Tennessee Passes New Dog Laws

In June 2007, Tennessee enacted a dog bite statute that rejects the one-bite rule for some dog attacks, but confirms it for others. 

Under new section 44-8-413, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bites and other losses caused by a dog that occur when the dog is not under reasonable control on the dog owner’s premises, or when it is running at large off the premises. However, the statute affirms the requirement of proving scienter — in other words, affirms the one-bite rule — if the accident happens on residential property, a farm, or “other noncommercial property,” and the dog belongs to the owner, lessee or invitee of that property. The law contains numerous exceptions and contradictions. For more, see Tennessee on the Dog Bite Law website.

The state also enacted laws that increase the penalties for dogs running at large, and dogs trained to attack. Furthermore, it increased the penalty for being a spectator at a dog fight.