Animal advocates are worried about something that's set to happen this summer, as a law many people fought for will not be renewed.
The state will stop inspecting dog breeders, allowing them to be unregulated and unlicensed, so some are concerned puppy mills and other abuses could easily fly beneath the radar of officials.
The last straw that finally sparked the new law in 2009 was the seizure of 736 dogs in Hickman County. Puppy breeders were then inspected once a year and licensed.
Breeders like Joy Dillon, with the Nashville Kennel Club, say the law was working perfectly.
"Just like you feel comfortable with a licensed plumber, it's the same thing. It protects the consumer, and Tennessee needs to be known for having nice, healthy pets and a certain amount of protection for the consumer," she said.
The law was not renewed this year because it was costing state about $200,000 a year to enforce.
"We're going to look at the loopholes, and where we want to get to is we want the breeders in favor of this. We want folks that have animals, that breed animals, to be able to put on there 'Tennessee-certified breeder,'" said State Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin.
Haile wants to craft a bill that puts enforcement and licensing in the hands of sheriff's departments. He believes the sheriffs can perform this duty in the course of their duty without a loss in revenue.
But some worry that sheriff's deputies aren't qualified to determine animal quality issues.
The issue is likely to come up again for consideration next year in the state legislature.
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Wednesday, September 17 2014 4:31 AM EDT2014-09-17 08:31:11 GMT
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