is subject to civil liability for any damages suffered by a person who is injured by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in or on the private property of another. (2) The owner may be held liable regardless of whether the dog has shown any dangerous propensities or whether the dog’s owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous propensities.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR DOGS AND PETS. Then moving on to more specific municipalities, in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, the duty of an owner of an aggressive dog in the Memphis Code of Ordinances is as follows:
Sec. 8-20-4 – Duty of owner of dangerous/vicious dog or animal.
The owner of any dangerous/vicious animal shall keep the animal confined. As used in this chapter, the word “confined” shall mean as follows:
- Leash and Muzzle. No person shall permit a dangerous/vicious animal to go outside its kennel or pen unless such animal is outfitted with a choke or pinch collar and securely leashed with a substantial chain or leash no longer than four feet in length. No person shall permit a dangerous/vicious animal to be kept on rope or other type of leash outside of its kennel or pen unless a competent person at least eighteen (18) years of age is in physical control of the leash. Such animal may not be leashed to inanimate objects, including, but not limited to, posts, buildings, fences. In addition, all dangerous/vicious animals on a leash outside the animal’s kennel must be muzzled by a muzzling devise sufficient to prevent such animal from biting persons or other animals. Such muzzle should not cause injury to the animal or interfere with its vision or breathing, but shall prevent it from biting any person.
- Confinement Outdoors. All dangerous/vicious animals shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except when leased and muzzled as provided above. Such pen, kennel or structure shall be at least twenty (20) feet from any street or sidewalk, ten (10) feet from any property line and must have secure sides and a secure top to the sides. Such structures must be locked with a key or combination lock when any animal is within the structure. Such structure must have a secure concrete bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground no less than two feet. All structures erected to house dangerous/vicious animals must be a minimum of six feet by ten (10) feet enclosure and comply with all zoning and building regulations of the city. All such structures must be adequately ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition at all times, and must be inspected and approved by the local health officer, or his or her designee.
- Confinement Indoors. No dangerous/vicious animal may be kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or structure that would allow the animal to exit such building of its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or structure when any unbarred window is open or when any screened window or screen door is the only obstacle preventing the animal from exiting the structure.
These laws and ordinances do not say that you cannot own a particular breed, but pet owners do have certain standards and responsibilities in which they must abide. It is our purpose just to inform the public – and maybe some of these owners that were not aware of their responsibilities.
If you have any questions about an injury by an animal, call us, 901-331-2221.