A resolution of the Metropolitan Council of Nashvile & Davidson County calling upon the Tennessee General Assembly to adopt enhanced state regulation of large scale commercial dog breeders a/k/a “puppy mills”.

WHEREAS, according to the Humane Society of the United States, “puppy mills” are inhumane, unsanitary, large-scale, commercial dog breeding facilities where the health and welfare of animals is not adequately provided for. According to The Humane Society of the United States, it is estimated that 10,000 puppy mills exist in the United States and nearly 1,800 are USDA licensed. In Tennessee, there are 34 USDA licensed breeders and brokers; and there are an estimated 80 unlicensed USDA breeders in Tennessee that meet the threshold for breeding females under the Animal Welfare Act; and

WHEREAS, the documented abuses endemic to puppy mills include large numbers of animals overcrowded in stacked wire cages; sanitation problems leading to infectious disease; lack of proper veterinary care for severe illnesses and injuries; lack of protection from harsh weather conditions; lack of adequate food and water; lack of socialization; breeding multiple times per year with little to no recovery time between litters; and breeding with disregard to congenital or hereditary diseases; and

WHEREAS, animals that come from “puppy mills” often face an array of health problems, including communicable diseases and genetic disorders that may not surface until several years after sale, leading to costly veterinary bills and emotional distress to individuals and families; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee does not have any laws regulating puppy mills, and existing regulation under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) does not effectively protect the health, safety and welfare of animals bred at “puppy mills”; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council strongly encourages the adoption of enhanced state regulation of “puppy mills” and urges the Tennessee General Assembly to pursue stricter laws governing the pet trade; and

WHEREAS, such enhanced regulation includes, but is not limited to, licensing commercial breeding facilities with 10 or more intact females, inspecting breeding facilities annually, hands-on vet examinations, prohibiting stacking of primary enclosures, prohibiting wire flooring in primary enclosures, expanding the primary enclosure size to two times the current federally mandated size, restricting breeding to a maximum of two litters per 18-month period, limiting the breeding age to 18 months before being bred for the first time, requiring a screening program for inheritable diseases, requiring grooming and nail trimming at least twice a year, requiring unfettered access to an exercise area twice the amount of space in the primary enclosures, and requiring unfettered access to potable water; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council wishes to express its support for the humane care and treatment of animals, promote community awareness of the issue of “puppy mills”, and encourage individuals and families to adopt dogs from animal rescue organizations or to purchase their pets from reputable and conscientious breeders; and


Section 1. That the Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County strongly encourages the Tennessee General Assembly to adopt enhanced regulation of large-scale commercial dog breeders.

Section 2. That the Metro Clerk is directed to forward a copy of this resolution to members of the Davidson County delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly.

Section 3. That this Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Sheri Weiner, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Mina Johnson, Colby Sledge


Referred to: Health, Hospitals and Social Services Committee
Introduced: July 19, 2016
Adopted: July 19, 2016
Returned unsigned by the Mayor: July 20, 2016

Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615/862-6770.