ATLANTA, Ga — The adoptable dog is officially Georgia’s state dog. State Representative Joe Wilkinson (R-Atlanta) announces Thursday Governor Nathan Deal has signed a bill into law that promotes animal rescue in Georgia.

Wilkinson says by naming the adoptable dog as the official state dog of Georgia, the bill, known as Senate Bill 168, promotes animal rescue and adoption throughout the state, as well as responsible pet ownership including the spay and neuter of dogs and cats.

“When I first introduced this bill in 2015, my hope was to raise awareness to the importance of adopting animals from shelters, where they face an extremely high risk of being euthanized,” says Rep. Wilkinson. “By naming the adoptable dog Georgia’s official state dog, this state symbol will serve as a reminder to our citizens that there are thousands of animals in shelters across our state that are in need of loving homes, and I hope that this will encourage more Georgians to adopt and save an animal’s life. Thank you to Governor Deal for signing this legislation and making the adoptable dog Georgia’s official state dog.”

The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy shows the majority of animals that are taken to shelters are euthanized, and by encouraging responsible pet ownership, the number of unwanted dogs who eventually end up in shelters will be greatly reduced.Click here for more information on SB 168.