Report cites weak laws in rising animal cruelty cases

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tennessee is one of the worst states when it comes to taking a bite out of animal cruelty. The Humane Society says the Volunteer State faced more large-scale animal emergencies than any other in the past three years. The dubious recognition is sparking debate over tougher penalties for animal abusers.

"We have to be careful and not having a knee-jerk reaction," said Xan Rawls of Young-Williams animal shelter.

The report says nearly half of Tennessee's 95 counties lack proper shelters. Protection rules vary widely by county, and animal cruelty remains a misdemeanor. "From our point of view, we want to provide and care for the animals," said Rawls.

The increase in abuse cases could be a result of greater public awareness. "We're very happy to see that because obviously it's going to protect the animals," Rawls said.

Efforts to enact new laws and boost animal cruelty to a felony have stalled in the legislature. State Rep. Frank Niceley, head of the Agriculture Committee, says current laws are enough.

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  • by Anonymous on Aug 27, 2011 at 11:32 AM
    Whoever decide and denied these laws is probably an Animal Hoarder himself or herself. It is a shame and there should be restrictions on owners who own animals.
  • by sylvia Location: knoxville on Aug 26, 2011 at 07:06 PM


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