Georgia House votes to make adoptable canines the state’s official dog

Georgia lawmakers over the years have been known to be suckers for “official” state designations. They named the green tree frog as the Peach State’s official amphibian. They chose the brown thrasher as the state’s official bird. And vegetable? What else but the Vidalia sweet onion.

But in a state where many college graduates go bonkers over university bulldogs named Uga, not once has Georgia ever designated an “official” dog.

Until Tuesday, when some lawmakers tried to get out of the doghouse.

On a 172-0 vote, Georgia House members passed House Bill 561 to officially name a state dog. Instead of pitting one breed over another for the honor, the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, said he chose what he thought was the best compromise: The designation would go simply to "the adoptable dog."

It’s an effort to recognize the thousands of dogs (and cats) currently available for adoption in Georgia animal shelters, humane societies and private rescue groups, according to the bill. Wilkinson and others supporting the effort said it’s also meant to promote animal rescue and adoption.

The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.