Category Archives: animals

TN judge rejects courtroom monkey motion

A Putnam County judge has rejected a woman’s request to have her pet monkey — named Carlose and deemed an “emotional support animal” — on hand in the courtroom for her pending trial on drug charges, reports the Cookeville Herald-Citizen.

Gordon Byars, attorney for Barbara Sue Myers of Celina, had filed a motion asking that Carlose be permitted to attend the court proceedings with his owner. Criminal Court Judge Gary McKenzie denied the motion.

“In all my time studying law in school and in my 17 years of practice, I never thought I would have to decide whether a monkey can come in a courtroom,” he said.

Byars argued in the motion that the presence of the monkey — a black-handed species named Carlose — would be critical for Myers during trial.

“Emotional support animals are … necessary for the normal, day-to-day functioning of their emotionally or psychologically impaired handler, facilitating a normalizing effect by their presence,” Byars said.

He cited several federal laws protecting and allowing the use of emotional support animals. They can be present in aircraft cabins, for example, and landlords must accommodate them even when leases prohibit it, he said.

Byars showed proof that Carlose is a certified emotional support animal by the National Service Animal Registry. His motion also references a statement by Myers’ doctor claiming that Carlose’s presence helps her manage the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

“He is well trained, friendly and accompanies the defendant everywhere she goes,” Byars said.

Judge McKenzie denied the motion because Carlose is an emotional support animal and not a service dog.

“The American Disability Act specifically excludes all other animals except dogs,” he said.

The judge is particularly familiar with that law because, when he was an assistant prosecutor, he was involved in writing directions allowing a service dog into a DeKalb County courtroom for a child rape trial. That was a precedent-setting case in the state. It involved the 13th Judicial District’s Child Advocacy Center’s service dog, Murch, who is trained to be in court.

Animal protection PAC backs 19 in TN legislative primaries (including Durham)

News release from Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection
NASHVILLE, June 22, 2016 – Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection (TVAP), a non-partisan political action committee (PAC), released its list of endorsed candidates in 19 state legislative primary races today.

“We are excited to announce our endorsements for the upcoming state primaries,” said Anjie Crow, TVAP’s president. “We’ve never endorsed this many candidates in the primaries before and are very pleased that there are so many animal-friendly candidates this year. It’s proof that animal protection issues are more important in Tennessee than ever and that there are many candidates who are willing to ensure that animals have a voice in Tennessee.”

2, Doug Overbey (R) 4, Jon Lundberg (R) 10, Ty O’Grady (D) 20, Steve Dickerson (R) 30, Sara Kyle (D)

4, John B. Holsclaw Jr. (R) 11, Michael McCarter (R) 28, JoAnne Favors (D) 45, Courtney Rogers (R) 58, Harold M. Love Jr. (D) 61, Charles Sargent (R) 65, Jeremy Durham (R) 80, Johnny Shaw (D) 85, Johnnie Turner (D) 88, Larry J. Miller (D) 94, Thomas E. Cooper (R) 95, Curry Todd (R) 96, Steve McManus (R) 98, Antonio Parkinson (D)

TVAP’s political support for candidates is based solely on animal protection issues. Methods used to determine endorsements may be questionnaires and/or combined results of TVAP Scorecards.

General election endorsements will be announced later this summer.

Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection is a PAC dedicated to electing animal-friendly candidates and unifying voters by creating a powerful voting bloc, ensuring animals have a voice in Tennessee. For more information, please visit

Note: Perhaps the most notable endorsement is that for embattled Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, currently under investigation for alleged sexual harassment and campaign finance violations and facing two primary challengers. In Senate District 10, O’Grady is one of three Democrats seeking nomination to oppose Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga. The only endorsed challenger to an incumbent on the list is Michael McCarter, opposing Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, in House District 11.

Dogs and skunks top topics in 2016 animal protection report

Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection doesn’t have much to report in its annual report on legislative doings. A bill the group supported, requiring registration of dog breeders, didn’t come up for a vote; and a bill opposed, allowing skunks as pets, died on the House floor after passing the Senate.

The group’s annual rating of legislators thus is largely based on those matters. Highest ratings went to sponsors and supporters of the dog breeder legislation; lowest to sponsors of the skunk bill.

The full “scorecard” report, including all members of the House and Senate if you scroll down a bit, is HERE.

And here’s the organization’s news release: Continue reading