NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Legislation that requires a person who records livestock abuse to turn over their images to law enforcement authorities was approved by the State Senate on Tuesday. The bill, sponsored by Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), aims to stop animal cruelty immediately by calling for any intentional video recordings, photographs or digital images to be handed over to authorities within 48 hours for possible prosecution.
“I appreciate Senator Gresham’s willingness to get out in front of this issue and to address abuse of these animals as soon as possible,” said Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga), who supported the bill. “I was pleased to support the bill and glad to see its passage in the State Senate. This type of law has been responsible for early intervention in elderly abuse, money laundering and fraud in government.”
The bill prescribes a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine only for those who record video or digital images of abuse and who do not report them to authorities.
“Medical professionals are required to report suspected abuse of our patients immediately in order to protect the patient,” added Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), an emergency room physician who also supported the legislation. “This bill, likewise, requires immediate reporting to ensure no further harm to the animal.”
“This legislation ensures law enforcement officials have the information they need to prosecute cruelty to these animals,” added Gresham. “I appreciate the support of my colleagues and hope that, upon passage by the House of Representatives, it will help bring abusers to justice.”