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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Support H.B 788, Grace's Law

The following is from the Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare. I'v added a few helpful links and I am reproducing it here in its entirety, although I disagree with the use of the term 'euthanasia' to mean anything but the mercy killing of an incurably sick or irreparably injured animal. When shelters kill for any other reason, it should just be called 'killing'. Oh, and 'pet overpopulation' is a myth. H.B. 788 deserves the support of all animal lovers, especially those residing in the state of Georgia. The folks at GVAW have worked really hard for the past two years to get a bill passed that would abolish the use of the gas chamber to kill shelter pets. The gas chamber has been condemned as inhumane and causes the animals to go through protracted distress before dying. The 11 or so chambers still operational in the state, some illegally, must be shut down. They are a disgrace.

Let's make the third one the charm.

“Speak Out
Georgia’s Voiceless”

Use Your VOTE
Companion Animal Stewardship

HB 788 – Grace’s Law

A Proposed Bill That Will Totally Ban Gas Chambers in Georgia

The Issue
An estimated 11 tax-funded animal control facilities in Georgia use gas chambers to routinely kill unwanted dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. Some are operating illegally; none are operating in full compliance with AVMA recommendations; and ALL are unreliable, unsafe, unregulated and inhumane. There is abundant proof that gas chambers:
· Pose a serious health risk and cause immeasurable stress to shelter workers;
· Are a cruel, outmoded method of killing that cause horrific, prolonged suffering before animals die;
· Were banned in Georgia over 20 years ago with 3 exceptions; and
· Must be totally banned NOW – statewide, permanently, and with no exceptions!

· 2008 Georgia General Assembly – HB 1060 introduced and granted one hearing late in session; would have closed the loopholes in 1990 Humane Euthanasia Act (See “Talking Points for HB 788” handout)
· 2009 Session – HB 1060 rewritten and introduced by Representative Tom Knox; numbered HB 606 and named Grace’s Law after a hound who survived Liberty County’s illegally installed gas chamber in 2006; Senate companion bill, SB 232 (sponsored by Senator Steven Henson) and HB 606 granted hearings by House sub-committee and full Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee; no vote taken in senate; legislation designated “carryover”
· Upcoming session (opening January 2010) – HB 606 already rewritten, renumbered HB 788, and ready to drop by Rep. Tom Knox; calls for total ban on gas chambers and designates euthanasia by injection (EBI) administered by a veterinarian or properly trained lay person the only legal method for routine euthanasia of animals in Georgia shelters; read bill at, (click on “Legislation” and type in HB 788)
· HB 788 assigned to House Science and Technology Committee for 2010 session
· Senator Jack Murphy currently preparing senate companion bill; number TBA

YOU Can Help Pass HB 788 and its Companion Senate Bill!
· Contact your legislators NOW! Lawmakers need to begin hearing from constituents NOW and continually throughout the 2010 legislative session. (See “Contact your Legislators” handout)
· Contact every member of the 2010 House Science & Technology Committee NOW. (See “House Science & Technology” matrix handout)
· Tell your friends, family members and co-workers to do the same NOW.

Send the clear, but polite, message that you support HB 788 and are telling everyone you know to do the same.
Let them know you want every gas chamber in Georgia rendered inoperable and demolished!



To ban gas chambers statewide, permanently and with no exceptions, use your voice and your vote to support

HB 788

It is critical that you begin contacting your legislators NOW to prepare for the 2010 General Assembly session.

§ To find your Senator and Representative and their contact information, access “Roll Call” at:
§ Enter your zip code under “State and Elected Officials” in the left-hand column of the page.
§ When the new screen appears, click on the highlighted names of Governor, Senate or House of Representatives. (They appear under the “Governor and State Legislators” heading in the middle of the page, right hand column.) Your legislator’s picture, biographical, contact and other information will appear.
§ Or, you can access the same information at:
§ To find your local elected officials (city and/or county council/commission members), “Google” your city/county and go to their official home pages – most have one – where members are usually featured.
§ Make sure you contact every member of the Science and Technology Committee as well.
§ Share this information with everyone you know and ask them to write and call their legislators.

Lobbying for Success

· Always be polite and respectful when addressing lawmakers. The legislative process is grueling and HB 788 will never pass without strong legislative approval and extraordinary voter support.
· Legislators prefer personal visits, letters/notes/postcards, telephone calls and e-mail – in that order.
· Be prepared and informed when appealing to your legislators. The “Hope for Georgia’s Companion Animals” and “Talking Points” handouts included in this packet are helpful tools for you and your lawmakers.
· Stay in touch with your legislators, follow HB 788’s progress and never give up!



