I attended Rep. Stan Watson's hearing in Decatur last week to discuss the conditions in Georgia animal shelters. He brought a little friend from the Department of Agriculture whose name I did not catch, much to my woe. At one point a citizen asked why the Department of Agriculture was not enforcing the 1990 Georgia Humane Euthanization Act. Said Department of Agriculture guy says rather snottily that there is no such thing as the Georgia Humane Euthanization Act.
Well, guess what hit the AP today.
The state issued a favorable inspection report last May for Cobb County's animal shelter even though the facility was operating a carbon monoxide chamber at the time of the inspection, according to an order filed last week by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Tom Campbell.
Two months before the inspection, the court had ordered the state to begin enforcing the Georgia Humane Euthanasia Act, passed in 1990, which calls for lethal injection with sodium pentobarbital to be used in the vast majority of cases when dogs and cats need to be euthanized.
The law allows counties that were using carbon monoxide gas in 1990 to continue using their gas chambers, but not to replace them. The Cobb County shelter's gas chamber was installed in 1995, which state inspectors knew when they checked the facility earlier this year, court documents show.
The state was expected to comment later Wednesday on the court's contempt ruling, spokesman Yao Seidu said.
To have the Oct. 3 ruling thrown out, the state agriculture department must withdraw the favorable inspection report and issue a new one citing Cobb County's improper euthanasia technique, according to the court documents.
Plaintiffs' attorney Walter Bush called the contempt ruling an "embarrassment" for the state.
"We hope that the state will now finally realize what it should have been doing all along, which is enforcing the law," Bush said. "We hope they will now do their job."
The plaintiffs are Chesley Morton, the former lawmaker who sponsored the state law, and Jennifer Robinson, a former Clayton County Humane Society worker whose dog was gassed after being hit by a car.
The case was filed after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals received numerous complaints from whistleblowers in Georgia detailing the consequences of gassing animals in shelters, officials with the animal rights organization said.
Daphna Nachminovitch, director of the domestic animal department for PETA, called the court's ruling the "final blow" in the case.
"This is obviously very serious," she said. "The Georgia Department of Agriculture must uphold the law that it's been charged with enforcing all these years and has failed to."
So I'm mad as hell because this guy told us a bald-faced lie. What, did he think we couldn't read? How stupid does this guy think we are, really?
So what is proper procedure when a government official has lied to you? I'm planning a letter to the editor (will need the guy's name first) and a email asking Rep. Watson why I should believe anything he says when he brought Liar Liar Pants on Fire to this meeting and introduced him as his buddy, but that doesn't seem like enough. Now I think I understand why so many people drop out of civic life altogether.