October 7, 2015
A policy by the Georgia Department of Agriculture is a potential threat to cats and dogs in animal shelters across the state due to restrictions on who in an approved rescue is allowed to physically enter the shelter and sign out the pet. A copy of the policy dated October 5, 2015, can be found by clicking here.
Companion Animal Section Manager Mark Murrah stated shelters have experienced problems in the past with unauthorized persons saying they were with a rescue group picking up available dogs and cats. Murrah emphasizes this isn’t a new policy and the letter sent to Georgia shelter is only a clarification of policies already in place. These include
*The owner or president of the rescue or corporation or one of the corporate officers listed on the Georgia Secretary of State website will be permitted to physically rescue animals
*The corporate officers must be authorized in writing by the president or owner and a copy must be kept on file with the shelter
*The individual authorized must personally come to the shelter to rescue the animal
*Fosters, transports or advocates aren’t allowed to leave the shelter with animals under the name of the licensed rescue
The commissioner may also refuse to issue or renew or suspend a license if this policy is willfully violated or for willful aiding and abetting another in this chapter. While this may have been the policy all along, it’s not the way many Georgia shelters operate. An email or phone call from the rescue owner or director is the preferred method of contact to release a cat or dog without management having to take time out of their busy schedules. Rescues have enough to deal with in transporting pets in their care for veterinary treatment.
This policy has been in place for 2-3 years but what used to be used was a transport form with the name of the transporter and signed by the rescue director. It was a safeguard for rescues and for the animals so not just anyone could go in and pull. A Change.org petition to amend this policy has gained more than 21,000 supporters.
Animal advocates are asked to contact the Governor’s Office using the contact information below
Office of the Governor
206 Washington Street
111 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
If strictly enforced, this policy will result in thousands of needless deaths at Georgia shelters. Please share this article and do all you can to get this policy amended to stop the oncoming slaughter of shelter pets.