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Working for Change in Tennessee

A timeline

The Humane Society of the United States

  • The HSUS's state director for Tennessee, Leighann Lassiter, has helped rescue scores of animals in the state. The HSUS

With some of the weakest animal cruelty and cockfighting laws in the nation, Tennessee has been the focus of concerted efforts by The HSUS in recent years.

Working both on the ground and in the legislature, The HSUS has been at the forefront of the charge to improve the lot of Tennessee's animals.

This timeline highlights some of our recent rescue work and legislative efforts on behalf of animals in the Volunteer State between 2008 and mid-2011.

June 30, 2011: The HSUS helps the Warren County District Attorney seize 22 horses from a hoarding situation. 

June 1, 2011: The HSUS assists West Tennessee Animal Rescue with the transportation and placement of 30 dogs from a puppy mill.

April 22, 2011: The HSUS helps the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office with the capture, care, and placement of feral dogs at an abandoned home. 

Feb. 2, 2011: The HSUS leads the rescue of 97 dogs and one cat in Marshall County.

June 26, 2010: The HSUS assists in the cockfighting raid in Polk County.

April 10, 2010: The HSUS assists in the rescue of 240 dogs from a puppy mill in Sparta.

March 10, 2010: The HSUS assists Grainger County Humane Services with the rescue and veterinary care of 125 cats.

Dec. 4, 2009: The HSUS assists Grainger County officials with the rescue of 17 animals from a hoarding situation.

Nov. 24, 2009: The HSUS helps in the rescue of 84 food-deprived horses and mules—many too weak to stand—from a Cannon County farm.

Sept. 25, 2009: The HSUS assists Sumner County officials in the rescue of 108 border collies living what rescuers describe as "muck"—a mixture of mud, urine, and feces—from a Portland, Tenn., puppy mill.

Aug. 31, 2009: The HSUS assists with the rescue of 75 neglected dogs, cats, and horses in Dickson County. Dickson County Sheriff Wall tells reporters, "They have all those resources we don't have. After they came down here, I went on the Internet and joined, and set up an automatic deduction out of my paycheck for them."

July 10, 2009: Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signs puppy mill legislation into law.

June 18, 2009: Both legislative chambers pass puppy mill legislation.

June 2009: The HSUS assists the Warren County District Attorney with the seizure of 48 dogs and exotic animals living in squalor. In addition to dogs, the owner kept arctic foxes, wolf hybrids, tortoises, and coatimundis for breeding to stock a pet store the owner was planning to open.

May 16, 2009: The HSUS assists in the raid of the Shiloh Game Club in Lewis County, where deputies arrest and charge 239 people with being a spectator at a cockfight.

March 10, 2009: Nearly 100 animal advocates rally at the state capitol to urge legislators to pass the puppy mill and cockfighting spectator law.

March 7, 2009: The Sumner County Sheriff's Office raids a cockfight in which 48 are arrested. According to the sheriff's office, men, women, and children—including one 8-month-old child—were in attendance.

Dec. 30, 2008: In Nashville, federal DEA agents raid one of the largest illegal cockfighting pits ever uncovered in the U.S. and arrest 11 suspected members of a Mexican drug cartel.

Nov. 2008: The HSUS not only assists the Wayne County Sheriff's Department with 46 pit bulls seized in a dogfighting raid, but gives the department a $10,000 grant to help with the cost of the effort.

Nov. 24, 2008: The HSUS honors Hickman County District Attorney General Kim Helper and Special Agent Barry Carroll for their work in shutting down the Franklin, Tenn., puppy mill operation.

Aug. 18, 2008: Animal cruelty charges (including 24 felony counts) are filed against the owner of a Hickman County puppy mill.

June 2008: The HSUS assists the Hickman County District Attorney with the seizure, care, and placement of 747 dogs, horses, cats, and exotic birds from a puppy mill.  

Mar. 13, 2008: Memphis Police seize 14 pit bulls from dogfighting operation as a result of information called into The HSUS's animal fighting tip line.

Feb. 2008: The HSUS's Disaster Animal Response Team travels to Sumner County to help animals hurt and displaced by deadly tornadoes.


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