Saturday, April 23, 2011

Promote the Petition! Save the Lives of Pets in Georgia!

As you may already know, the SE Pet Rescue Railroad  (google search: SEPRR)  has been hard at work gathering signatures, information, and ideas to promote a petition that proposes several changes and reforms to Georgia's current Georgia Animal Protection Act

We need your help. Without your active participation, there will be no end in sight.  

1- Please review the petition.   Even if you disagree with a few points, please sign it anyway, and then email us your suggested changes. This is not a final draft. It is NOT a law that is ready to be signed. It is a demonstration of the interest by the public in widespread, deep-reaching reform of the current system.

This is a work in progress. The right answers will come forward the more you participate! 

2- Please share the links below as status updates, text sms messages, or even on Twitter (be sure to RT@seprr posts!) 
Reform Companion Animal Laws - Please Sign & Share this Petition:  Please Share the word on Twitter:
RT @seprr support laws in #GA to END euthanizing animals   #petrescue #gapolitics

3- HARDCOPY! Hit the streets with it! 
Print out and take a copy of the petition to your rescue events such as fundraisers and adoption events!

Here is why:

Georgia, similar to many other states, kills up to 300,000 animals a year. We invest between $125,000,000 to $140,000,000 annually from property, state, and local taxes into the animal control operations in each county.  129 of 159 counties have animal control. The other 30 counties are not in compliance with Georgia laws requiring animal control services in each county. 

Even if an animal control adopts humane operational policies such as the No Kill Nation model, this still will not end the underlying source of the problem, overpopulation and poor animal husbandry.  While Animal Husbandry is an issue that depends upon education, and given that Georgia is 49th in Students Graduating from High School (Morgan Quitno Education State Rankings 2005-2006), we have a long road to improve the issues driven by lack of education and public awareness. It is a necessary component, but will not have any measurable results. Given the culture of the state's house and senate and budget conditions, any reform must have clear accountability and demonstrable returns on the taxpayer investment. 

A Transparent and Sustainable Business Plan to Save Georgia's Pets
A Three year period of Free Spay and Neuter offered Statewide would directly and immediately impact the underlying problem, and would generate tax savings within 2 years that double the annual investment required, and those savings would increase and remain in place permanently.
Consider that when a No Kill shelter is full, where does the next animal go? They are sent to the animal control down the street, the "kill shelter".  Atlanta Humane Society regularly turns away animals. Call and ask about their policy. Yet, 1.6 miles away, Fulton County Animal Control euthanizes as many as 3,000 animals a year at tax payer expense. 

To be fair, Fulton County, thanks to the Low Cost Spay Neuter programs made available by the efforts of the Barking Hound Village Foundation, have reduced it's kill rate to 1/3 the rate of neighboring Metro Atlanta shelters, and represent an enormous success even while killing as much as 3,000 a year. It's all relative. Fulton County's success is measured in real terms by a 60-70% reduction of Euthanasia over a 3 year period versus other regional animal control services. They are true "Rock Stars" when compared to many other animal control services. Yet, even their program can not succeed when neighboring areas do not have accessible programs for neutering and education. Their problems will always spillover into Fulton County, hence the numbers remain to be dealt with, tragically.

Our petition calls for several reforms, the most important is a statewide, three year long FREE Spay and neuter program. We also call for a statewide database to track the numbers so we can prove the sustainable success of the model. The database is already designed by another activist who serves in the current Dept of Ag administration as an advisor. It may be launched within 12 months!  Without the presence of a database, our spay/neuter program can not be launched, since there will be no way to measure success. Ultimately, the program will be doomed to failure since we will not be able to prove we made a difference saving animals or saved one penny of tax money. The database project is crucial, and must go forward. The good news, that project is relatively straightforward and is internal to the Dept of Agriculture. No lobbying required! 

Consolidate Regulation, Management and Enforcement
We call for a centralization of animal control services and enforcement, managed statewide. This will increase the quality of enforcement, reduce redundancies such as shelters that do not share capacity with one another, head count and staff can enjoy more structured learning and policy creation, and the public can access the entire shelter network via one portal, enabling better visibility of the entire market of adoptable animals. 

Spay and Neuter 
Free or inexpensive access to spay and neuter procedures will go a long distance to reducing the numbers of viable animals at risks in shelters. A variable license fee based upon spay/neuter status may provide additional incentive for compliance. Animals given up as a direct result of the fee could be given special status so they would not die in a shelter as a result of their owner's decision. Puppy Mills could be easily identified. Pure-bred pups would be much more valuable in a market where there is no longer a moral choice to adopt and rescue a shelter dog from Death Row versus buying a Pure Bred. The current situation is so bad that that if you did want a Pure Bred, you could visit and in a matter of a few days find a large selection of practically any breed you may want, and all of them are either currently in rescue or still on Death Row. Imagine what this must do to the value of the puppies that are being intentionally bred for sale? Simple ECON101.

A statewide system for spay and neuter, in conjunction with a uniform animal shelter system, will  save animals, improves the conditions in shelters, and improves the chances of the animal being re-homed or safely returned to it's owners who may still be looking for their lost pet. We could extend hold periods indefinitely and an animal found in one location could be sheltered in another location, yet still be visible to the owner looking for their pet via the internet.  

Even if Constituents Don't Care about Animal Welfare...
There are those who do not care about animals saying "We should spend tax money on people first!". Taxpayers in Georgia ALREADY spend $140million annually  on this deplorable and tragic system The 3 year spay/neuter program alone  will save an enormous amounts of expenses. The estimates are that a  $25 million annual investment  in each of the first three years will generate an ongoing annual initial return on investment of $56 million by the 24th month. That amounts to $87 million is savings by the end of the 3rd year. 

How is this possible? 40% of the population will simply not be bred, so they will not be in the system to be managed and/or euthanized. 40% of $140m = $56m. Given that this will have a lasting effect, the savings will actually go up over a given period of time,so by the 4th or 5th year, we could enjoy a savings as high as $80-$90m annually. 

Then we could afford to pave roads, pay our police, teachers, and firefighters what they deserve, and perhaps even keep Hope Scholarships available for our kids.

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