Full House, Senate Committee Pass Raccoon Trapping Bill
(APN) ATLANTA — The full Georgia House and a Georgia Senate committee have passed a bill that would make raccoon trapping legal in most north Georgia counties.
The full House passed the bill on February 20, 2015, in a vote of 144 to 18. Several Democrats and a few Republicans opposed the measure.
The Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee approved the measure on March 19, 2015.
Julie Robertson, Director of Georgia Animal Rights and Protection (GARP), attended the March 20, 2015 meeting of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment.
She had planned to make a public comment, but never got the chance.
Committee Chairman Ross Tolleson (R-Perry) allowed for a public comment period on other bills the committee reviewed during the meeting. But when it came to HB 160, the Chairman made a motion to vote after the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) presented the legislation.
“The first thing I was going to say was to dispute the false information Rep. Dunahoo has been giving,” Robertson told Atlanta Progressive News.
Rep. Dunahoo has claimed the bill is needed because trappers can be ticketed if raccoons are unintentionally caught in their traps. Likewise, citizens who wish to trap raccoons as a form of pest control might fear being ticketed, he said.
This, says Robertson, is false.
There is already a law on the books allowing anyone to apply for a “nuisance permit” which comes free of charge and allows, “the permittee to trap, transport and release, or kill wildlife and feral hogs where such action is otherwise prohibited by law or regulation,” per O.C.G.A. 27-2-31.
Melissa Cummings, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), says that trappers are not penalized for accidentally trapping “non-target” animals.
“I’ve never heard of that… As long as the trapper is licensed and is operating on property where they have permission to trap, there’d be no violation of any laws. They would just release the animal. They are required to check the traps every twenty-four hours,” Cummings told APN.
Even though DNR and Dunahoo may not be on the same page regarding the origins of the bill, Robertson says they are still on the same side of the issue.
That’s because DNR could profit from selling raccoon trapping licenses, and has already advertised a trapping workshop where participants will “learn how to manage land to benefit deer and turkey populations, while controlling coyotes, beaver, raccoons, and opossums.”
But the benefit would not be to deer and turkey, so much as hunters who want ample game.
“This is how the Department of Natural Resources operates. They manipulate it so there is a high deer population so they can say, ‘We have too many deer; we need to sell off more licenses.’ But it’s because they killed off all the natural predators,” Robertson says.
GARP views trapping as “barbaric and cruel.”
“Animals that get caught in leghold cuffs sometimes chew off their own limbs to escape… There’s a risk to cats and dogs as well. When they are accidentally trapped, they often have to have the leg amputated, the injury is so bad,” Robertson says.
That photo just hits me in the gut. Why would anyone want to be so cruel to any animal? How is this bill even moving forward? This is crazy. Please someone give our legislators something to do. I read the bill and it would even make this legal in metro Atlanta. Pity for the cats and dogs who step in them.
i am one of the Georgia residents who have made calls and sent emails to the senators and representatives to vote No on HB160. Very few responses. One rep said he voted no but Thr other one asked me hoe I felt about abortion and the murder of unborn babies. I’d like to know how that relates to raccoons and trapping. Poor animals have no one to protect them but us.
This bill is a bad idea. If approved, the cost of legal suits against the city when domestic pets are injured as a result will be expensive.
A bill should be created to educate people through PSA’s on how to avoid and secure their propretty from attracting undesired wildlife rather than kill animals.
It’s a known fact that trapping wildlife doesn’t stop the nuisance problem as another animal will take its place. Removing attractants is key to stopping the problem.
Bad idea. There clearly is a lack of foresight.
If the goal is to trap unwanted animals the humane traps work very well. The traps that are made like steel jaws are completely inhumane and barbaric. This just goes to show you how well informed and caring our representatives in the house are. You did not do your homework to find out the facts, pros and cons, you just did what was easy and what DNR wanted. Shame on you. I can promise you if one of my kids or animals get caught in a trap like that I am going to sue your pants off.
I find it hard to believe there are so many cruel and totally stupid
legislators in the State of Georgia who would pass such a horrendous law. Who paid them what and for what purpose to do such terrible things to animals. Too many fools with too much power and too little thinking capacity!!!!!
This is the most cruel and barbaric legislation I have ever heard of. Either our legislators blindly pass bills without true knowledge of their content, or they are the most cold and heartless bunch of law-makers in the entire country. Not only is this both sad and disturbing, it is yet another embarrassment to the state of Georgia.