Thursday, December 31, 2009

Georgia Animal Welfare Reform Bill Proposal


KILLING OUR FURRY FRIENDS: A NATIONAL TRAGEDY

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RT @seprr Lobby for Animal Welfare Reform in #GA http://bit.ly/3FHS4b #petrescue #reform #spayneuter #fb http://bit.ly/GA-AnimalWelfare


 KILLING OUR FURRY FRIENDS: TAKE LOCAL ACTION TO END A NATIONAL TRAGEDY
revision 6/05/10

We are a nation of animal lovers. Then why are our best friends being put to sleep by the 100,000's every year in most states? Why isn't the public more aware of the pain these animals endure and the tax expense this misery costs all of us? Why don't people get it that spaying and neutering will literally end this ghastly cycle?

Shelters are the last line for millions of innocent dogs. The public has no idea of the magnitude of this national tragedy. The sad reality is that over four million dogs are killed each year in shelters. Why, in a country of dog lovers, are so many dogs homeless? Because their families abandon them, for reasons like job change, divorce or a new baby… and most shelters don’t have the necessary programs to get the dogs the exposure they need to find new homes. Shelters find homes for many dogs, but millions are euthanized.

Recent Articles in AJC
Senate bans gas chambers for animal euthanasia; sparks Holocaust, suicide debate http://ht.ly/1TB3f 
Counties killing dogs, cats by the thousands http://ht.ly/1TB6L
Dixie dogs adopted by Yearning North" http://ht.ly/1UBVd

There is another way to solve this, once and for all.

GEORGIA'S OWN TRAGEDY
· 644,000 animals euthanized in Georgia annually. 90% are adoptable. 61% die in the “shelter”
· 56% Dogs & 71% of Cats in Animal “Shelters” are euthanized.
· Only 15% of Dogs & 2% of Cats in “Shelters” are reunited with their owners.
· Over 120 Animal Controls exist in Georgia, all funded by local property taxes.
· Animal Control costs  Georgia Tax Payers $220m/year.
· In 1999, approximately $7.3million was spent in the 5 county area to destroy unwanted animals.
· Animal Control Facilities have no legal requirement to report their activities.
· Animal Controls have no requirement to work with rescues when an animal can be otherwise saved.
· An Unspayed cat producing 2 litters/year with 2.8 kittens surviving /year can total 11,606,077 cats in 9 Years! (SpayUSA)
· An Unspayed dog can produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years. (SpayUSA)
· $1 invested in Spay Neuter returns $19 over 4 Years.  (Humane Association of Georgia)
· It costs $105 to kill each unwanted animal (Humane Association of Georgia)
· Three years of free Spaying & Neutering Statewide would reduce these number by 60%.
. The capture, impoundment and eventual destruction of unwanted animals costs taxpayers and private humanitarian agencies over a billion dollars each year - The American Veterinary Medical Association
Why are these animals there to begin with?                                                                                             
Causes include behavior problems, maintenance and healthcare costs of the animal, owner’s lifestyle changes such as a divorce or newborn child, owner’s allergies, owner’s incompatibility with a breed. These are a minor source of the animals in the system.  Unaltered animals allowed to breed without supervision are the leading reason.
Every year, Georgia contributes substantially to 3-4 million pets euthanized nationally. According to an independent study conducted by SPOT Society (http://spotsociety.org/ ), 80,313 of the 131,253 pets picked up by Animal Control in 20 counties constituting metropolitan Atlanta were killed in 2005. This number remains relatively constant from year to year, and when extended over the entire state of Georgia amounts to over 638,000 pets euthanized per year in Georgia, and just over 1 million processed in our Animal Control facilities. 61% of pets collected by Animal Control are euthanized. An additional tragedy are the ones which are held for adaption that are never then adopted, and then put to sleep after weeks or months in the shelter.

Open Records requests to the Department of Agriculture failed to yield any data. Their response indicated that they do not track the rate of euthanasia in animal shelters. They confirmed there is no requirement for reporting statistics since they claimed to also not have any statistics relating to animal control operations. Though charged with the responsibility of enforcing Animal Welfare laws in our state, especially ones that relate to animal control and animal rescue, they admitted they delegate this responsibility to local law enforcement.
In Georgia, Animal Control Operations have no legal requirement to report data about their operations such as the rate of euthanasia versus the number of animals adopted or re-homed. There is no requirement to actually work with Dept of Agriculture credentialed rescues.  Once the animal is turned in or the holding period is over for an animal, it really may be “over” for the animal, even if a rescue is en route to Pull and rescue the dog from being euthanized. There is no recourse for the Rescues when this occurs. There is no venue to hear the complaint. If a Rescue Group publicizes Animal Control’s inability to work with rescues, they will likely NEVER work with that rescue again.

AND A REASON FOR HOPE

SEPRR believes in the power of compassion. Georgia residents would do more to help and adopt shelter dogs, if only they knew how many animals are euthanized in shelters. SEPRR believes shelters don’t really want to euthanize the animals, if they had any other option. The public would support alternatives if presented with the opportunity to act differently.

Our ultimate goal is to bring forward a day where healthy and treatable animals are no longer killed by their most trusted friends.

