2019 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 14 - Offenses Against Property
Part 2 - Animals
§ 39-14-203. Cock and animal fighting -- Cock fighting paraphernalia.

Universal Citation: TN Code § 39-14-203 (2019)
  • (a) It is unlawful for any person to:

    • (1) Own, possess, keep, use or train any bull, bear, dog, cock, swine or other animal, for the purpose of fighting, baiting or injuring another such animal, for amusement, sport or gain;

    • (2) Cause, for amusement, sport or gain, any animal referenced in subdivision (a)(1) to fight, bait or injure another animal, or each other;

    • (3) Permit any acts stated in subdivisions (a)(1) and (2) to be done on any premises under the person's charge or control, or aid or abet those acts;

    • (4) Be knowingly present, as a spectator, at any place or building where preparations are being made for an exhibition for the fighting, baiting or injuring of any animal, with the intent to be present at the exhibition, fighting, baiting or injuring;

    • (5) Knowingly cause a person under eighteen (18) years of age to attend an animal fight; or

    • (6) Possess, own, buy, sell, transfer, or manufacture cock fighting paraphernalia with the intent that the paraphernalia be used in promoting, facilitating, training for, or furthering cock fighting.

  • (b) It is the legislative intent that this section shall not apply to the training or use of hunting dogs for sport or to the training or use of dogs for law enforcement purposes.

  • (c)

    • (1) Except for any offense involving a cock, an offense under subdivisions (a)(1)-(3) is a Class E felony.

    • (2) An offense involving a cock under subdivisions (a)(1)-(3) is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • (d)

    • (1) A violation of subdivision (a)(4) or (a)(6) is a Class A misdemeanor.

    • (2) A violation of subdivision (a)(5) is a Class A misdemeanor. Notwithstanding § 40-35-111(e)(1), the fine for a violation of subdivision (a)(5) shall be not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).

  • (e) It is not an offense to own, possess or keep cocks, or aid or abet the ownership, possession or keeping of cocks, for the sole purpose of selling or transporting cocks to a location in which possession or keeping of cocks is legal, as long as it does not violate any other part of this section or federal law.

  • (f)

    • (1) For purposes of this section, “cock fighting paraphernalia” means gaffs, slashers, heels, or any other sharp implement designed to be attached in place of the natural spur of a cock or game fowl.

    • (2) In determining whether a particular object is cock fighting paraphernalia, the court or other authority making that determination may, in addition to all other logically relevant factors, consider the following:

      • (A) Statements by the owner or anyone in control of the object concerning its use;

      • (B) Prior convictions, if any, of the owner or of anyone in control of the object for violation of any state or federal law relating to cock fighting or any other violation of this part;

      • (C) The presence and condition of any animal on the same property;

      • (D) Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use;

      • (E) Descriptive materials accompanying the object that explain or depict its use;

      • (F) The manner in which the object is displayed for sale;

      • (G) The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community; and

      • (H) Expert testimony concerning its use.

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