Congressman Steve Cohen

During his 24 years in the Tennessee State Senate, Congressman Steve Cohen earned recognition for his passionate work advocating for issues ranging from women’s rights to animal welfare. Congressman Cohen has been a great friend of the animals for years. He sponsored Tennessee’s T-Bo Law, named in honor of his beloved Shih Tzu, who was killed by the larger dog of one of his neighbor’s. The T-Bo Law was the nation’s first-ever statute providing for noneconomic damages, up to $5000, in cases of intentional or negligent acts resulting in the death of a companion dog or cat.

Congressman Cohen worked on many other successful pro-animal laws during his long tenure as a state senator, including co-sponsoring SB 374, which made all offenses of aggravated cruelty a Class E felony in Tennessee. In 2003, the Animal Legal Defense Fund teamed up with Cohen when he began organizing a hearing in response to an incident in which a friendly family dog was shot to death by a Tennessee police officer. ALDF Director of Legislative Affairs Stephan Otto consulted with Cohen on the hearing just as ALDF attorneys had earlier worked with Cohen on the T-Bo Law. The focus of Cohen’s hearings was on the need for better animal behavior training for police officers.

Now a U.S. Representative (TN-09), Congressman Cohen continues to push for stronger legislation to help protect animals. In 2007, Cohen was the lead sponsor of H.R. 3829, the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act, which would have banned certain types of canned hunts. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is proud to have Congressman Cohen as a co-sponsor for National Justice for Animals Week.

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