Proposed Bill in Tennessee Would Require Shelters to Notify Pet Owners Within 48 Hours of Acquiring the Pet

Legislation is making headway in Tennessee that intends to reduce the number of cats and dogs confined in shelters.

The proposed new law is locally inspired and focuses on requiring animal shelters, which get pets with identification, to notify those owners within 48 hours.

The bill has passed the house and senate action is expected this week.

It’s sponsored by Representative Timothy Hill of Blountville, who found there’s nothing now requiring notification of an owner within a certain time frame.

Every animal in the animal shelter in Blountville has a story of how it got here.

But a new proposed bill hopes to lower the number of lost pets that remain in shelters, instead of getting them back to their rightful owners

“A pet may make its way into the shelter and really, just because folks in the shelter are busy, notification just doesn’t take place. So this puts a standard in place that notification has to happen within 48 hours of the animal coming into the shelter,” Hill said.

Representative Timothy Hill said citizens approached him about this, and he’s pushing to get the bill signed into law.

“This is something that seemed to be a recurring problem in our region at least for a few folks. As we brought the legislation forward, more folks from across the state seem to come out and say this is a bit of an issue where we live,” he said.

We wanted to find out how the Sullivan County, Bluff City, Kingsport shelters handles runaways and strays that are turned in.

“If they’re a stray, we hold them for 5 days on stray hold before they’re made available for adoption to give their owner a chance to find them,” shelter manager Michelle Baker said.

Offficials with the SBK Animal Shelter tell us that even without a law, they will always try to contact pets owners as long as they’re able to.

“Rabies tag and ID tag, microchips are really the best way because they can’t lose them, that’s with them forever. the tags can get hung on things and come off, things can happen to them,” Baker said.

Hill said not every shelter is as proactive in finding owners in the case of lost pets, and that’s why he’s pushing the 48 hour notification law.


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