Tennessee Legislature Passes Bill To Increase Animal Fighting Penalties

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Tennessee General Assembly has sent legislation to Governor Bill Haslam that strengthens penalties for attending an animal fight or bringing a child to an animal fight.  The 90-2 vote in the House follows a 24-1 Senate vote last month, marking the end of a seven-year campaign to strengthen penalties for animal fighting in Tennessee.  

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, makes it a Class A misdemeanor to attend an animal fight or to bring a child to an animal fight.  

Both provisions contain maximum penalties of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Bringing a child to an animal fight will carry a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The bill was SB 1024 in the Senate and HB 962 in the House. 

Leighann Lassiter, Tennessee director for the Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement:  “The General Assembly has spoken loud and clear, and the message is: Tennessee will no longer be a refuge for anyone who sets animals against each other in fights to the death. Senator Ketron and Rep. Lundberg and 112 of their colleagues have made our state a more humane place with their good work.” 

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission and Sevier County Sheriff Ronald Seals supported the bill. 


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