Insurance policy for dog owners in Tenn. bites the dust - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Insurance policy for dog owners in Tenn. bites the dust

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Tennessee State Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) says she first sponsored the bill after she heard concerns from seniors in the community.  But many others complained about the bill's language and shortly after, uproar in cyberspace took off.

COPY OF BILL: Tennessee House Bill 621

A new Tennessee bill about man's best friend sparked an outcry on social media.  The proposed measure would require owners with vicious and dangerous dogs to have an insurance policy of at least $25,000 for liability against injuries inflicted by the dog.  Hundreds sounded off on our MyFOXMemphis Facebook page:

AJ Pirtle says:   "Waste of time!!!! It is not the breed or the dog! It is the way they are treated and trained."

Richard Cranium says  "Pit Bulls are bred for one thing = killing.  That's why they are bred with locking jaws & no tails. Nobody should have one, not even policemen.

Tammy Hall says: "For every pit bull that bites, there's over 10.5 billion that don't.  Stop bullying my breed!"

Rep. Gilmore said she now plans to formally remove the bill Tuesday.   

READ MORE:  TN bill could take bite out of vicious dogs

Reached by phone, Rep. Gilmore said she doesn't have time before the session ends to work out all the issues with the concerned parties.

"People love animals and don't want to see undo restrictions on pets," she said.

Under the bill, unprovoked dogs which bite, attack or endanger someone or other animals are considered dangerous. Your dog could also get stuck with the label, due to its size and capability of causing serious bodily injury.     

"Who makes that decision on what a vicious dog is, what a dangerous dog is?," asked Heather Long, pit bull advocate and licensed veterinarian technician.

Long says the bill targets the wrong end of the leash.  She says educating dog owners would help public safety, not insurance policies.

"Any big dog can potentially kill somebody or attack somebody," she said. "If you raise them right, socialize them properly, you'll be fine." 

The bill was set to be heard at a March 20 subcommittee hearing.  Rep. Gilmore says she's not sure whether she'll bring the bill back up next year.

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