Reference Number: 
CTAS-573

The county legislative body, by resolution, may "license and regulate dogs and cats, establish and operate shelters and other animal control facilities, and regulate, capture, impound and dispose of stray dogs, stray cats and other stray animals." T.C.A. § 5-1-120.

It is unlawful to own, keep or harbor a dog or cat six months old or older that has not been vaccinated for rabies by or under the supervision of a veterinarian.  Counties and municipalities are authorized to adopt local resolutions or ordinances to require registration of dogs or cats in their jurisdiction.  Any such local laws must include methods for collecting registration fees and must require expenditure of the funds solely to establish and maintain a rabies control program, to conduct animal control activities, to ensure that dogs and cats are properly vaccinated and that biting animals or rabies suspects are observed or confined in accordance with state law and regulations.  If the local law meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the state law, the local law, not the state law, will apply in that jurisdiction.  T.C.A. § 68-8-101, et seq.