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Tennessee Equine Protection Act - Update



By Christy Howard Parsons

Copyright WHR 2007

Update:  Report Publisher David L. Howard spoke with the Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey on Friday regarding  the Tennessee Equine Protection Act and was assured that Ramsey would take a careful look at the Senate bill.  Howard, who is also Chairman of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, pointed out a number of issues with the bill and will see Ramsey again on Tuesday night for a follow-up.

Howard also spoke with State Senator Jim Tracy of Shelbyville and he has assured him that he is watching the legislation
very carefully.

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A new Tennessee Equine Protection Act has been introduced in Tennessee’s General Assembly by Senator Tim Burchett in the Senate as Senate Bill 1290 and by Janice Baird Sottany in the House as House Bill 1988.

This is a frighteningly comprehensive yet subjective document which would cover everything from soring, to how a horse is trailered, to riding a horse under the influence. Penalties within the act include Class E felony convictions. Yet the language of the Act is very subjective.

Perhaps one of the most subjective areas is who is allowed to enforce the act. The act provides that a “Certified Equine Cruelty Investigator means a person who is an agent of any society incorporated for the prevention of cruelty to animals or a county or local law enforcement officer in the state of Tennessee, and who has forty (40) hours or more of equine cruelty and investigation training; . . .”

It appears that this would allow individual members of PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, or any other animal cruelty society, to become law enforcement.

David Howard, Chairman of the Board of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and Dabora, Inc., President, is meeting with representatives from the Tennessee General Assembly today to clarify the weaknesses in the legislation and prevent it from going forward as it stands.

Additional information about the progress of this legislation will be posted as it becomes available. To see the full text of the proposed legislation, click http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/currentga/BILL/SB1290.pdf

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