GEORGIA: Anti-BSL provision included in controversial bill

A bill has been introduced in the Georgia legislature that would, among other things, prohibit banning the ownership of specific breeds of dogs.  Representative David Knight says HB409 is an attempt to halt local prohibitions on law-abiding people before those prohibitions become a trend sweeping across the state.

HB409 is pending in the House State Planning & Community Affairs Committee. The committee hasn’t yet announced a hearing or scheduled a vote on it.

While we’re pleased to see a proposal to prohibit breed discriminatory ordinances in Georgia, we would have preferred to see it in a stand-alone bill.  This bill, as proposed, is already generating controversy as the other provisions of HB409 would prevent counties, municipalities, or other local authorities from:

*Enacting mandatory spay/neuter ordinances;

*Requiring higher license, registration or ownership fees or taxes for unaltered dogs;

*Prevent the ownership, breeding, transfer, sale, purchase, tethering, training or transportation of dogs used for the lawful pursuit of game, field trials, shows or disability services. [Emphasis added]

Representative Knight acknowledges that HB409 will generate conflict between the animal welfare community and show dog/sporting dog enthusiasts.

In fact, Atlanta Humane Society President William Shaheen is already looking to hire a lobbyist to fight the bill.  He contends that as an organization dedicated to animal welfare, Atlanta Humane Society has significant concerns related to proposed House Bill 409 pertaining to limiting the ability of local, county and municipal government to enforce spay and neuter legislation.

Short significant amendments, its unlikely this bill will be passed in its current form.  Georgia residents are strongly encouraged to reach out to Representative Knight and ask him to consider splitting HB409 into two distinct bills, and allow the provision prohibiting breed specific ordinances in the state of Georgia to be a stand-alone bill.

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