House of Representatives – 2010 General Assembly

Telephone/fax #s

Amos Amerson, Chairman
Retired military and university professor
HD 9
Parts of Dawson, Forsyth and Lumpkin Counties
401 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
689 N. Chestatee St.
Dahlonega, GA 30533
404.657.8534 O

Chuck Martin, Vice-Chair
Information Technology and Real Estate consultant; Director Ryan & Company
HD 47
Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek & Greater North Fulton County
245 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
11770 Haynes Bridge Rd.
Suite 205-544
Alpharetta, GA 30009
404.463.2247 O
404.463.2249 F

Charlice Byrd, Secretary
Former educator, political activist and community volunteer
HD 20
Part of Cherokee County, including Woodstock
411 CLOB
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
P. O. Box 906
Woodstock, GA 30188
404.557.2218 O
404.463.2793 F
404.557.2218 C
Paul Battles
Retired Banker
HD 15
Part of Bartow County, including Cartersville
404 CLOB
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
208 Road #2 South, SW
Cartersville, GA 30120
404.656.0109 O
678.315.9840 C
770.382.9965 H

Hardie Davis
Pastor/Business Owner
HD 122
Part of Richmond County
612 CLOB
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
P. O. Box 235
Gracewood, GA 30812
404.656.0325 O 706.434.8553
866.390.7894 F

Kevin Levitas
Vice-President – Legal/Marketing for Hill Manufacturing Co., Inc.
HD 82
Part of Dekalb County
507 CLOB
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
2496 Greenglade Rd., NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
404-634-9171 H
404-656-0202 O
404-656-0250 F

Barry Loudermilk
Business Owner
HD 14
Parts of Bartow and Floyd Counties
401 CLOB
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
P. O. Box 436
Cassville, GA 30123
404.656.0152 O
678.721.5612 H
770.387.1411 F

Mary Margaret Oliver
HD 83
Part of Dekalb County
604 CLOB
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.
Suite 230; Decatur 30030
404.656.0265 O
404.463.2634 F
404.372.0485 O
404.372.0486 F

Barbara Massey Reece
Retired Teacher
HD 11
Chattooga and part of Floyd Counties
512 CLOB
Atlanta, GA 30334 and
693 Massey Road
Menlo, GA 30731
404.656.7859 O
404.651.8086 F
706.862.2657 H

Talking Points
HB 788 – A Total Ban on Gas Chambers in Georgia

Statements you may want to use when writing or talking to your legislators, friends, family members and co-workers:

Humane Euthanasia Act of 1990 (HEA) Banned Chambers with 3 Exceptions:
· Counties with less than 25,000 residents
· Larger counties grandfathered in by letter request but not allowed to replace chambers
· For extremely vicious dogs and/or cats

Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDOA) Habitually Sanctions Violations of State Law and Its Own Rules:
· Only one letter of request on file for grandfathered exemption
· Larger systems allowed to replace chambers after 1990, including Bulloch, Chatham, Cobb, Liberty and Tift Counties
· Charged in 2007 with multiple violations of HEA – Morton & Robinson vs GDOA & Tommy Irvin
· Continues to issue and renew licenses to shelters that kill cats and dogs in a manner prohibited by both state statute and its own rules and regulations, lacking accountability and transparency in policies and practices
· Unable to provide comprehensive, accurate list of active chambers and a statewide database of shelter statistics
· Ignores state law that euthanasia be performed by a licensed veterinarian or physician, or a properly trained lay person under the supervision of a veterinarian or physician

Approximately 11 Active Gas Chambers Operating Illegally and Not In Compliance with AVMA Recommendations:
· Cobb County gas chamber active despite 2007 court order to cease and desist and March 2009 Injunction
· At least 2 counties routinely using gas chambers exceed 25,000 population cap
· Operating gas chambers not of “highest quality construction” (AVMA recommendation)
· Majority of gas chambers do not separate animals and species (AVMA recommendation)
· Records of routine safety inspections of gas chambers and auxiliary equipment non-existent
· No verification equipment is monitored when engaged or animals confirmed dead via stethoscope examination
· E-mail for list of active gas chambers in Georgia: or

In Conclusion:
· Ample documentation proves gas chambers dangerous to shelter workers and inhumane to both workers and animals even if used properly
· 2009 cost analysis comparing euthanasia by gas chambers used in compliance to euthanasia by injection (EBI) shows EBI less expensive, poses no health risks to shelter workers, minimizes stress for both shelter workers and animals
· End dialogues that treat symptoms of companion animal overpopulation and shift focus to causes – Ban Gas Chambers Via HB 788


Is There Hope for Georgia’s Companion Animals?


