New animal welfare laws all pet owners should know

There are new laws in the State of Tennessee and ordinances in the City of Knoxville that provide new standards regarding how pet owners care for animals, especially those living outside.

All pet owners should take a minute to familiarize themselves with updates to animal welfare laws, since there are consequences for violations.

The new rules largely center on shelter and tethering for outdoor animals.


Shelter rules outline and define how water should be provided, where outdoor shelter should be located, the size and features of the shelter – such as roofing and flooring – and how much room outdoor pets should have for movement and exercise. The new rules indicate the conditions of fencing for pet enclosures and detailed conditions under which pets should be brought indoors.


New tethering rules dictate the types of collars, length of the tether and what amenities must be within reach, such as shade and clean water. There are limitations on the age and medical condition of the animal and rules for the tethered animal to be under direct human supervision.

Click here to see the full list of rules surrounding the care of animals. It’s in the Chapter 5 – ANIMALS section of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Knoxville in section 5-34. It takes about five minutes to read and outlines the rules and consequences surrounding the care of animals. The City of Knoxville changes reflect the state changes.

Young-Williams Animal Center supports healthy standards of living for all pets, and we continue to work toward appropriate legislation and ordinances that improve the lives of all pets.

Thank you for being a supportive, proactive and caring pet owner!