Breed specific laws state what breeds of dog an individual is legally allowed (or not allowed) to have. These laws don’t take into consideration the nature of the individual, for example, whether or not the individual is a responsible dog owner. The only factor is the breed of the dog (this is usually based on reputation and any history of violence in the breed). Tennessee, like other states, has laws regarding dog ownership.
Breed specific legislation is known for being quite indiscriminate in its wording and coverage – if a specific breed of dog is made illegal, the entire breed is targeted. It doesn’t matter if an individual dog has no history of violence toward another individual or breed, and it doesn’t matter if the owner has never owned a dog known for attacking a human. Once a dog is on the list, all breeds become illegal for an individual to own. The laws in every state are designed to deter individuals from purchasing these breeds of dog.
Breed Restrictions in Tennessee
Tennessee laws on breed restrictions focus mainly on pure and hybrid pill bulls. This comes from the bad reputation of pit bulls as an inherently violent breed and extensive media attention of attacks on humans and other dogs by pit bulls. Such laws are often controversial as they not only put all dogs of a certain breed in the same category (such as violent and a danger to society), the laws also put all owners in the same category (irresponsible or unable to adequately control their dogs).
Laws on Pit Bull Ownership
Tennessee has a host of breed specific legislation – the state also has a list of breeds that can’t legally be owned. According to state law, it is illegal for any individual to own a pit bull breed of dog in certain parts of Tennessee. This doesn’t just cover the ownership of a pure pit bull, but also the ownership of hybrid breeds such as pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and any other breed of dog that is more than 50 percent pit bull. Anyone found with such a breed is legally required to surrender it to the authorities.
Breed Restriction in Different Counties
The law regarding the ownership of pit bulls are active in the majority of the counties in Tennessee. There are a few states which won legal challenges against the legislation (a controversial law as the ban is indiscriminate in its wide coverage of pit bull breeds). Some of the successful counties are Knox, Woodbury, Monterey, Bedford County and Putnam. However, the majority of the counties in Tennessee (such as South Fulton, Jefferson City, Brownsville and Rogersville) saw the legislation pass and the breed specific act become law.