The Problem
· Georgia’s companion animal overpopulation crisis is now an epidemic.
· Using a per-person formula, our shelters kill twice the national average. (Source: GVAW Survey of Animal Services Report*)
· Using a per-state formula, we kill 3.25 times the national average.
· Georgia’s antiquated catch/house/kill shelter model doesn’t work – It treats the symptoms of the problem and not the causes!
What Stakeholders Want
· Taxpayers want fewer tax dollars spent on animal control.
· Residents want safe neighborhoods free of “nuisance” cats and dogs.
· Animal advocates want lower shelter admission and kill rates and a voice in creating humane solutions that work.
What’s Required
· Affordable, accessible spay/neuter, targeted to pet owners who need it the most;
· An emphasis on Humane Education; and
· A functional Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDOA) that works collaboratively with everyone and actually protects companion animals.
Legislative Goals
· Enforcement of laws already on the books (including O.C.G.A. 4-14-3 – 1984 Spay/Neuter Law; O.C.G.A.4-11-5.1- 1990 Humane Euthanasia Act; O.C.G.A. 16-12-4 – 2000 Felony Cruelty Bill; O.C.G.A. 31-19 – Rabies Law; 4-11-1 thru 4-11-18 – Georgia Animal Protection Act);
· Creation and maintenance of a comprehensive, accurate database of shelter statistics that is freely accessible to anyone;
· Increased and targeted spay/neuter funds via major improvements to Georgia’s Dog and Cat Sterilization Program; and
· Accountability and transparency in GDOA practices and policies.

*To request a full Report of Findings, e-mail: or



Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare (GVAW) is a grassroots network of Georgia advocates for animals founded in 2008 to support laws and lawmakers working for a safer, healthier and more humane Georgia. Its organizational structure is informal – no governing board, bylaws, website or funding source. The only requirement for membership is a commitment to use one’s voice and one’s vote to effect positive change for the voiceless in GA.


This is an invitation to enter a GVAW
Logo Design Contest!

One idea that has surfaced is a cute sketch of a typical, Georgia “Black Dog Special” and a Tuxedo kitty, standing and holding a sign between them that reads “Speak For Us!”

Go for it! Submit ideas/sketches to:

by December 1, 2009 *

*submissions still being accepted


  1. our precious animals need us to help & protect them. they have no one else, but us humans.never have i've been so hurt & disgusted about the way these poor animals are treated. we have them here when we need them, but what happens when someone doesn't want them.this is not the humane way to fix this problem we've caused. do the right thing.

  2. Good day. I have had charge of Grace since November 2006. She's living in a semi-rural far northwest suburb of Chicago, and is living life to its fullest! I grew up in Augusta, and my folks still live there, but of course I'm far out of the constituency of any member of the General Assembly. How can I help?

    Phil Draughon

  3. Phil, I'd be delighted if you could help! Please write to the members of the Science and Technology Committee with your story. The legislative session starts on Monday. Please have your folks in Augusta do the same, and write their representatives as well. Email me at I'd like to talk to you.

  4. This needs to get out in the press and in the publics' eyes. What's being done to get it out there? I work in rescue and I stumbled across this blog. Stand outside Suppermarkets, Petsmart, Doggie Daycares, GA Capitol, TV Stations etc... and get petitions goings. How about getting on the Radio?

  5. Hello-
    Thank you for your interest in Grace's Law. I will be publishing more information on the progress of this bill as it becomes available. Look for it in this blog and in my Examiner column.
    The bill is sponsored in the House by Rep. Tom Knox. When he gives the word, we will launch a full-out publicity campaign, and be calling upon people to write letters, send emails, call and visit legislators to urge their support for the ban on Georgia's gas chambers.

  6. Update on Grace's Law:
    Grace's Law, H.B. 788 passes Science and Technology Committee unanimously, needs support of GA residents-

  7. Fyi... Not scheduled to hit Rules Committee until After March 5th (session is out). Still need to get more press coverage on this. Rep. hmberee's Office reportsthat there they're getting more calls on a Cigarette Tax then Grace's Law.