CSF Pushes Back on Problematic Commercial Dog Breeder Bill in Tennessee

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator


  • Last month, legislation was introduced that would require individuals who own 10 or more intact female dogs for the primary purpose of selling their offspring to register as a commercial dog breeder.
  • Sportsmen and women who own small kennels would be subject to the same regulations as large commercial dog breeding operations.
  • On March 17, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of opposition to members of the Senate Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee (Committee).

Why it Matters: Senate Bill 511 threatens Tennessee’s hunting heritage by imposing unnecessary regulatory oversight and increasing costs for sportsmen and women who keep dogs for hunting, field trials, and other sporting purposes.

Tennessee has stringent animal cruelty laws that require individuals to provide shelter and care for their animals. Enforcement of existing animal cruelty laws would be more effective than passing substandard kennel legislation. Additionally, commercial dog breeding operations are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Senate Bill 511 would only serve to place unnecessary regulations and fees on sportsmen and women who operate small kennels.

Senate Bill 511 would also allow local governments to adopt ordinances stricter than state law. The resulting patchwork of regulations would cause further confusion for sporting dog kennel owners throughout the state.

Prior to the Committee meeting, CSF coordinated with the Tennessee Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and other pro-sportsmen organizations to provide a unified voice opposing the legislation. Senate Bill 511 did not pass out of Committee and instead was assigned to a subcommittee where we are optimistic that it will be held for the remainder of the 2021 legislative session. 

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