TENNESSEE allows domestic violence protective orders to include pets. In addition, federal law includes the crime of stalking and actions that make the victim fear that the stalker will hurt the victim’s pet, service or emotional support animal, or horse (18 U.S.C. § 2261A (2019)).
As per the Animal Legal & Historical Center website1,
Summary: Under Tennessee’s Domestic Abuse Act, the definition section states that “abuse” includes inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an adult or minor. Section 606(9) allows the court to direct the care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor residing in the household. Further, in no instance shall the animal be placed in the care, custody, or control of the respondent, but shall instead be placed in the care, custody or control of the petitioner or in an appropriate animal foster situation. T. C. A. § 36-3-601 – 606
If your state does not include pet protection in restraining orders, there may be alternatives that assist your petition in the role animal abuse plays in domestic violence, such as:
- specifying animal cruelty as a behavior to prove why a protective order is needed
- detailing animal abuse or threats against the victim’s pet(s) as part of the abuse, intimidation tactics, or criminal stalking
- giving consent to “cross-report”, ie. animal control sees signs of domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse
If you discover any of the above information has changed, is outdated, or is otherwise incorrect before we do, please drop us an email and let us know. Thank you.
*Information in the "Policy" section does not constitute as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for any and all legal advice. (1) Animal Legal & Historical Center, Map of State Laws Allowing Domestic Violence Orders to Include Pets, https://www.animallaw.info/content/map-state-laws-allowing-domestic-violence-orders-include-pets