2016 Tennessee Code
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.

TN Code § 39-17-1363 (2016) What's This?

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Potentially vicious dog" means a dog that may reasonably be assumed to pose a threat to public safety as demonstrated by any of the following behaviors:

(A) When unprovoked and off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog, inflicts a bite causing bodily injury, as defined in § 39-11-106, to a person or domestic animal; or

(B) When unprovoked and off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog, on two (2) or more separate occasions, chases, menaces or approaches a person or domestic animal in an aggressive manner or apparent attitude of attack;

(2) "Vicious dog" means any dog that without provocation and off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog, has attacked a person causing death or serious bodily injury, as defined by § 39-11-106, to such person; and

(3) "Violent felony" means:

(A) Any felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence or a deadly weapon;

(B) A violation of § 39-17-417, § 39-17-433 or § 39-17-435; or

(C) A violation of § 39-14-203(a)(1)-(3), § 39-14-205, § 39-14-212 or § 39-14-214.

(b) It is an offense for any person convicted of a violent felony to knowingly own, possess, have custody or control of a potentially vicious dog or a vicious dog for a period of ten (10) years after such person has been released from custody following completion of sentence or is no longer under active probation, community correction or parole supervision for such violent felony, whichever date is later.

(c) It is an offense for any person convicted of a violent felony to own, possess, or have custody or control of a dog that:

(1) Is not micro chipped for permanent identification; and

(2) Is not spayed or neutered and is older than twelve (12) weeks of age.

(d) A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e) (1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under subsection (c), which must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, that the dog in question is microchipped and neutered or spayed, or that the dog in question was microchipped and neutered or spayed within thirty (30) days of the defendant being charged with a violation of this section.

(2) Medical records from, or a certificate by, a person who is licensed by the person's state of residence as a doctor of veterinary medicine, whose license is in good standing and who has personally examined, inserted a microchip in, or operated upon the dog, indicating that the dog in question has been microchipped or spayed or neutered, shall be sufficient evidence that the dog in question has been microchipped or spayed or neutered.

(3) If the dog in question is microchipped by a different doctor than the doctor who spayed or neutered the dog, medical records or a certificate indicating that both procedures have been performed are required for purposes of this defense.

(f) This section shall only apply if a person's conviction for a violent felony occurs on or after July 1, 2010.

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