Press Releases

Philip Gordon Named Animal Welfare Director

Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Health, March 29, 2010:

New Division Will Enforce Commercial Breeders Act

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Philip Gordon, DVM, has been named director of the newly created Division of Animal Welfare in the Tennessee Department of Health. In this position, he will oversee implementation of the Commercial Breeders Act and lead the department’s efforts to ensure compliance with the new law among Tennessee’s cat and dog breeders.

“Dr. Gordon’s experience in state government and in the private sector has given him tremendous organizational and management skills, and I am pleased he has accepted the challenge of directing this new division,” said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “His background in animal care and regulatory medicine are an asset to the program and I am confident he will provide solid leadership in his new role.”

As director of the Division of Animal Welfare, Gordon will establish the new program to ensure compliance with the Commercial Breeders Act, which regulates Tennessee’s cat and dog breeders. Passed into law in 2009, the act requires licensure for individuals owning 20 or more unsterilized cats or dogs for the purpose of selling the offspring as companion animals. The law also includes requirements for standards of care, conditions and inspection of premises and completion of an annual report by licensees. Those found to be in violation of the law stand to face disciplinary action and/or civil penalties.

“I am excited about this new opportunity to continue my service to the people of Tennessee and look forward to the challenges of this new position and to working with Commissioner Cooper and the Department of Health,” said Gordon.

Gordon’s responsibilities as Animal Welfare Director include implementation of the licensing program for commercial dog and cat breeders; supervision of field activities of five animal health technicians; coordination of educational outreach to pet breeders and the public about both state and federal laws and inspection procedures; and ensuring applicants meet requirements for licensure as commercial breeders.

Gordon has 35 years of experience as a veterinarian and manager and comes to the Department of Health from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, where he has served as assistant state veterinarian since 2005. In this position, Gordon served as manager for the dog and cat dealer licensing program and had oversight of all state animal disease control programs. Gordon also served as the Animal Health Section contact for emergency management incidents involving animals. He has devoted two terms of service to the Department of Agriculture, from 1992 through 1994 and most recently from 2000 through the present. Gordon has also provided veterinary care services for clinics in Murfreesboro and Pulaski, Tenn. and Madison, Ala., and managed his own veterinary practice in Pulaski from 1975 through 1992.

Gordon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Vanderbilt University and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Auburn University. In addition, he has completed numerous training courses provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. He is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Tennessee, and has held licenses in both Alabama and Mississippi.

To learn more about the Division of Animal Welfare, visit the Department of Health Web site at

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