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Pet owners without shelters will face animal cruelty charge under new law

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A new Tennessee law will levy an animal cruelty charge for those who fail to provide adequate shelter for outside pets, beginning July 1.
Under Senate Bill 195, necessary shelter must be provided for all outdoor animals other than just dogs in a person’s custody.
Certain provisions were enacted pertaining to outdoor shelters for dogs that primarily reside outside under the legislation.
Structures must meet the following to be considered adequate:
(A) Is constructed of sound and substantial material, is sufficient to protect the dog from inclement weather, and is of a size appropriate to allow the dog to maintain normal body temperature;
(B) Has a roof and is enclosed on all sides with an entrance of adequate size for the dog to enter, and has dimensions that allow the dog, while in the shelter, to stand erect, sit, turn around, and lie down in a normal position;
(C) Provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floormat, or similar device that is large enough for the dog to lie on in a normal manner and that can be maintained in a sanitary manner;
(D) From March through October, is properly shaded, and from November through February, when necessary to protect the dog from cold and promote the retention of body heat, the shelter is fitted with a sufficient quantity of bedding material; and
(E) Is of a sufficient size or number to provide shelter to each dog present at the same time.
The adequate-shelter provision does not apply for dogs when they are actively engaged in lawful hunting; police, military, or patrol work; detection work; trials and other lawful competitions; service and assistance work; other working, sporting, and competitive functions; or while actively training for these purposes and functions.
SB 195 unanimously passed the Tennessee House of Representatives, while eight state Senators voted against the measure. The law is expected to increase local expenditures by $1,100 beginning in Fiscal Year 2023-24. 
Those who are found guilty of not having adequate shelter face a Class A misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty.

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