An Ordinance to amend the Metropolitan Code of Laws to address the hoarding of animals in poor sanitary conditions.

Whereas, companion animal hoarding is dangerous to the health and welfare of the animals, the hoarding party(ies), and others; and

Whereas, the current enforcement mechanism of fining the hoarder and removing the animals has not deterred animal hoarders; and

Whereas, a program of education, counseling, and monitoring may be more effective in deterring repetitive hoarding.


Section 1. A new section of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is hereby created, and this section shall be numbered 8.12.080 and entitled COMPANION ANIMAL HOARDING, which section shall read as follows:

A. For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed to them by this section:

"Adequate Care" shall include but not be limited to medical treatment for illness, injury, disease, excessive parasitism, or any malformations.
"Adequate Food" means food that is not spoiled or contaminated and is of sufficient quantity and quality to meet the normal daily requirements for the condition and size of the animal and the environment in which it is kept. An animal shall be fed or have food available at least once each day, unless a licensed veterinarian instructs otherwise, or withholding is in accordance with accepted agricultural or veterinarian practices.
"Adequate Shelter" means a structure or enclosure which provides an animal with protection from the elements (weather), which structure or enclosure must have a roof, floor and three sides, and be of sufficient size as to allow each animal to stand up, lie down and turn around in a natural position.
"Adequate Water" means fresh, potable water provided at suitable intervals for the species, and which, in no event, shall exceed 24 hours at any interval. The animal must have access to the water.
"Companion animal" means domesticated animals kept in or near the household for the primary purpose of companionship for member(s) the household and/or companionship for other such animals. This includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, ferrets, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and species that a reasonable person would consider to be a pet. Any animal defined as "wildlife" by MCL 8.16.010 shall not be considered a companion animal for the purposes of this section. The keeping of fowl, swine, cattle, cows, sheep, horses, mules or goats shall not be governed by this section but shall be governed by other applicable sections of this Code.
"Person" means any individual, firm, partnership or corporation, or authorized agent or representative of a person, partnership or corporation.

B. No person may possess, lodge, or maintain over five companion animals if such a person displays a general disregard for the conditions under which the animals are living, including, but not limited to, failing to provide all of the following to all of the companion animals in his care: adequate food, water, shelter, and care.

C. A person in violation of this section 8.12.080 is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction for companion animal hoarding, the court may order that the person do any or all of the following:

1. Be precluded from owning, harboring, or having custody or control of companion animals for a period of time that the court deems reasonable.
2. Participate in available animal cruelty prevention program(s) or educational program(s), or both.
3. Undergo a behavioral health evaluation and comply with any recommendations resulting from the evaluation.
4. Forfeit to Metro Animal Control animals that are the basis of conviction.
5. Sterilize the companion animals, with sterilization being mandatory upon a second violation.
6. Pay appropriate fees and fines.

Section 2. Section 8.12.060 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is hereby amended by deleting "Sections 8.12.030, 8.12.040, and 8.12.050" and substituting therein "Sections 8.12.030, 8.12.040, 8.12.050, or 8.12.080".

Section 3. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its final passage, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Erik Cole, Mike Jameson, Billy Walls


Introduced: November 15, 2005
Passed First Reading: November 15, 2005
Referred to: Health, Hospitals & Social Services Committee
Passed Second Reading: December 6, 2005 
Passed Third Reading: December 20, 2005 
Approved: December 30, 2005