Memphis and Shelby County Environmental Court

Four years ago, we attended a talk given by Judge Chris Craft, the highly respected criminal court judge who presides over the majority of the cases involving felony animal cruelty. He encouraged animal advocates to attend court cases and we decided that was for us.

Our first cruelty case was in Division 14, Environmental Court. We had no idea what environmental court encompassed.

We witnessed not only the cruelty case we were there for but Judge Larry Potter. We saw him go through a docket overflowing with animal neglect, building and fire code violations...a myriad of diverse law. He was fair, unbiased, and displayed a genuine love for the law. He explained his rulings carefully to those accused and all we know, we learned from listening to him and the prosecutors assigned to his court.

Four years and over 4,000 cases later our respect for Judge Potter has grown with each docket.

He is the law as it should be...understanding with a sense of humor (and a temper to match) but always watchful and respectful of those who come before him and ever vigilant of his responsibilities as a judge.

Recently Judge Potter introduced a court order, one that will greatly help the police, animal control officers, the citizens and the animals. If someone is cited for failure to vaccinate (and Tennessee is a rabies state) or failure to spay/neuter they will not be allowed to transfer ownership until they correct the problem. We can't count the number of cases where someone states they gave the dog to their cousin in Mississippi, or a friend residing outside Shelby County. A court order that forbids transferring ownership protects the citizens as well as the animal.

We thank Judge Larry Potter for protecting the citizens and animals of Memphis and Shelby County.




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