Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More States to Vote on Bills to Stop Gassing Animals

According to the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, the proposed Senate Bill 501 would amend the current state code to specifically forbid the use of a gas chamber to euthanize an animal. Kessler, who owns four dogs, introduced the bill last week after being approached by Betty Burkett, president of the West Virginia Federation of Humane Organizations. “I have seen the injections done,” Burkett said. “They just go limp. You don't leave them by themselves. Somebody is there with them...It would be less stressful on a person to see the way the animal goes down versus just putting them in a box and walking away.”

However, some animal control officials disagree, arguing that the carbon monoxide chamber can sometimes work better than lethal injection, particularly when handling vicious dogs and feral cats. “To put your hands on a dog like that and try to hold it and stick a needle in its arm, it's very tough,” said Lila Beth, executive director of Marion County Animal Control. She continued by saying, “what if you stick yourself?” Beth also added that other risks include the drug squirting out of the syringe into a technician's eye or an animal with rabies biting someone.

Georgia State Representative Tom Knox has also introduced House Bill 606 (“Grace’s Law”), which would ban the use of gas chambers by public animal shelters as a means of euthanizing cats and dogs in Georgia. The bill would also prohibit “heartstick” as a means of euthanization except on unconscious or comatose animals in certain situations and would mandate humane lethal injection or oral ingestion of sodium pentobarbital as the only means of euthanasia allowed throughout the State of Georgia. The Georgia Humane Euthanasia Act, which became law in 1990, mandates the use of sodium pentobarbital or a derivative as the exclusive method for euthanasia of animals in public shelters; however, there are exceptions that have allowed some shelters to continue to use animal gas chambers in Georgia.

Thirteen states currently ban the use of carbon monoxide to euthanize animals, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Let’s keep working to get the remaining states to do the same.


West Virginia Senate Bill 501:
Contact your local state Senate representative.

Georgia House Bill 606:
For more information and who to contact visit http://network.bestfriends.org/georgia/news/

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