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Animal Control and Animal Shelter Regulatory Information

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Reviewed Date: May 30, 2017

Original Author: 
Norris, Margaret
Date of Material: 
Aug 17, 2001

Animal control
Animal control--Laws and regulations

Animal Control and Animal Shelter Regulatory Information

Resources to answer questions regarding animal control and animal shelter regulations.

Knowledgebase-Animal Control and Animal Shelter Regulatory InformationSENT VIA EMAIL:

Thanks for your call on Monday. To answer your questions regarding animal control, I have located several resources for you. You had asked if there were any state regulations regarding animal shelters, and the answer is no. I also researched federal regulations and found nothing there either. In fact, at the Animal Welfare Information Center website http://www.nal.usda.gov/awicreaders are referred to local laws. Useful at that site is the frequently asked questions section.

The most useful website I found was the National Animal Control Association. The address is
. If you scroll about halfway down the page, you'll come across National Animal Control Association Policies. They are organized by topic and very useful. For $20 they offer a CD-ROM with sample ordinances, policies and procedures, and job descriptions that they have collected from shelters across the nation. If interested, look under the Resource Library section toward the end of the site. Other sites that may be of interest include

As far as state regulations, I told you there were none for shelters. However, there are regulations regarding euthanasia. See TCA 44-17-301 through 305. (side note - public chapter 70 of 2001 just changed some of these regulations so look for a MTAS hot topic on this issue soon). Also regulated are adoptions. See TCA 44-17-501 through 505. Finally, grant money is available to provide low-cost spaying and neutering and to prevent/reduce animal overpopulation. These funds are available from the "animal friendly" license plate sales - see TCA 55-4-290. If you don't have access to the TCA books, you can find them online at http://www.michie.com/resources1.html.

One last tidbit of information for you - the city of Hohenwald just built a new shelter. I understand it will hold up to about 20 dogs. One of the city employees designed the shelter and saved the city a considerable amount of money. They are very proud of their accomplishment and would be happy to share their information.

I hope this information get you headed in the right direction. Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of any other assistance.

Margaret Norris

Municipal Management Consultant


Municipal Technical Advisory Service

University of Tennessee


(615) 532-4942


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Information written by MTAS staff was based on the law at the time and/or a specific sets of facts. The laws referenced may have changed and/or the technical advice provided may not be applicable to your city or circumstances. Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information posted to this website.