DOG LAW

Tennessee Code Annotated: 44-8-408. Dogs not allowed at large

(b)  The owner of a dog commits an offense if that dog goes uncontrolled by the owner upon the premises of another without the consent of the owner of the premises or other person authorized to give consent, or goes uncontrolled by the owner upon a highway, public road, street or any other place open to the public generally.

(c)  It is an exception to the application of this section that: 
  (1)  The dog was on a hunt or chase; 
  (2)  The dog was on the way to or from a hunt or chase; 
  (3)  The dog was guarding or driving stock or on the way to guard or drive stock; 
  (4)  The dog was being moved from one place to another by the owner of the dog; 
  (5)  The dog is a police or military dog . . .  
  (6)  The violation of subsection (b) occurred while the injured person was on the private property of the dog's owner with the intent to engage in unlawful activity while on the property;  
  (7)  The violation of subsection (b) occurred while the dog was protecting the dog's owner or other innocent party from attack by the injured person or an animal owned by the injured person;  
  (8)  The violation of subsection (b) occurred while the dog was securely confined in a kennel, crate or other enclosure; or 
  (9)  The violation of subsection (b) occurred as a result of the injured person disturbing, harassing, assaulting or otherwise provoking the dog.

(d)  The exception to the application of this section provided in subdivisions (c)(1)-(4) shall not apply unless the owner in violation of subsection (b) pays or tenders payment for all damages caused by the dog to the injured party within thirty (30) days of the damage being caused.

(e)  It is not a defense to prosecution for a violation of subsection (b) and punished pursuant to subdivision (g)(1), (g)(2) or (g)(3) that the dog owner exercised reasonable care in attempting to confine or control the dog.

(f)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of subsection (b) and punished pursuant to subdivision (g)(4) or (g)(5) that the dog owner exercised reasonable care in attempting to confine or control the dog.

(g)  
  (1)  A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by fine only. 
  (2)  A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by fine only if the dog running at large causes damage to the property of another. 
  (3)  A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by fine only if the dog running at large causes bodily injury, as defined by § 39-11-106, to another. 
  (4)  A violation of this section is a Class E felony if the dog running at large causes serious bodily injury, as defined by § 39-11-106, to another. 
  (5)  A violation of this section is a Class D felony if the dog running at large causes the death of another.

(h)  Notwithstanding subsection (g), a violation of this section shall be punished as provided in subsection (i) if the violation involves: 
  (1)  A dog that was trained to fight, attack or kill or had been used to fight; or  
  (2)  The owner of the dog violating this section knew of the dangerous nature of the dog and, prior to the violation of this section, the dog had bitten one (1) or more people that resulted in serious bodily injury or death.

(i)  A violation of this section, where one (1) or more of the factors set out in subsection (h) are present, shall be punished as follows: 

  (1)  A Class C misdemeanor if the dog running at large does not cause property damage, injury or death;  
  (2)  A Class A misdemeanor if the dog running at large causes damage to the property of another; 
  (3)  A Class E felony if the dog running at large causes bodily injury to another; 
  (4)  A Class D felony if the dog running at large causes serious bodily injury to another; and
  (5)  A Class C felony if the dog running at large causes the death of another.


Tennessee Code Annotated 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.

(b)  Subsection (a) shall not be construed to impose liability upon the owner of the dog if: 
  (1)  The dog is a police or military dog . . .; 
  (2)  The injured person was trespassing upon the private, nonresidential property of the dog's owner; 
  (3)  The injury occurred while the dog was protecting the dog's owner or other innocent party from attack by the injured person or a dog owned by the injured person; 
  (4)  The injury occurred while the dog was securely confined in a kennel, crate or other enclosure; or  
  (5)  The injury occurred as a result of the injured person enticing, disturbing, alarming, harassing, or otherwise provoking the dog.

(c)  
  (1)  If a dog causes damage to a person while the person is on residential, farm or other noncommercial property, and the dog's owner is the owner of the property, or is on the property by permission of the owner or as a lawful tenant or lessee, in any civil action based upon such damages brought against the owner of the dog, the claimant shall be required to establish that the dog's owner knew or should have known of the dog's dangerous propensities. 
  (2)  The element of proof required by subdivision (c)(1) shall be in addition to any other elements the claimant may be required to prove in order to establish a claim under the prevailing Tennessee law of premises liability or comparative fault.

(d)  The statute of limitations for an action brought pursuant to this section shall be the same as provided in § 28-3-104, for personal injury actions.
(e)  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
    (2)  “Running at large” means a dog goes uncontrolled by the dog's owner upon the premises of another without the consent of the owner of the premises, or other person authorized to give consent, or goes uncontrolled by the owner upon a highway, public road, street or any other place open to the public generally.

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