License Plate

License Plate Amendment Passed! THANK YOU!

Dog and cat overpopulation is a major problem in all areas of Georgia.  Each year, thousands of healthy, friendly cats and dogs are killed in Georgia shelters because people have allowed their pets and strays to breed, and there are not enough homes for them all.  In addition, many Georgians cannot afford to sterilize their pets.  To address this problem, Humane Association of Georgia launched its Dog and Cat License Plate Project, to work for the passage of legislation setting up a special license plate to fund low-cost spay/neuter operations.  Money generated from the voluntary purchase of the Cat & Dog license plate is used strictly for the statewide sterilization program, which is administered by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Licensed, accredited veterinarians perform low-cost sterilization procedures and receive reimbursement through a contractual agreement with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Why Is Spay-Neuter of Domestic Animals So Important?
The Pet Population Pyramid1st Year:  3 litters = 12 Offspring
2nd Year:  Could be 144+ Offspring
3rd Year:  Could be 1728+ OffspringJust one un-sterilized female cat and her offspring can produce 20,000 kittens in only 4 years.Just one un-sterilized female dog and her offspring can produce 4,000 puppies in only 7 years
Animal overpopulation causes big problems and costs big money for Georgia citizens.  Even one unsterilized animal can contribute to the overpopulation problem.  Unwanted and stray animals can cause:Health risks through the spread of zoonotic diseases like rabiesDestruction of propertyDestruction of livestock, poultry, and wildlifeVehicle accidentsInjuries to people and other animalsIncreased insurance costs due to destructive behavior and bite casesThe monetary cost of dealing with unwanted cats and dogs in Georgia is sobering:It costs approximately $105 of our tax money to kill each unwanted animal.Roughly $7.3 million was spent in Metro Atlanta alone in 1999 to destroy unwanted animals.The Georgia Department of Human Resources spends at least $3 million annually on rabies post-exposure treatment and testing.
Why Does Georgia Need A Cat & Dog Spay/Neuter License Plate?
Although $60+ million is collected in sales tax for dog and cat food alone in Georgia,  less than $1 million annually is spent for companion animal protection statewide.  Half of Georgia’s counties have no animal control.  Funding is desperately needed to stem the animal over-population problem through spay/neuter of existing animals.The Cat and Dog Sterilization Fund saves money and lives by reducing the number of animals who are controlled, housed, and killed in shelters.$1 spent on sterilization programs today will save $20 by the year 2006.Fewer animals means fewer new shelters must be built and fewer animal control professionals must be hired.
How Does the Dog & Cat License Plate Work?
As with other “specialty” license plates, county tag offices collect additional funds with the usual tag fee for each Dog & Cat License plate purchased.  Purchase of the plates by Georgia citizens is completely voluntary.  The money generated by sales of the plates:Helps pay for sterilization proceduresProvides educational materials about the importance of sterilizationPromotes sales of the plateThe Georgia Department of Agriculture pays licensed veterinarians in Georgia to perform spay or neuter procedures for dogs and cats.
What is the History of the Cat & Dog License Plate Project?
On April 12, 2002, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation which paved the way for a voter referendum on the Cat & Dog License Plate to be placed on the ballot for the November 2, 2002 general election.  The passage of this legislation, sponsored and guided by Representative Lynmore James (D-104th) of Montezuma and Senator Robert Brown (D-26th) of Macon, was the culmination of a six-year effort by HAGA and other organizations.  The legislation had two parts:House Resolution 264 provided for the issue regarding an amendment to Georgia’s constitution allowing for the license plate to be placed on the November 2, 2002 general election ballot.  Read the full text of HR 264 here.House Bill 945 allows the plate to be sold, and for the spay/neuter program to be administered by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.  Read the full text of HB 945 here.Governor Roy Barnes signed both pieces of legislation during a ceremony held in Macon on June 6, 2002.  Read more about the ceremony and see pictures in the “HAGA News” section of this site.On November 5, 2002, an overwhelming majority of Georgia citizens voted “Yes” to the constitutional amendment which appeared on the general election ballot.  This vote cleared the way for production of the license plate to begin.  The plates then became available for sale at local county tag offices on January 2, 2003.During 2003, the Georgia Department of Agriculture promulgated regulations and procedures for the administration of the Cat and Dog Sterilization Fund, and funds collected from the sales of plates during 2003 became available for payment to veterinarians who wish to participate in the program.  The first spay/neuter procedure under the auspices of the program was performed by Dr. Wes Hamryka of Sugar Hill Animal Hospital, on “Jackson”, a mixed-breed puppy in November 2003.The Dog and Cat Sterilization Fund was also set up to receive funds from individuals or groups wishing to make a tax-deductible donation.For more information about the Dog and Cat Sterilization Fund, visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s site by clicking here.
Who Supports the Dog & Cat License Plate Project?
Georgia Association of County CommissionersGeorgia Animal Control AssociationGeorgia Coalition of Dog ClubsGeorgia Department of AgricultureGeorgia Emergency Management AgencyGeorgia Municipal AssociationGeorgia Pet Industry AssociationGeorgia Sheriff’s AssociationGeorgia Veterinary Medical AssociationHumane Association of Georgia, Inc.Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of GeorgiaOver 70% of Georgia voters in the November 5, 2002 election!!
What Can I Do Now?
Buy a Dog and Cat Sterilization Fund License Plate at your county tag office, and encourage friends and relatives to also support this worthwhile program.Consider making a donation to the DCSF as a gift or in honor of a friend or loved one.Join HAGA’s “Tag Team”, a group of dedicated volunteers who are working to promote sales of the License Plate.  Contact HAGA president Carolyn Danese by email for more information.