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How Should Pets Die? Gas Chamber vs. Injection

Debate not cooling down over use of gas chamber vs. injection at new facility
When Janis Griffin learned Union County was putting a gas chamber in its new, state-of-the-art animal shelter, she was horrified.

"Why does Union County want to kill our animals in such an inhumane way where their deaths are frightening and prolonged?" the Monroe resident asked in a June 15 letter to the Observer.

She demanded the county use only lethal injection, the method preferred by the American Humane Association and other animal rights advocates.

So began a campaign to change the shelter, which is scheduled to open Oct. 1. Not always civil, the debate has been waged in newspapers, by e-mail and on the Internet.
Griffin's letter was posted on an animal rights activist Web site, she said, and an online petition railing against the shelter began circulating soon after. The petition, started by a woman in Vermont, lists names and phone numbers of county officials and appears to have more than 5,000 signatures.
Dr. Beth Sabin, a veterinarian who researches the subject for the AVMA, said that while injection is a good option for someone putting down the family dog, it isn't ideal in every case.

"There may be situations where using an inhalable agent as opposed to an injectable agent is preferable," she said.

Hitting a vein is imperative when doing lethal injection, she said, and when a shelter is dealing with aggressive or feral animals, "maybe leading them into a chamber is actually better for everyone."
Other efforts are being made, meanwhile, to reduce the population of unwanted animals in Union County. Eventually, all animals adopted out of the new shelter will be neutered or spayed. Cathey said an operating room has been built in the new building and he has veterinarians willing to perform the procedures for free.

A county woman, Pat Shannon, has also organized a meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Union County Farmers Market for people who want to volunteer at the shelter's adoption program.

full story: north_carolina/counties/union/15403278.htm

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