A New Day for Georgia’s Responsible Pet Owners


The 2012 Georgia Legislature, guided by Representative Gene Maddox, has resoundingly passed House Bill 685, with a 157 to 0 vote, on their last night in session; the Georgia Responsible Dog Owner Bill. It awaits Governor Nathan Deal’s signature. This progressive bill addresses deficits in Georgia’s antiquated Dangerous Dog laws, which have been piecemealed since 1989. Representative Maddox’ efforts were spurred by the death of little 5-year old Cheyenne Peppers in Thomasville in 2010. The two and half years of hard work by Maddox, his co-sponsors, and supporters (like Georgia Animal Control Association), places the responsibilities for dangerous dog behavior squarely on the reckless human owner. Holding humans responsible for their dogs’ actions is key to reducing the number of dog bites and aggressive incidents in Georgia, and the rest of the US.

This new chapter in Georgia Legislation will be greeted by the (First) National Dog Bite Investigation, Treatment and Prevention Conference to be held May 4th in Atlanta. Hosted by the Georgia Bar/Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and sponsored by Children’s Health Care of Atlanta and the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association, this conference gathers experts in Animal Control, Dog Training, Surgery, Disease Control and Canine Aggression who will provide information and strategies to address the growing problem of dog related injuries and how to enforce new laws.

Keynote Speaker Victoria Stilwell, host of the television show “It’s Me Or The Dog” brings her perspective on dog behavior, and joins victims of serious dog related injuries in this multi-disciplinary approach to helping make our communities safer. Legal Experts including Atlanta’s own Claudine Wilkins, who help draft HB 685, and DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston, Jessica Rock and Kim Schwartz will discuss prosecution and legislation. Dr. Mark Wulkan, Surgeon-in-Chief of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will address treatment issues for the injured, and Canine Aggression Expert Jim Crosby will discuss investigating “The Worst of the Worst”; fatalities and life threatening bite cases.

Please thank your Georgia Legislators for advancing our State’s laws regarding Responsible Pet Ownership and join us kicking off 2012’s focus on safe families and communities by attending the National Dog Bite Investigation, Treatment and Prevention Conference.

To learn more or register visit www.georgiaanimallaw.org.

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