General Assembly passes protections against animal abuse

The General Assembly this week approved legislation that updates the Veterinarian Medical Practice Act to allow veterinarians in the state to report suspected animal abuse. 

House Bill 2079, sponsored by State Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, will authorize veterinarians, while acting in a professional capacity and in a current veterinarian-client-patient relationship, to file a report to authorities if they have reasonable cause to believe that an animal has been subjected to animal cruelty. They would also be able to testify in judicial proceedings regarding an animal’s care without violating veterinarian-client-patient confidentiality.

“Animal cruelty is a serious crime in Tennessee and it was important that we clarify the Veterinarian Medical Practice Act to ensure our experts could, in fact, advocate for animals,” said Terry. “This kind of law is in place in surrounding states and I am honored to be able to work with our veterinarian association and the Farm Bureau to put these common-sense protections in place for our veterinarians and our animals.”

In addition, House Bill 2079 provides immunity from any breach of confidentiality if veterinarians are acting in good faith in reporting the suspected abuse.

The bill now heads to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law.

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