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Breed Specific Legislation is coming to Albany Georgia

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On Wednesday February 25 at 6:30 PM the Albany Georgia City Council will be meeting once again to discuss the “Pit Bull Ordinance”. They met on January 13 but some of the commissioners had further questions and asked for the vote to be postponed. This ordinance would require all Pit bull owners to have a six foot fence with a covered pen. This pen must be at least twenty five feet from the property line. The ordinance would also require owners to carry a minimum of $100,000 of liability insurance and also to register their dogs. It also is unclear who it would be up to to determine if your dog is a pit bull. Many mixed breed dogs may also be caught up under this ordinance.

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In November 2011 I came across an abandoned American Bulldog mix in Meigs Georgia and brought him home and got him all doctored up which included an amputation for an unfixable leg.

http://www.examiner.com/article/i-have-your-trash

Last year he alerted us to what could have easy turned into a catastrophic fire. I fear they would have to pry my Cheeto out of my cold, dead hands and I know thousands of Pit parents who feel the same way!

http://www.examiner.com/article/dog-left-on-side-of-the-road-saves-nineteen-lives

Advocates applaud the commissioners who are not reacting in a knee jerk fashion and doing their homework and will remember this at election time.

Historically Breed Specific Legislation does nothing to make anything better. The owners who cannot afford to meet the regulations either turn their dogs loose or worse, enclose them in inhumane enclosures.

http://www.examiner.com/article/is-there-a-solution-to-the-problem-of-animal-abuse

The unintended consequences are dogs running lose, shelters overflowing and many dogs being killed because shelters cannot cope with the influx. Responsible pet owners like me and so many others are the ones who will be hurt.

Instead of enacting something that has failed everywhere it has been proposed, we should look at Macon Georgia, our neighbor to the north. Their city council just passed a mandatory spay/neuter law for all dogs, of all breeds. This would prevent all back yard breeders without kennel licenses from continuing to make a profit. These individuals are not experienced professionals, they spread disease by selling puppies that are too young, and that have not been properly vaccinated, they tend to dump the “rejected puppies” on the streets or the local shelter, and use a female repeatedly, with little to no regard for her health and strain on her body. The worst insult, they make a profit free from the responsibility of paying taxes. Mandatory spay/neuter for dogs of all breeds would highly reduce unwanted litters that get dumped at shelters and that cause a financial strain on our economy. Lastly, it would make irresponsible people be accountable.

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Every single day in this country alone, ten thousand animals are killed because there is no room for them at the shelters. Over 800 an hour. We really do not need to breed more. There are exceptions and responsible breeders can pay for a license and follow strict regulations. These licensing fees would go towards providing free or low cost spay and neuter programs. Let’s get pro-active, not punitive. Let’s work together to save lives.

I encourage everyone reading this story to contact the following people:

City Manager James Taylor

222 Pine Avenue Suite 560

Albany, GA 31702-0447

jtaylor@albany.ga.us

Ph. 1-229-431-3234 Fax 1-229-431-3223

dhubbard@albany.ga.us

jhoward@albany.ga.us

ihines@albany.ga.us

cpike@albany.ga.us

rmarietta@albany.ga.us

bob@langstafflaw.com

tpostell@albany.ga.us

Be Polite always when communicating and be brief and to the point below are some BSL facts put together by Johanna Falber who is organizing the troops and they are great facts to include in your communication:

1. There is no credible evidence to demonstrate that any particular breed or type is overrepresented among biting dogs. Professional animal expert organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, have found that no breed is more dangerous than another.

2. Identifying breeds is often subjective and unreliable. For example, the term “pit bull” usually encompasses three separate breeds, along with any mixes of those breeds. Good dogs are affected for looking a certain way.

3. Dogs that DO bite and do not look like "pit bulls" go unnoticed and their owners are not penalized. The problem is not addressed.

4. BSL does not reduce dog bites.

5. Underfunded animal-control agencies bear the brunt of the burden, as BSL creates unrealistic mandates that take dogs out of homes and into shelters

6. BSL does NOT address the issues associated with irresponsible owners.

7. BSL targets dogs and not people. Dogs don't walk themselves, people allow them to roam. Penalize people.

8. The current leash law might need be reviewed and tightened up instead. The same applies to the tethering law, but do not be insulting and tell them their leash and anti-tethering laws don't work. Use wording like, "perhaps a review of current tethering and leash laws should be considered instead of a knee jerk reaction such as laws penalizing dogs based on breed"

9. BSL is expensive to execute, maintain and enforce.

10. Good people are impacted and the violators continue to go underground as they are breaking the law already.

11. BSL is expensive.

12. Terrell County, GA BSL is NOT working. The law makers have admitted that people have opened their doors and allowed their dogs to roam to avoid the insurance fees, the pricey fencing, registration fees.

13. How will they know what a "Pit bull" is? Are the lawmakers going to promote DNA testing of dogs?

14. Good dogs will be dumped at the pound by those that cannot comply.

15. Good dogs will be let loose by those that cannot comply.

16. Consider options that go after the real issues - irresponsible people, not good dogs that have done nothing wrong.

I would add to those let’s take a look at mandatory spay/neuter like Macon did.

Says Falber “"While our law makers are focused on the breed of dog as the cause for the issues w/regards to animal welfare and our communities, I question why we are completely ignoring the fact that animals are still being abused, neglected, fought, and disregarded with the guilty receiving barely a slap on the wrist. How do dogs like this still continue to wind up on our streets and shelters? I question seriously our capability to ever get "it right" when we are spending to so much of our energy focusing on a supposed breed of dog that will be identified by sight alone under breed specific legislation, when PEOPLE continue to mistreat animals. If these dogs are these scary monsters that some want us to believe they are what does that make their abusers? Focus on the issues, friends. Dogs aren't the issue."

Johanna needs your help. Please contact her at stubbysheroesinfo@gmail.com or

facebook.com/StubbysHeroes.

A very dear friend and responsible pit bull owner responded with this when she heard about the proposed ordinance: “This shows that the saying you can't fix stupid fits. When will people get it...the dogs are made mean by the OWNERS. They need to put their energy into stopping dog fighting. There are different breeds of pits, ours is made to be a show dog and will lick you to death! He was attacked by cats and did nothing, so let’s but a ban and insurance on cat owners!!!”

I will be writing a series of stories on this issue between now and the meeting. I will be covering dog bite statistics as well as firsthand accounts of those who have lived in areas that have enacted this legislation. If you have stories to share please contact me at jgoree@camillaga.net.

Please we need your help. If we do not flood these offices with emails and calls this will happen and many will suffer and many will die.

Be polite. Be accurate. Be direct:

BSL DOES NOT WORK.

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