Animal Law Forum Will Be May 17 at Nashville Zoo

The TBA's annual Animal Law Forum will have a unique spin this year - it has also been approved for veterinary continuing education. Attendees will be joined by the Nashville Zoo’s general counsel who will discuss conservation efforts and laws affecting procurement and care for zoo animals. Additional topics will include legal concerns for veterinarians, consideration of animals by the judiciary, ethics, legislative updates in the area and the development and application of legal rules governing the treatment of nonhuman animals. Don't miss this opportunity to earn CLE at the Nashville Zoo alongside veterinary professionals. It kicks off at 8 a.m. on May 17.
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Veterinarians Can Earn CE Credit at Animal Law Forum

The Tennessee Bar Association will host its annual Animal Law Forum at the Nashville Zoo on May 17. This unique opportunity, approved for five hours of CLE and also veterinary CE credit, will provide updates on trends and advancements of timely topics involving animals, while allowing participants to network and enjoy the fun and activities offered by the zoo. We will be joined by the organization's president and chief executive officer, and the zoo’s general counsel who will discuss conservation efforts and laws affecting procurement and care for zoo animals. Additional topics will include legal concerns for veterinarians, consideration of animals by judiciary, ethics, legislative updates in the area and the development and application of legal rules governing the treatment of nonhuman animals. A midday lunch is included, with additional time to explore the zoo, the recently added Expedition Peru exhibit and the new state-of-the-art veterinary sciences center. Don't miss this chance to fulfill necessary CE requirements while experiencing one of the top zoos in the nation.
When: Friday, May 17, registration at 8 a.m., CDT
Where: Nashville Zoo, 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville
Cost for Veterinarians: $245 – includes zoo admission, all programming, breakfast, lunch and course material
Register: Contact TBA Animal Law Section Coordinator Jarod Word at jword@tnbar, or by phone at 615.277.3221
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Fed. Judge Orders Iowa to Pay Legal Fees in 'Ag Gag' Case

A federal judge last week awarded more than $181,000 in legal fees to lawyers who successfully fought an Iowa law that made it illegal to conduct an animal cruelty investigation by becoming an employee of the farm being investigated, The Washington Post reports. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement sued the state over the law, instilled in 2012, on grounds the state was in violation of the constitutional right to free speech because of the ban. U.S. District Court Judge James Gritzner sided with the plaintiffs in the case, however, the state has appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Video Draws Attention to the Controversial Act of Soring

Footage recently obtained by Animal Wellness Action — a Washington, D.C.-based organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty — shows a horse in Alabama being subjected to soring, a very painful act where the horse’s hoof and lower legs are intentionally injured to produce a high-stepping gait known as the “Big Lick.” A farrier appeared in the video driving hot nails into the tender part inside the horse's hoof, with the trauma later resulting in renal failure for the animal. Though the practice is questionably legal, and he received no punishment for the incident, U.S. Congress is currently considering House Resolution 693, known as the PAST Act, which would ban the procedure entirely. The Act, according to American Horse Publications, "would amend the Horse Protection Act to ban the use at horse shows of devices that are integral to the soring process, eliminate the failed walking horse industry system of self-policing – putting the U.S. Department of Agriculture in charge of the licensure, training and oversight of all inspectors (as recommended by the agency’s Office of Inspector General in a 2010 audit) – and increase penalties for violations."

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7 New Job Postings on TBA’s Joblink

See who is hiring in Tennessee. Recent job postings this month offer opportunities in litigation, real estate, health law and more. See full listings or post positions in your firm on TBA’s Joblink.
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Register Now to Get Early Bird Rate for TBA Convention in Nashville

The Tennessee Bar Association returns to Downtown Nashville's Renaissance Hotel for its Annual Convention June 12-15, with even better programming, exhibits and fun! Register NOW and receive:

  • Free Access to ALL 9 Hours of CLE, including the Bench Bar Program, co-sponsored by the Tennessee Judicial Conference
  • Opening welcome reception
  • Bench Bar Luncheon (featuring keynote speaker, Ken Starr)
  • Law School and General Breakfasts
  • Lawyers Luncheon (featuring special honor for Sen. Lamar Alexander)
  • Thursday night joint reception sponsored with TLAW and TABL
  • Thursday night Dinner/Dance Party featuring My So-Called Band
  • Friday night TBALL/YLD Party
  • Access to activities and programming designed for well-being including massages, contemplative space and more.
  • Access to TBA's sponsorship hall to meet with exhibitors, participate in our special TBA Wellness Corner and win prizes.
• QUESTIONS: Just email to get help.

