Georgia bill enlists opposition to BSL against spay/neuter
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2013:
ATLANTA––Humane Association of Georgia coordinator Carolyn Danese on February 24, 2013 appealed for opposition to a newly introduced Georgia state bill which seeks to turn opposition to breed-specific dog control laws into a weapon against legislative efforts to promote dog and cat sterilization. The bill appears to be a possible prototype for similar bills that might be introduced by state legislators nationwide, hoping to mobilize the political vehemence of pit bull advocates––and resistance of more than 70% of pit bull keepers to sterilizing their dogs––on behalf of dog breeders and keepers of hunting packs. “HB 409,” explained Danese, “would prohibit local governments from requiring spaying or neutering; prohibit higher licensing fees for intact animals; and prohibit banning certain breeds of animal.” Among the five initial cosponsors of HB 409 is Earl Ehrhart, the longest serving Republican in the Georgia House of Representatives and former national chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council. The other four initial cosponsors identify themselves in their legislative biographies as hunters and/or allies of agribusiness. Formed by far-right political strategist Paul Weyrich in 1973, ALEC helps member legislators to rapidly adapt bills introduced in one state to be introduced in many others. The same agenda is thereby simultaneously pushed in statehouses across the nation. The multiple introductions often fragment the ability of opponents to respond. Funders of ALEC include most of the major firms involved in agribusiness and animal testing––and the National Rifle Association. Current ALEC projects include pushing “ag-gag” bills to criminalize undercover videography done in livestock barns and slaughterhouses and right-to-hunt amendments to state constitutions. ALEC has also sought from inception to weaken protection of endangered species and wildlife habitat. ALEC founder Weyrich later helped evangelist Jerry Falwell, who died in 2007, to organize the far-right activist organization Moral Majority. Falwell’s father Carey H. Falwell was a twice-convicted dogfighter. The signal accomplishment of the Humane Association of Georgia was establishing a statewide dog and cat sterilization program funded by sales of a special vehicular license plate. The Humane Association of Georgia declared in February 2005 that it “adamantly opposes breed-specific legislation,” after a bill was introduced which would have prohibited possession of pit bulls. Danese argued at the time that “Georgia’s current dangerous dog and dog-fighting statutes, as well as existing local ordinances, are adequate to address these issues.” In 2008, however, the Humane Association of Georgia supported the passage of a bill criminalizing attendance at a dog fight, breeding dogs to fight, or possessing a dog with the intention of using the dog to fight––all of which were legal in Georgia in 2005. Responding to what were “existing local ordinances,” the Humane Association of Georgia reiterated opposition to breed-specific legislation in September 2010. Since 2007 the Atlanta corporate security firm Norred & Associates has helped law enforcement to investigate more than 50 dogfighting cases in Georgia, resulting in execution of more than 25 search warrants, approximately 50 arrests, and the impoundment of nearly 900 pit bulls.