Press Release from Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, March 23, 2010:
Bill would exempt those assisting stray pets from civil liability
NASHVILLE – Good Samaritans who rescue stray pets would be exempt from civil liability penalties under a bill sponsored by state Sen. Douglas Henry (D-Nashville) and passed unanimously Monday in the state Senate.
“Those who want to help animals in need must be able to do so without fear of being blamed for situations beyond their control,” Henry said. “Our laws already protect Good Samaritans who help people, and it’s time we extended those protections to those helping pets.”
Under the bill (SB2796), those who attempt to help stray, non-livestock animals like dogs and cats would be exempt from civil liability penalties for any unintentional resulting injury or harm to the animals.
“People who stop and assist sick and injured animals they come upon help not only the animals, but also the owners who love them and might otherwise lose them,” said Laurie Loughlin, a state-certified domestic animal rescuer with the Tennessee Disaster Animal Response Team, or DART. “I am grateful to Senator Henry for sponsoring this bill to protect these Good Samaritans.”
Good Samaritans would still be required to attempt to contact owners through available animal identification tags, as well as to post notices at shelters and animal control agencies. Veterinarians and animal control agency personnel providing care for the animal would also be exempt from civil liability, provided their actions were not malicious or negligent.
The House version of the bill awaits action.