Early Bird Registration ends April 30, so register now to save $$$

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Appeals Court Sides With Plaintiff in Wrongful Death Case of Cat

A decision has been made in the appeals case regarding a wrongful death complaint against a veterinarian and an animal hospital where the defendants admitted to inserting a feeding tube into the cat’s trachea rather than her esophagus, causing the cat to aspirate and die. The trial court found the defendants were not liable because the cat was so ill, she likely would not have survived much longer. The Court of Appeals at Jackson reversed the decision and remanded the case for determination of damages. Here is the opinion authored by Court of Appeals Judge Andy D. Bennett.

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California Racetrack Sees 23rd Horse Death in 3 Months

A racetrack in California on Sunday saw its 23rd horse fatality in just over three months, The New York Times reports. Two horses collided at the San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita Park as they crossed a dirt surface that transitioned to turf, with one horse injuring its leg, then falling and tripping another. The horse that initially fell was later euthanized. The track had been closed since March 3 for renovations on the dirt portion because of the previous fatalities.

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PAWS Act Advances to Criminal Justice Subcommittee

HB852, dubbed the PAWS Act, is moving through the Tennessee State House and is scheduled for consideration by its Criminal Justice Subcommittee on April 3. The bill as introduced would amend TCA Title 29, Chapter 3; Title 39; Title 63, Chapter 12 and Title 66, making the first conviction of aggravated cruelty to five or more animals or a second conviction of aggravated cruelty to animals a Class C felony in lieu of the current Class E designation. The bill also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days incarceration.

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Supreme Court Adopts Changes to Rule 7

After opening the issue up to public comment earlier this year, the Tennessee Supreme Court has officially adopted amendments to Rule 7, which governs the admission and licensing of attorneys in the state. Changes include edits to the rules governing students attending non-American Bar Association accredited law schools, approval of law schools seeking ABA accreditation and more. The rule goes into effect immediately. The court received comments from deans, clinic directors and law school faculty members.
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Video Update: Legislature Heading Toward Session's End

As the General Assembly prepares for what it hopes will be the final month of this year's session, the TBA's weekly livestream video Legislative Update is now available for viewing on the TBA Facebook page. This week's edition focuses on the status of the TBA's remaining bills, other key pieces of legislation the TBA is watching, as well as a recent bill the TBA came out in opposition against. Tune in next week for a special guest!
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Registration Now Open for TBA Convention in Nashville, June 12-15

The TBA's annual Convention returns to downtown Nashville this summer! Mark your calendars for June 12-15 and prepare for four days of CLE, networking, entertainment and more at the Renaissance Hotel, 611 Commerce Street. Registration is officially open, with early bird rates available until April 30.
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Kingsport Animal Services Raises $2 million for New Animal Shelter

The city of Kingsport moved a step closer to opening its upgraded PETWORKS adoption shelter and community dog park, raising $2 million of its $3.5 million goal, the Kingsport Times-News reports. The 17,000 square foot facility will be housed on a 3.5-acre site, with an updated examination and clinical area that meets American Animal Hospital Association standards. It will feature dedicated adoption spaces with a quiet indoor adoption counseling area, a large multipurpose room for training, humane education courses, public pet training classes and a 1.2-acre dog park. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year, with the project to be completed in 2020.

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Nashville Zoo Opens New Veterinary Sciences Center

The Nashville Zoo opened its new 23,677-square-foot HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center last week, replacing a 30-year-old facility that struggled to meet the zoo’s growth. The state-of-the-art center will feature upgraded medical equipment, remote-controlled lighting, cameras and other modern features, along with viewing windows into the animal nursery rooms to watch feedings and care of baby animals. Docents, keepers and veterinary technicians will be on hand to answer questions and explain the animal care guests are witnessing. You will have the opportunity to tour the facility at the Animal Law Section Forum on May 17.

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Tennessee Horses Test Positive for Equine Influenza

Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Doug Balthaser announced last week that some horses returning from out-of-state events have tested positive for equine influenza virus (EIV), a highly contagious sickness that is spread by contaminated stable equipment and coughing horses. Symptoms of EIV include fever, nasal discharge, cough, loss of appetite and weakness, among others. The Department of Agriculture’s C. E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory offers free EIV testing for horses, in addition to screenings for equine infectious anemia, equine herpes virus, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis and eastern equine encephalitis.

