Wednesday, September 30, 2009

North Carolina County Bans Gas Chambers - Perhaps Reluctantly -More work needs to be done!

Hooray for Stokes County, North Carolina. They decided not to wait any longer for state legislators to decide about ending the use of gas chambers to euthanise homeless pets. Instead the county put its own ban on the cruel practice.

Earlier in 2009 the North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia put pressure on state politicians to review their policies for euthanising animals. This led to two bills that were introduced to legislators.

The first was House Bill 6 or Davie’s Law which was introduced by Rep. Cary Allred. It prohibited any animal from being killed in a carbon monoxide gas chamber. Davie’s Law was named after a shelter puppy that survived a gas chamber killing and was rescued when a couple heard him crying from inside a garbage bag in a dumpster in Davie County.

The second proposal, Bill 27 was a watered down compromise that banned gas chambers for most pets, but allowed the procedure for wild or dangerous animals. Feral cats were among those included in this category.

For a little while there was a flurry of activity as animal advocates reported horror stories about terrified animals forced into gas chambers and their lingering inhumane deaths.

Unfortunately legislators also heard from animal control officers and even the North Carolina American Veterinary Medical Association that the use of gas chambers could be considered a humane method of euthanasia, if it is done properly.

There was even a political scandal during the hearings with Rep. Allred that eventually led to him stepping down from his office.

Ultimately all of the debates, statistics and scandals didn’t matter in the end. According to the Animal Law Coalition, both NC Bills “were defeated and the legislation is dead for this session.”

The good news is that most of the state’s animal shelters have made the decision to toss out their gas chambers even without a statewide law and now Stokes County has joined them.

Phillip Hanby, the director of the Stokes County Animal Shelter said, “We knew eventually we would go to injections; it’s just taken time.”

It isn’t clear from his statements if Hanby is a wholehearted supporter of the new policy, but he is moving in the right direction. In an interview with Stokes County News he explained that the workload for his staff has increased because of the ban and because his staff must now give individual injections to the 30 cats and dogs euthanised every week, but “it’s something that needed to be done,” he said.

To decrease the workload for his staff Hanby is working with local organizations such as the Stokes County Humane Society and Stokes County Animal Rescue to place adoptable pets and educate pet owners about having their animals spayed and neutered. (Yes! Mimi's note.)

The shelter has also linked their website to and their new Facebook page has helped find homes for cats and dogs from as far away as New York and Pennsylvania.

Mona Triplett with the Stokes Country Humane Society is pleased with the efforts made. She said, “I’m so proud of Stokes Country because they’re placing value on our pets. The Animal Shelter is making great strides in the community.”

There are still 31 animal shelters in North Carolina that use gas chambers to euthanize homeless pets.

Click here to read more about the subject: Animals Continue to Die While Politicians Debate

Now, before you go look at another blog or say, "Boy, someone should do something about this," if you live in North Carolina, find your legislator's email or phone number and rattle some chains - both at the state and Federal levels. If you don't live in North Carolina, check out the shelters in your state and where you live. Find out what they are doing. If it doesn't seem humane to you - write an editorial, contact your commissioners, contact state officials, contact the HSUS, contact the ASPCA, contact each and everyone you can think of because if YOU don't do it, who will?

Dozens of people were moved to tears when they read about Domi's death from cancer. If the shelter where she was living before she was adopted by her family had a kill attitude or used an inhumane method of euthanasia, that wonderful therapy dog would have been dead and gone before her family found her. If you have a shelter pet, look into his or her eyes and imagine a horrible, frightful, miserable death - then, get up and RATTLE SOME CAGES and CHAINS. The animals you love are depending on YOU! 


Brownie said...

Ugh! I didn't know that this barbaric practice was still being used! I am so glad that they made a progress in the right direction!

Tanuki Maxx said...

Hope more would be done to put a total stop to this.


Samantha said...

