Dog Bites in Tennessee and around the Country are becoming more and more common.  According to the government, 60% of Americans own at least one dog.  And, for the most part, they are conscientious pet owners, taking good care of their animals and making responsible choices.  However, there are some people who do not realize the legal responsibility they have in Tennessee to retain control over their dog and to protect other citizens from being bitten by them.  Some pet owners say “my dog is gentle and would never hurt anyone”, but they fail to realize that a dog can sometimes turn vicious to a person outside of their “pack” for a variety of reasons.  Other people are simply bad owners and do not teach their dog to be obedient or social, nor do they make sure their dog stays on their property.

In Tennessee, the legislature passed a law in 2007 to specifically address dog bite incidences.  This law is called the “Dianna Acklen Act of 2007”.  Dianna Acklen was a 60 year old woman killed by 3 unrestrained dogs while walking in her neighborhood in Decherd, Tennessee.  Under the old law, dog owners were not responsible for any damage or injuries their dog caused as long as it could be proven that it was the first time they had bitten someone.  The Acklen Act takes away the “free bite”.  Now, under Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) 44-8-413, dog owners are required to keep their dogs under control and from running at large.  If the owner fails to do so, they are financially responsible for any damages or injuries their dog causes.  It no longer matters if the dog’s owner had prior knowledge that their dog might be aggressive.

This statute excludes military or police dogs who are acting in their official duties, injury to a person who is trespassing on the private residential or nonresidential property of the owner, or if the dog was confined in a secure location.

For the complete wording of T.C.A. Code 44-8-413, please click here.

If you have been bitten by a dog, you need a good Tennessee dog bite attorney to make sure you get the recovery and relief you are due from this painful experience.  Contact the attorneys at Keith Williams Law Group for your free consultation because, while you could not foresee that the negligence of a dog owner would result in your injury, you can take measures now to protect your rights with competent and experienced Tennessee dog bite lawyers.