animals

Boyd going for dog lover votes?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd announced his donation of $10,000 toward creation of a dog park in Dyersburg Friday at a Chamber of Commerce/Dyer County Leadership event, reports the Dyersburg State Gazette.

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‘Petland bill’ passes Senate, fails in House

A bill setting state standards for pet store operations while restricting their regulation by local governments was approved by the Senate but then failed on the House floor Monday evening after extensive debate.

The final House vote was 45 yes, 47 no with two present and not voting. Fifty votes are required for passage. The measure known as “the Petland bill” (SB519) had passed the Senate 19-11.

Much of the debate in both chambers came over amendments to exempt various counties and cities from being covered the bill sponsored by Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville.

All such efforts failed in the Senate, but the House approved three of 13 such efforts – applying to Blount County, Sumner County and the City of Hendersonville. All the amendment votes were close – ties in two cases.

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Bill set for passage bans local regulation of pet stores

A bill drafted at the request of Petlland, a pet store chain looking to expand franchise operations in Tennessee, includes consumer protection for purchasers of cats and dogs as well as protection of pet sellers from local government regulation.

The bill (SB519) is sponsored by Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, while opposed by animal advocacy groups. It has cleared committees in both the House and Senate and is scheduled for floor votes in both chambers this week.

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Another flock of TN chickens found with bird flu

News release from state Department of Agriculture

NASHVILLE — The state veterinarian confirms that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation has tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

This chicken breeding operation is located in Giles County, Tenn. The company that operates it is a different company from the one associated with the recent detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Lincoln County. At this time, officials do not believe one premises sickened the other.
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Lawsuit challenges requirement of license for horse massage

News release from Beacon Center of Tennessee

NASHVILLE – Today, the Beacon Center Legal Foundation announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the state Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. The Vet Board recently defined “animal massage” as a form of veterinary medicine, meaning that merely rubbing horses now requires a veterinarian license. The Beacon Center believes this law is unconstitutional and has filed suit on behalf of Martha Stowe and Laurie Wheeler of Franklin, as both of their careers and livelihoods depend on horse massage therapy. Continuing to practice horse massage therapy subjected them to fines and even potential jail time.

After giving the Vet Board warning that the horse massage rule is unconstitutional, the Board asked for an extra two weeks to reconsider the rule before the Beacon Center filed a lawsuit. Despite being given that time, the Board has decided to disregard the advice of the Beacon Center, leading to this lawsuit. 

Bird flu found in TN chicken flock

News release from Tennessee Department of Agriculture

NASHVILLE — The state veterinarian confirms that a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has sickened a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County.

 “Many Tennessee families rely on the poultry industry for their livelihoods, and the state is working closely with local, county and federal partners and the poultry industry to control the situation and protect the flocks that are critical to our state’s economy,” Gov. Bill Haslam said.

HPAI is known to be deadly for domesticated chickens and turkeys. On March 3, a commercial chicken facility in Lincoln County alerted the state veterinarian’s office at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to an increase in chicken deaths. Testing at state and federal laboratories confirmed the presence of H7 HPAI in samples from that flock.  Continue reading

USDA adopts new rule on TN Walking Horse ‘soring;’ Alexander objects

Just days before the Obama administration leaves office, the U. S. Department of Agriculture announced changes to rules governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act Friday that animal rights supporters hailed as a major step toward ending the abusive practice of soring, reports The Tennessean.

The new rule will ban much of the gear used, including chains placed around horses’ ankles during training and stacks — the tall weights attached to the front hooves.

It also will force inspectors to become trained and licensed through the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“(The USDA is) taking away the most obvious and ubiquitous tools used for soring,” said Keith Dane, senior adviser on equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States. “We’re very encouraged by the rule.”

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