Therefore we ask you to consider enacting reformative expansions to the current Animal Welfare Act as follows:
·Offer Statewide FREE spay-neuter for 3 years. Then provide on-going stat-wide low cost spay-neuter. This will reduce this by 60%, saving $140m in taxes and 400,000 animals annually.
· Reassign operations of animal control services to the State of Georgia’s Department of Agriculture. Transfer existing staff from local government payroll to the state payroll. During transition period the local government would pay the pay scale in place at the time of transfer. Economies of scale would save more tax dollars & attract and retain qualified staff. Shared resources would enable animals to be held much longer for adoption.
· Reassign Animal Control Field Officers to State of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources,. Transfer existing officers from local government payroll to the state payroll. During transition period the local government would pay the pay scale in place at the time of transfer. DNR already trains officers as Game Wardens and deal with Wildlife and Game Management. It is a logical adjunct to their area of expertise to police animal related regulations and enforce related laws.
·  These  should avoid enacting policies that can be considered Mandatory Spay & Neuter (MSN). These policies ultimately fail and bring harm to the animals for the faults of the owners.
·  Require Animal Control Operations to make demonstrable Best Efforts to facilitate cooperation with 3rd party rescue organizations.
· Only animals deemed unfit for survival owing to their health conditions, and then only under the approval of a licensed vet, would be euthanized as soon as the Hold Period Expires.
· Require public disclosure via Dept of Agriculture’s website the operational statistics of Animal Control Facilities such as volume of animals in-taken, adopted, and euthanized. Public awareness will sustain these programs into the future and justify the ongoing expenditures.
· Under no circumstances will an animal ever again be euthanized by gas, heart stick, or any other method not deemed Humane by national level veterinary authorities.
· Under no circumstances will an animal be held responsible for it’s owner’s irresponsibility. An animal will not be euthanized if an owner does not comply with any license or spay/neuter laws.
Funding:
Spaying & Neutering:
· Pet products sales taxes: “Although $60+ million is collected in sales tax for dog and cat food alone in Georgia,  less than $1 million annually is spent for companion animal protection statewide. “
·Spay Neuter Georgia Vehicle License Tag program already in place
·Tax credits for veterinarians participating in the Statewide Free Spay Neuter
· Pet License license fees managed by the state, instead of current format managed by local authorities
License fees should be thoughtfully implemented so as not have a net effect of becoming a “Mandatory Spay & Neuter Law”
Currently in Fulton County GA, the annual license fee is $12/year for altered canines, and $25/yr for unaltered canines. Perhaps those who do alter their pets could have their license fee waived entirely?

Other related documents:
Strayed: The Story of How the Animal Welfare Community Lost its Way http://bit.ly/9lRgN4
2007 cost analysis found euthanasia by injection costs half of carbon monoxide method
http://ow.ly/17FmR
Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare (GVAW) Survey of Animal Services in Georgia 2009 REPORT
http://bit.ly/2009GVAWReport
SPOT Society 1998-2005 Atlanta MSA Euthanasia Statistics: http://www.spotsociety.org/spotsocietystatistics.html
GVAW 2009 Study Shelters and Euthanasia http://gvaw.org/Documents/GVAWReport.pdf
Why some states dont have the will to end Puppy Mills "Puppy-mill prescription" http://ht.ly/1UBSm


5 comments:

Leslie said...

Something needs to happed here and this is a good plan. Georgia in particular is on my list right now as they would not allow me to PAY THEM to hold some dogs until I could find a rescue for them. Not enough funding? Well, they wouldn't take my money for a 48 hour stay on several pit bulls that didn't deserve to be put down. Spalding County!!!

SE Pet Rescue Railroad said...

Thanks Leslie! Please make a comment over here on Facebook.. more people seem to reference that vs old school blogging..
http://bit.ly/GA-AnimalWelfare

andrew said...

this is an abomination!
I personally think that the fee for owning a non-altered dog should be $1000.. I know it sounds steep, but people are paying over $2,000. for certain breeds, thinking that they are then going to become breeders themselves. And, ultimately, the dogs pay the price. It needs to stop.

Bryan Grant said...

PLS RT! IMPORTANT! #ATL#GA Humane Lobby Day 2/9/10 Central Pres Church http://ow.ly/15aW8 #fb http://bit.ly/GA-AnimalWelfare

Think only professional lobbyists can lobby? Think again! The Humane Society of the United States invites you to participate in the Georgia Humane Lobby Day at the Georgia Sate Capitol Building in Atlanta, where you’ll make a tremendous difference for animals. There are many wonderful animal protection bills coming up in this session and the animals need your help! (We'll meet at the Central Presbyterian Church before going to the capitol building.)

This is an exciting opportunity to meet directly with your elected officials or their staff about legislation that will significantly impact animals. There will be a briefing on tips for lobbying and an overview of pending animal legislation which will prepare you to meet your elected officials and advocate for animals. RSVP today to lend your voice for animals and make a difference in Georgia.

Hope to see you there!

Tell Your Friends

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Time: 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Address:
201 Washington Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States

If you'd like to attend this event you can RSVP online.

Kristen said...

Has there been any updates with this? I am just now seeing this, and it sounds great! Any information??