• State representative pushing new version of animal cruelty law

    By: Richard Elliot


    ATLANTA - Some animal control officers are trying to get Georgia to toughen up its existing animal cruelty laws so it will be easier to go after starvation and other neglect cases.
    Georgia's animal cruelty law passed in 2010, but some prosecutors believe lawmakers added so many amendments, it actually weakened it from the original version.
    State Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, is sponsoring the new version and said it not only cleans up and clarifies the existing law, it also expands it so that torturing an animal, even if that animal does not die, is considered a felony.
    "We're seeing more examples of malicious behavior, not just cruelty and neglect, but of malicious behavior like poisoning, torturing acts such as tossing a dog out a window," said Golick.  "We have two choices.  We can either do something about it or walk away.  We choose to do something about it."
    Former Cobb County prosecutor Claudine Wilkins wrote some of the state's existing animal legislation.  She supports this bill because she believes it will make it easier for animal control officers to make cases.
    "The majority of animal abuse cases are neglect cases, cases where animals are being starved or ingrown collars or just basically no shelter," said Wilkins.
    Wilkins said this law clarifies what is and is not a neglect case.  The bill remains in a House committee.

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