Tennessee Has Good News and Sad News

As previously reported, the legislature has passed two new bills pertaining to dog bite law. One of them (referred to as SB 143 / HB 108) eliminates the “one bite rule” for dogs that are off their owners’ property. 

If you are interested in reviewing the text of the proposed new law, follow the instructions and links given at the Tennessee page of Dog Bite Law.

This important bill comes with some bittersweet news. The bill has been given the short title, “The Dianna Acklen Act of 2007,” after a woman whose death was an important motivating force behind Sen. Jackson’s several bills pertaining to dog laws. 

There also is sad news. The other dog bite victim who greatly influenced this legislation, Mr. James Chappel, Jr., died before the governor signed these bills. Mr. Chappel was the man from Memphis who was seriously injured by two pit bulls that mauled him when he exited a bus. Just days after losing an arm in the attack, he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee by video tape from his hospital bed. Complications of his horrific injuries apparently were the cause of his death.

The deaths of Mrs. Acklen and Mr. Chappel happened while Tennessee was a “one bite state.” Let’s hope that these new laws will be effective, so that their lives were not lost in vain.