Grace's Law Passes Committee! Animal Law Coalition
Update February 17, 2010: Grace's Law, H.B. 788, introduced by Georgia state Rep. Tom Knox has passed the Science and Technology Committee. The vote was unanimous in favor of the bill that would close the loopholes in Georgia's Humane Euthanasia Act that still allow some counties and cities to use carbon monoxide gas chambers to kill shelter animals. The bill would also make it illegal by statute to use heartstick unless the animal is heavily sedated, unconscious or comatose.
It's now on to a vote by the full Georgia House of Representatives!
During the 2009 session, similar versions were tabled after House and Senate committee hearings.
Under this version carbon monoxide gas chambers along with decompression chambers and use of exhaust from gasoline engines and cruel heartstick would not be allowed as means to kill shelter animals. The bill is named Grace's Law for a dog that survived a ghastly CO gassing in Liberty County.
In almost all cases animals would be required to be euthanized by a lethal injection or oral ingestion of sodium pentobarbitol. There would be an exception for field emergencies. Also, another substance could be substituted for sodium pentobarbital, but it must be regarded as humane and approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. None of the neuromuscular blocking agents would be allowed as substitutes, however. (Those agents render the animal immobile but fully conscious and aware of what is happening.)
Only a trained person could perform euthanasia and animals could not be left unattended during this process.
H.B. 788 would also regulate the injections. Intravenous injection would be preferred with intraperitoneal available only if the former cannot be used.
The bill is clear that intracardial injection or heartstick can only be used on unconscious, heavily sedated or comatose animals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
It is important that only Georgia residents write or call legislators in support of this bill, H.B. 788. The bill is now in the Rules Committee and this committee will schedule the bill for a vote by the full House of Representatives. So go here to find Rules Committee members (click on the names to get contact info) and write (faxes or letters are best, no email) or call and urge them to schedule a vote on this bill, H.B. 788 and vote Yes to end cruel gas chambers and heartstick in Georgia!
Then, if you live in Georgia, find your legislators here and write (faxes or letters are best, no emails) or call and urge them to support Grace's Law, H.B. 788, and end the use of inhumane, dangerous, outmoded and expensive gas chambers and cruel heartstick in Georgia. Send them the information attached at the end of this article which can be downloaded.
You only have until February 23, 2010 to send faxes or letters or make calls in support of this bill.