NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — State Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) has introduced legislation to expand the state’s animal cruelty laws concerning dogs.

Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol)

Lundberg’s Senate Bill 1788 would create standards for shelter that must be provided to dogs. Under the bill, anyone with a dog in their custody would be required to provide shelter in a structure that “must be four sided and ventilated with an entrance on one side, a roof, and a solid floor that is in good repair and allows the dog to remain reasonably dry and maintain normal body temperature.”

The structure would have to be large enough for a dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in and must protect the dog from adverse weather and direct sunlight.

During cold weather, the shelter would have to contain adequate bedding material. In the summer months, a separate natural or artificial shaded area outside of the structure would have to be accessible by the dog.

Failure to provide adequate shelter would be considered animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class E felony for a second or subsequent offense.

Another bill would make it a misdemeanor to restrain a dog with a chain, tether, or similar device while a disaster is occurring or imminent. This includes when there is severe flooding, a tornado warning has been issued by the National Weather Service, or a voluntary or mandatory evacuation has been ordered.

However, someone would only be prosecuted if they had previously received a warning citation for violating the new law. Someone could still be charged with animal cruelty if their conduct resulted in the dog suffering bodily injury.