Georgia Department of Agriculture
The Georgia Department of Agriculture licenses and inspects all animal shelters in Georgia and enforces the animal protection rules.
Below are some recommendations by the Georgia Animal Shelter Alliance of improvements the Georgia Department of Agriculture could make to increase lifesaving in the state while protecting public health, fiscal responsibility, and local control.
Trap, Neuter, Return
The rules should be amended to clearly allow for trap, neuter and return as an outcome type for community cats. A city or county should be able to decide for themselves if a community cat program is right for the people and pets in their community, without roadblocks from the state.
The requirement for foster homes to be inspected twice a year should be eliminated. This inspection requirement has not been effective in eliminating rescue hoarding in the state and is an undue time burden on already under resourced shelters and rescues.
We commend the Georgia Department of Agriculture on collecting and publishing monthly data from municipal shelters. However, this data does not include non-profits contracted with cities and counties to provide sheltering services. Therefore, the collected data is incomplete. To get an accurate month to month picture of the status of animal sheltering in the state, data collection should be expanded to include all brick-and-mortar shelters in Georgia, not just those managed by municipalities directly.
The Dog and Cat sterilization program, funded by special license plate sales, has been an asset to non-profits and municipal shelters for years. However, the applicant pool is limited to vet clinics and licensed shelters and the funding cannot currently be used for trap, neuter and return. The scope of applicants should be expanded to include unlicensed shelter support agencies with 501(c)3 status and funding should be allowed to be used for the sterilization of all dogs and cats.