Animal Control

Tennessee law dictates who can do what in relation to animals. Laws involving animal issues designate the responsibilities of a state chartered humane society like the GCHS, as well as the County government, Local and County law enforcement, State Department of Health, County Department of Health, US Department of Agriculture (USDA), County Agricultural Extension Agent, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agent (TWRA). All the laws pertaining to cats and dogs, livestock, and wild animals are described in the Tennessee Statutes and Codes (see statutes.laws.com/tennessee or www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode).

 

These laws are in place to protect people, and they’re also in place to protect animals. There is a statute stating that county legislative bodies have the authority to establish and operate shelters and animal control. There are feeding, care, and spay/neuter laws that the GCHS must follow. There are rabies vaccination laws, which prevent disease transmission from pets to people and to other pets; laws against dogs and livestock running at large; laws regarding the penalty for injury caused by dogs; and there are animal cruelty laws that include strict penalties for those that mistreat animals.

 

DOMESTIC ANIMALS FOUND IN ABUSIVE OR NEGLECTED SITUATIONS. Grainger County Government does not have an Animal Control Department or a paid Animal Control Officer, so if you want to report animal abuse or neglect, you must call the Grainger County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch at 865-828-3337. A law enforcement official should respond to the call and complete a police report on the incident. (Resource: TN Code Title 39 Criminal Offenses, Chapter 14 Offenses Against Property, Part 2 Animals, 39-14-202 Cruelty to animals.)

 

You may call the Sheriff’s Department Dispatch (865-828-3337) anonymously to report abuse or neglect. You don’t have to give your name or have any further involvement after the call if you don’t want to. When you make the call, tell the person taking the information as many details of the situation as you can—i.e., address or the location of the animals, date and time, explain the circumstances, and descriptions of the people and animals involved. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) can help support your case. It's also useful to give names of others who may have witnessed any incidents. While you may remain anonymous, the case will be much stronger if you are willing to identify yourself and testify to what you witnessed. Since animals cannot talk, a human witness is crucial for building a strong, prosecutable case.

 

The GCHS cares about animals in abusive and negligent situations, but we are not animal control. Though not paid by the county, a GCHS volunteer(s), if available, will get involved in suspected animal abuse and neglect cases within Grainger County ONLY after the situation has been reported to, and investigated by the Sheriff’s Department, and ONLY if the Sheriff’s Department requests our assistance.

 

ANIMAL BITES AND ANIMAL ATTACKS. All animal bites, dog bites, and reports involving vicious or aggressive dogs must be directed to the Grainger County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch at 865-828-3337. A law enforcement official should respond to the call and complete a police report on the incident. (Resource: TN Code, Title 44 Animals And Animal Husbandry, Chapter 8 Fences and Confinement, Part 4 Running at Large, 44-8-413 Civil liability for injury caused by dogs; Title 39 Criminal Offenses, Chapter 17 Offenses Against Public Health, Safety and Welfare, Part 13 Weapons, 39-17-1363 Offense of owning, possessing, or having custody or control of a potentially vicious dog or a vicious dog; and Title 38 Prevention And Detection Of Crime, Chapter 8 Employment and Training of Police Officers, Part 1 General Provisions, 38-8-117 Training in animal and canine behavior.)

 

The GCHS has no legal authority to handle animal bite or animal attack cases; cannot provide accommodations for pets that have bitten a person; and cannot house or confine vicious or aggressive animals.

 

Legally, if an animal bites a human and breaks the skin, the bite must be reported to the County Health Department for further action and follow up. The animal must be contained and quarantined for 10 days or destroyed. If killed, the animal’s head must be sent to the appropriate department for Rabies testing by the Health Department. Contact the County Health Department at 865-828-5247. (Resource: TN Code, Title 68 Health, Safety and Environmental Protection, Health, Chapter 8 Rabies.)

 

LIVESTOCK ANIMALS - HORSES, PONIES, MULES, DONKEYS, CATTLE, GOATS, SHEEP, PIGS, RABBITS, CHICKENS, AND DUCKS. Cases involving livestock or farm animals must be directed to the County Agricultural Extension Agent at 865-828-3411 or the State Department of Agriculture Agent at 423-736-8839, and the Grainger County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch at 865-828-3337.

    1. Cases involving Livestock that is neglected or abused

  • Take photos;

  • Notify the Sheriff’s Office at 865 828-3337 and make a police report;

  • Contact the County Agricultural Agent at 865-828-3411 and supply that office with a copy of the police report.

    1. Cases involving Livestock found dead on property in abusive or neglectful situations

  • Take photos;

  • Notify the Sheriff’s Office at 865 828-3337 and make a police report;

  • Contact the State Department of Agriculture Agent at 423-736-8839 and supply that office with a copy of the police report.

 

In neglect or abuse cases, the County Agricultural Extension Agent should examine the livestock in question within 24 hours. Law enforcement officials may not enter the property, arrest, or interfere in any way unless; prior to or at the same time, the County Agricultural Extension Agent examines the livestock in question. (Resource: Title 39 Criminal Offenses, Chapter 14 Offenses Against Property, Part 2 Animals, 39-14-211 Examination of livestock by county agricultural extension agent.)

 

WILDLIFE INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, DEER, BIRDS OF PREY, BEARS, FOXES, SKUNKS, RACCOONS, POSSUMS, NATIVE SNAKES, AND NATIVE WILDLIFE AND BIRDS. For issues related to wildlife, contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) at 423-587-7037 or 800-332-0900. (Resource: TN Code, Title 70 Wildlife Resources, Chapter 1 General and Administrative Provisions, Part 3 Wildlife Resources Agency, 70-1-302 Duties and functions -- Agency advertising.)

EXOTIC ANIMALS ARE LLAMAS, ALPACAS, ZEBRAS, MONKEYS, OR ANY NON-NATIVE EXOTIC ANIMALS, SNAKES, AND OTHER REPTILES. For issues related to exotic animals, contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) at 423-587-7037 or 800-332-0900; or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at 865-523-3338, 800-342-3149, or 919-855-7100. (Resource: TN Code, Title 70 Wildlife Resources, Chapter 4 Miscellaneous Regulations, Part 3 Exotic Animals.)