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Georgia Considers BSL

(Friday, January 28, 2005)

Many thanks to the concerned fanciers and dog owners in Georgia who contacted AKC this week regarding H78, a bill to ban "pit bulls" in the state. For those who are not yet aware, H78 defines "pit bulls" as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any dogs displaying characteristics of those breeds. Current owners of these dogs will be permitted to keep their animals, but only if the dogs are spayed and neutered, kept in a secure area, and leashed and muzzled when not confined. Violators will face fines of $1000-$5000 and/or up to six months in prison.

Since first learning of the bill's introduction, the Georgia Canine Coalition and AKC's Canine Legislation department have been in touch with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Earnest Williams, as well as other key Georgia officials within the agriculture community. To date, Rep. Williams has been open to the fancy's point of view and in fact had a lengthy meeting with Coalition members this week. When he expressed the many safety concerns he has regarding dangerous dog problems in his district, fanciers were quick to point out that stronger enforcement of existing laws would be a better way to address those issues than would banning certain breeds. Many Georgia legislators have stated that they share AKC's position.

What You Can Do:

  • The Georgia Canine Coalition is working closely with both Rep. Williams and other legislators to oppose H78. To find out how you can help, contact outland@laberge.org.

  • To date, Rep. Williams has been very receptive to dog owners' polite, concise, arguments as to why breed-specific legislation is ineffective. Georgia dog owners who wish to express their opposition to H78 may do so by contacting him (see below). Please remember to be respectful!

    The Honorable Earnest Williams
    404-656-0202
    ewilliam@legis.state.ga.us

  • Watch AKC's Web site for further updates.