TN Death Row Dogs

Our mission at Tennessee Death Row Dogs is to promote the adoption of animals, network and rescue dogs that are scheduled for euthanasia and educate the public about the importance of spay/neuter in reducing the number of homeless animals.

Where is the "nice" in Rep. Niceley?

Recently I have been very frustrated by our states reputation regarding the staggering number of animal abuse cases.

The Humane Society ranks our states animal cruelty laws near the very bottom of the nation.  They have also ranked us the worst state for protecting animals.

Who do we have to blame for this reputation and complete lack of respect for the plight of our animals?  I may not know all the names, but there is one name I know very well, Rep. Niceley of Knoxville.

Let me tell you a little bit about Mr. Niceley.  You might want to go grab a cup of coffee, or find a comfortable spot because I have a lot to say.

Last year he proposed a bill to bring a horse slaughterhouse to Tennessee.  He claimed this was to ensure that horses were being slaughtered humanely, but when you get to know him better it's obvious there is nothing humane about this man.  The horse slaughter facilities that were in the U.S. before the last one was shut down in TX, were primarily foreign owned facilities.  We allowed them to open these slaughterhouses in our country and slaughter America's horses.  It's not the humane slaughter methods, he is worried about.  Rep. Niceley is only concerned with the money that would be paid by foreigners to operate such a facility and the high price those overseas will pay for horse meat.  He is more concerned with lining his pockets, then he is the treatment of our horses.  If his claims were true, he would have supported the federal Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, HR503/S727.  A bill which would ban horse slaughter and would prevent horses from being hauled outside of the US for slaughter.

Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, has stated that the Humane Society has spent millions of dollars deploying to Tennessee to help our animals which is more than they've spent in any other state.  He also added that TN has one of the weakest anti-cock-fighting laws in the entire country.  There have been repeated bills proposed to change this law and they have been consistently blocked by members of the House Agricultural Committee.  Mr. Pacelle was also quoted saying, "The leader of the House Agricultural Committee says cock fighting promotes tourism and that's good for the state's economy."

The leader of the House Agricultural Committee also told Nashville's news 2 that cock-fighting is part of Tennessee's heritage.  Adding that he doesn't believe it warrants more punishment than a misdemeanor, which is the current law.  If someone is caught at a cock-fight in Tennessee, the punishment is a $50 fine, which is less than a speeding ticket.

Guess who is the leader of the House Agricultural Committee?.........Wait for it..... Rep. Niceley of Knoxville!

He also had these intelligent comments to say, "I don’t go to rooster fights and I don’t have fighting roosters but I have friends that do.  They pay their taxes.  They’re not bothering anybody. ... It’s been going on for centuries; I don’t know what the big deal is.”  Statements like these from Rep. Niceley embarrass the entire state, not to mention himself.

Especially considering that cock-fighting was banned as a cruel blood sport in Tennessee in 1881.  Way to blatantly disregard our laws Mr. Niceley.

Three years ago in a state audit, it was concluded that Tennessee needed uniform animal control rules and regulations, a statewide training program and funding to provide consistent protections across all 95 counties. But today, more than 40 counties lack even a suitable animal shelter, and animal protections still widely vary county by county, leading to protection gaps, particularly in the state's rural counties. Animal cruelty -- including cockfighting -- remains a misdemeanor charge, and aggravated animal cruelty charges cannot apply to the abuse of horses or livestock.

Guess what has been done since then to correct the issues addressed?  Nothing.  But do you know why?  If not, don't worry I'm going to tell you!

Rep. Niceley!  He had this to say about their findings, "We've got plenty of laws to protect animals. They're trying to stop all animal agriculture".  "They've got one idea and I've got another.  As long as I'm chairman of ag, there's not many of those bills that will come up."

Last year, Rep Sontany proposed a bill that would have made it a felony to starve and abuse farm animals (HB3386).  She proposed this bill after participating in the rescue of 84 starving horses in Cannon County.  Although her bill had much public support, it was opposed by Farm Bureau Insurance Company and it's lobbyists.  They have refused to give farm animals the same protection as domestic animals against abuse.

So what did Rep. Frank Niceley have to say about the bill?  "This bill does nothing."

Although nothing that I'm writing about has to do with dogs specifically, indirectly it does.  I am a strong advocate for mandatory spay/neuter laws in Tennessee.  We have far more unwanted and stray dogs than most states.  As a result, our shelters are packed full of dogs that don't stand a chance because there is such a shortage of space.  We will never move forward with people like Frank Niceley having such a say in our laws regarding animals.

We need to stand up and say we've had enough.  We need to not give people like Frank Niceley our vote so we can ensure that people are elected who actually have a heart that beats.

I've had enough of Rep. Niceley and anyone like him who's only concern is keeping companies like Farm Bureau Insurance Company happy.
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