Okay Mimi - you've started up my "GO" button - that's revolting news to awaken to. I'll do some checking around here in CA and see if I can find out if and where such practices are in effect. Tho hard to read, thanks for sharing this awful info.
xo Sammie's mom

Ashley (the mom) and Dixie (the Catahoula) said...

Thank you for getting the word out. So many people here in NC just ignore what is going on or "feel bad" but do nothing.
Even if you aren't from NC, please call or write our legislators. Let them know the entire nation is disgusted by how euthanasia is handled here! My service dog was a few days away from being gassed when I rescued her for the crime of being dumped.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how many places still uses gas to animals down. Sadly a lot of places throught the country still does. Im grateful that here in Houston they don't use gas and haven't for quite a while.

Brindusa said...

Dear paw friends,

I always used US as an example of bests practice for animal's right. My NGO fights in our home town for animal's rights on a totally other level and that is because our authorities commit most of the abuses. They catch stray animals and in order to avoid using the illegal shelter, from the local Zoo, they simply kill them. How? In a most brutal way? They don't use either injection or gas, they simply hit them to death. The director from the Zoo, a vet, is the only person from our town who owns a tranquilizer. He shoots the stray animals during nights, afterwards he throw them into the cage of the wild animals, from the Zoo.
Me and my colleagues constantly save stray animals and because we don't own a shelter, we take some of the animals home. Because of that, I am constantly daunted by my neighbors hooked up with the local authorities.

The 'splorin' Wolfies said...

wonderful wonderful post you guys. horrible but true! was said even to read "we knew we would eventually switch to injections"
which still means it is a kill shelter. continue to fight for no kill shelters fellow animal loving citizens!

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Many of the transports Mom does inkhlude animals that khome from shelters in North Kharolina so she understands some of the evils that exist there -

Tank woo fur spreading the word and sharing this step in the khorrekht direkhtion -


Teddy Bear said...

It is so sad to know that such horrible things exist.

Teddy Bear

The Bumpass Hounds said...

The Fredericksburg shelter and the Charlottesville shelter have both expanded and gone to no kill policies. that sound good but when they reach capacity they end up refusing to take additional animals. The solution is in responsible pet ownership and maybe spending stimulus money for spay and neuter programs instead of wasting it on a lot of the programs it goes to now.

KB said...

What a horrible thing to imagine. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I never had any idea that such gas chambers even existed.

Sam said...

This is an issue I feel strongly about, because it happens in Georgia, too, where Marge came from. I shudder to think that that is how she could have died if not for the people who rescued her litter when they were only days or weeks old.

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

We don't like any kind of euthanasia. That is just not right!!! Educate the people that is the right thing to do!!

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Alex93andme said...

That is so horrible. I didn't know anybody even used that practice these days. I will let my friends in NC know and find out if it happens where I live. Torture and barbaric are only two words I will write to describe that...

The OP Pack said...

You always have such wonderful posts and do such a good job of spreading the word about bad things we can do something about. Thanks for all that you do.

Woos, the OP Pack

Benny and Lily said...

yea..good info
Benny & Lily

Ashley (the mom) and Dixie (the Catahoula) said...

We've been very lucky not only that my mom writes letters to the legislators but also worked for a vet who supported the cause and helped as much as he could. We've met some wonderful people during this who are working so hard to get these horrible practices ended.
Mom thinks it is a great idea to write them with my story now that i am a service dog. She can't volunteer as much while sick so that is something she can do to help!
Hugs and Tail Wags,

chicamom85 said...

That is a great story to bring attention to. It seems so backward that places are still doing that. Thank you for posting that.

Anne and Sasha

Emma Rose said...

We had no idea! Thank you so much for the post. We can always count on you to bring us important information. My Duchess is going to do some snooping around here in Oregon now! We will either rattle some cages or open them!

Emma Rose

Dory and the Mama said...

Thank you so much for your help in making us all aware!!

the Mama