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TBA Legislative Update: State of the State

Before the House chamber, Gov. Bill Lee recently delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly. He emphasized the importance of criminal justice reform and the need to move away from the “lock them up and throw away the key” mentality that he said has long prevailed in Tennessee. Lee also announced the creation of a task force, to be chaired by senior advisor and former judge Brandon Gibson, that will develop legislative and budgetary recommendations on various issues, including crime prevention, recidivism, victim support, mental health, and reforming the criminal code and sentencing guidelines. In the legislature next week, committee activity will continue to ramp up as leadership encourages members to put their bills on notice, with a target goal of May 1 for adjournment. See more legislative coverage via TBA's Legislative Updates on the TBA YouTube channel.
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TWRA Launches New App with Enhanced Features

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has created an app to make it easier for residents to check licensing status and get out to enjoy wildlife. “TWRA on the Go” will provide access to Tennessee rules and regulations, use geo-locating tools to enhance the recreational experience, determine sunrise/sunset times based on GPS location and feature an interactive map to find TWRA wildlife management areas. The app also features information about where to view animals across the state.

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General Assembly to Consider Enhancement of Animal Abuse Crimes

Tennessee lawmakers seek to enhance animal abuse statutes, making a second or subsequent conviction of aggravated cruelty to animals, or a first conviction of aggravated cruelty to animals involving five or more animals a Class C felony, which comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days of incarceration. The charges are currently considered a Class E felony with no mandatory confinement. The bill — HB0852/SB1277 — is scheduled for consideration by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Feb. 27.

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Wife of Man Who Committed Suicide After Alleged Animal Abuse Facing Charges

The wife of the Cleveland dog trainer arrested and charged with animal cruelty, who died by suicide shortly thereafter, is now facing charges of her own, the Cleveland Daily Banner reports. Morgan Kinder faces six counts of aggravated cruelty to animals because of five dead snakes and one dead lizard found in her home, with an additional 16 counts of animal cruelty related to neglected dogs on the property. Her husband and owner of Kinder Dog Training, Stephen Kinder, shot himself in a Cleveland parking lot on Feb. 7 after being released on bond for the crimes.

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Court Seeking Comments on Proposed Rule 46A

The Tennessee Supreme Court is considering the adoption of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 46A, which would govern the electronic service of papers that are e-filed, and it is seeking comments from the legal community and the public on the proposed rule. The deadline for submitting written comments is March 22. Comments should be e-mailed to or mailed to: James M. Hivner, Clerk, Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219-1407.
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Gov. Lee Provides Avenue for Public Feedback on Legislation

Gov. Bill Lee has taken an additional step in his commitment to “an open and transparent government,” creating a webpage for the public to view and provide feedback on legislation that has been submitted to him for consideration. Lee maintains that involving Tennesseans into the process more directly will increase accountability in how laws are made. The site will be updated regularly, as bills pass the Legislature and land on his desk.

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TBA to Introduce Legal Document Generation

The TBA will soon launch a new subscription-based product for Tennessee lawyers — automated legal forms. The initiative will use HotDocs, a custom documentation generator that creates form templates and speeds up the preparation process based on client and case data. In order to provide this valuable resource to our members, we hope to obtain your comments and ideas on forms you deem beneficial for replication. With across-the-board participation, we can comprise a substantive, comprehensive database where subscribers will have access to forms submitted by all TBA sections. Please send suggestions and comments to TBA Membership Director Mindy Fulks.

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Insurance Solutions for You, Your Family & Your Firm

TBA Member Insurance Solutions is your full service insurance agency offering you experience, accessibility and personal attention with great customer service. We have a wide range of plans for your firm, as well as for you and your family. And, with access to many top-rated carriers, we can provide you with plans tailored to meet your specific needs. Call 800-347-1109, email or visit us at
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TBA Weekly Legislative Update

The Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives are back in session and are referring newly introduced bills to the appropriate committees, which are primarily holding organizational meetings this week. The deadline for filing all legislation is Feb. 6, so there will be a flood of bills introduced over the next two weeks. The TBA Governmental Affairs Team will be reviewing all bills and begin the process of forwarding the legislation affecting the practice of law to the appropriate Section Executive Councils for review and feedback. Stay tuned for more info.
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Greene County Groups Aid Dogs from Georgia Puppy Mill Raids

Animal rescue groups in Greene County are playing an integral role in the recovery of hundreds of dogs recently rescued from Georgia puppy mills, WJHL News reports. The Atlanta Humane Society rescued the dogs found in "extremely neglectful" conditions from properties in Georgia’s Montgomery and Candler counties. Thirty eight of the estimated 400 dogs were relinquished to the Greene Pets Foster Network, which worked with others in the community to ensure that the animals receive proper care and are safely transported to a specialty rescue program in Maryland. The owner of the puppy mills was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

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