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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
6 February 2000 Issue

Legislative Call to Action
Source: DANESEL@aol.com

Substitute HB 130, Cat and Dog Sterilization License Plate
1/29/2000

Status:
Substitute HB 130, Cat and Dog Sterilization License Plate, which would fund statewide cat and dog sterilization programs and related education, is out of the House Agriculture Committee. We believe this bill will next go to the House Rules Committee or directly to the House floor.

Why does Georgia need a Dog and Cat Sterilization License Plate?
* The license plate would save money and lives by reducing the number of animals:
- who are controlled, housed, and put to death in shelters
- who cause vehicular accidents
- who are involved in insurance cases, including bite claims
- who spread diseases, such as rabies

* Every $1 spent on sterilization programs today will save $20 in animal control costs by the year 2006.

* Fewer animals mean fewer new shelters must be built and fewer animal control professionals must be hired.

* Decreasing the number of ferals and free roaming domestic animals reduces losses on property, livestock, poultry, wildlife and the environment.

* Half of Georgia's counties have no animal control.

* It costs $70 of our tax money to kill each surplus animal.

* Roughly $7.3 million was spent in Metro Atlanta in 1998 to destroy unwanted animals.

* The Georgia Department of Human Resources spends at least $3 million annually on rabies post-exposure treatment and testing.

* Three other Southern states - Texas, Virginia and Alabama - have license plates that provide funding for animal sterilization programs.

* At least $49 million annually is collected in Georgia sales tax for dog and cat food, yet the state provides no sterilization education or programs, and less than $1/2 million annually is spent for companion animal protection statewide.

Structure of Sterilization Program:
The Dog and Cat Sterilization License Plate bill is now structured so that all of the money generated from the sale of this license plate will strictly be used for statewide sterilization programs.

The animal sterilization program would be set up on a system similar to the program already in place for brucellosis testing in cattle. Licensed accredited Veterinarians would perform sterilization procedures and receive a set dollar amount through a contractual agreement with the Department of Agriculture.

Action:
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Lynmore James, suggests that you WRITE, FAX and CALL your Georgia State REPRESENTATIVES now because support for this bill must come directly from constituents to their legislators! We know that strong opposition to this bill exists, so your support is crucial. It has been suggested that you use animal stationery, but a plain postcard is effective, too. What is most important is that you contact your representative. Ask him or her to please vote YES for HB 130 Substitute, Dog and Cat Sterilization License Plate!

Don't forget!
This should also remind you to talk to your legislators on the Appropriation Committees about a larger percentage of the budget being allocated to the Department of Agriculture to benefit our companion animals and equine. If you don't tell them, who will?

Remember that your legislators especially want to hear from citizens in their district. Your county voter registration department can provide contact information or you can find it on the Internet at http://HSUS.org/forms/search_reps.html.

For a copy of Substitute HB 130, go to
http://www.ganet.org/services/leg/ShowBillPre.cgi?year=1999&filename=1999/HB130.
You can get copies of bills or instructions on how to find bills on the Internet by calling the Secretary of the Senate at (404) 656-5040 or 1-800-282-5803 (ask to be transferred to where you can ask for a copy of a bill).

Copies of the bills or substitutes can also be found on http://www.humassocga.org as soon as they are available. Please call (770) 242-4343 for updates, courtesy of IDA, or look at this great site: http://www.rememberdunkin.com.

Thank You:
Thanks to Rep. Henry Reaves and his staff, Ag. Committee Chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin and his staff, Rep. Lynmore James, the bill sponsor, and Rep. Gerald Green and his Study Committee for all of their hard work and support. We are delighted that our goals to decrease the unwanted pet population in Georgia, are similar.

A group of interested individuals and representatives of the organizations listed below has been meeting since last spring to work on animal-related legislation, and has generally accepted the Dog and Cat Sterilization License Plate, as well as the Animal Protection Act of 2000 (which would make heinous acts of cruelty a felony), and the Veterinary Practice Act:

Georgia Veterinary Medical Association
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Humane Association of Georgia Coalition of Dog Clubs
Georgia Farm Bureau
Georgia Game Bird Association
Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia
Atlanta Humane Society
Georgia Trappers Association
Clayton County Police Dept.
Georgia Animal Control Association
Kimberly S. Schwartz, Assistant District Attorney, Macon Judicial Circuit
Charles H. Weston, District Attorney, Macon Judicial Circuit

The Association of County Commissioners and the Georgia Municipal Association also support this license plate.

From:
Humane Association of Georgia, Inc.
P O Box 6560 / Macon GA 31208
Phone and Fax: (912)745-4099
E-mail: danesel@aol.com
A coalition of humane societies, animal control and rescue groups and indivi-
duals. Visit our website: http://www.humassocga.org

Go on to It's Not Just About Tofu!
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