Stop Leaving Animals to Die Alone in Abandoned Houses

Target: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee

Goal: Allow authorities to rescue animals from homes shortly after they have been abandoned.

An abandoned animal left inside a home in Tennessee cannot be legally rescued without the property owner’s permission or a warrant. The law needs to change so that animals callously left behind by their owners do not suffer and die in agony.

One dog allegedly died because of being abandoned and left inside a room with only a bag of dog food. Even though officers were able to find the owner, they were not allowed to enter the home to rescue the apparently abandoned dog, because they did not have property rights to the home.

Currently in Tennessee police need to have a warrant to remove an animal from someone’s residence. Even worse, animal control is required to post a notice pertaining to the abandoned animal for at least five days before they can try to obtain any such warrant. If this law does not change, many more animals will likely die in needlessly. Demand authorities be able to rescue abandoned animals shortly after they are reported to ensure the law is not on the side of the people who commit these cruel acts.


Dear Governor Lee,

Police are not able to rescue animals that owners left behind in Tennessee, because they do not have the right to go inside someone else’s house. If this law does not change, many more animals will likely die alone.

A dog allegedly recently died even though there were three different phone calls to authorities letting them know that the animal had been left alone inside the house. Officers were not able to enter the home after getting a hold of the owner, since they were not granted permission to do so. In these types of situations, officers must leave up a notice for five days in reference to the abandoned animal. If nobody responds to the notice, or if authorities are not granted permission to enter the home, they still cannot rescue the abandoned animal without first getting a warrant.

We strongly urge you to push for state legislation that would allow authorities to rescue animals in homes shortly after they were thought to have been abandoned. Animals that are starving due to abandonment do not have time to wait for notices to be answered or arrest warrants to be issued.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ivan Bandura

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  1. Terrie Phenicie says:

    It is interesting that pet owners have no recourse when someone hurts or kills their pet because pets are considered to be chattel in most or all jurisdictions, but, owners need to give permission for their pets to be rescued. WOW!!!

  2. Linda Hilty-Tuttle says:

    STUPID, IDIOTIC LAW that must be changed ASAP!!!!!!

  3. Should be a no brainer! This action should be a normal reaction for a life or death situation

  4. Mary Harrington says:

    What? This is stupid! You have to have permission to save a life? I guess if a pet is left in a car that is 100 degrees, you have to stand there and watch the animal suffer and die until the owner comes to the car. What is wrong with this state or any other that shares the same stupidity?

  5. Luz Rosario says:

    To The individual in charged of this STUPID, IDIOTIC LAW, why don’t you stay in an abandoned apartment or home without food and water until your rescued, that’s if they know your there!!!! If your lucky to be rescued, let us know how it feels to be abandoned!!! NO ANIMAL DESERVES THIS TREATMENT, THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!

  6. Linda Hilty-Tuttle says:

    I have ZERO respect for anyone who abandons an animal for any reason!!!!

  7. Evan Jane Kriss says:

    This law makes NO SENSE and must be overturned NOW.

  8. Ruth Tekell says:

    This petition is only one letter, virtually signed by about 1500 people. But imagine how much more effective your voice would be if the governor received over 1500 letters! Below is the his contact information and a sample letter you may use:

    Bill Lee, Governor

    State Capitol, 1st Floor
    600 Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Blvd.
    Nashville, TN 37243

    Governor Lee, In your state police need to have a warrant to remove an animal from someone’s residence, and animal control is required to post a notice pertaining to the abandoned animal for at least five days before they can try to obtain any such warrant. That is five days beyond the time the animal has likely already gone without food or water!

    There is already enough pain and suffering in the world, but you are choosing to add to it by allowing this law to remain in effect, a law that protects animal abusers and allows innocent pets to die slowly from starvation and neglect. No one who so willfully protects animal abusers and promotes such misery and death deserves to walk freely in decent society, much less be governor!

    Please show that you are a humane and compassionate person with a conscience, and eliminate these restrictions on pet rescues now!

    –An outraged citizen

  9. What a stupid law, no and ifs or buts. Wake up! It’s the 21st century!

  10. Stupid law – police should be allowed to enter any building Yo rescue cats or cats or other pets whose lives are at risk and to fully prosecute The owners of these animals – cruel and archaic law – should be changed

  11. Jaime Perez says:

    What a disgusting law! I can’t believe the stupidity of the authorities in these matters. If an animal needs to be rescued, then there should be no questions, just do it!!

  12. Jackie Pflucker says:

    Dear Governor Lee,
    Even though officers were NOT able to find the owner, ‘they were not allowed to enter the home to rescue the apparently abandoned dog, because they did not have PERMISSION to enter the home?

  13. I demand authorities be able to rescue abandoned precious and innocent animals asap after they are reported. This vile and evil Law that allows these animal torturing monsters to leave their animals to die must be changed immediately. Always the precious and innocent animals made to suffer and die an agonising death because of their vile and evil lowlife families who couldn’t care less.The vile and evil owners of these precious and helpless sentient beings are the monsters who must be brought to Justice and put to death. Not the precious and helpless animals. h The coronavirus wasn,t caused from the innocent animals.
    It was the vile and evil animal torturing murdering Chinese who caused this vile and evil Coronavirus – COVID-19 not the precious and innocent sentient beings. The initial lowlife human Chinese victims of the coronavirus were all connected to the vile and evil animal torturing murdering “wet” animal meat farms in vile and evil Wuhan, China, where thousands of terrified innocent and defenceless animals were tortured and butchered alive in blood soaked filthy conditions, with the blood soaked floors covered in blood and guts and body parts of precious and innocent sentint beings who had been hacked to death alive. Down with filthy and evil China.

  14. What kind of boneheads make the laws in Tennessee …

  15. Patrick Butler says:

    Change the damn law, already!

  16. Animal abuse is not acceptable.International laws are required re mandatory death penalty implementation for animal abuse.A prison sentence is not adequate.Tennessee laws are antiquated and disgraceful. Wake-up stupid,uneducated Tennessee who encourages abuse of poor defenceless animals,we are in year 2020 ,not the year 1800

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