Gassing of Homeless Dogs and Cats
The impact of irresponsible breeding, neglect and abandonment of animals leaves more than six million American dogs and cats without homes inside thousands of shelters across the country each year. While many adoptions of animals’ fortunate enough to find a home occur, sadly, more than three million innocent victims are euthanized or killed each year.
Regardless of one’s position on whether shelters should euthanize, there is broad agreement that the gas chamber is cruel, and that lethal injection is more humane.
Multiple dogs and cats are literally forced and shoved against their will into the metal gas chambers. Mixed species of all sizes and shapes are crammed inside without any prior sedation. Sometimes they must stand on the dead animals who were gassed before them. The innocent animals routinely panic, bark, and howl attempting to escape as the box is filled with as many others victims as possible. Some become aggressive with others as they try to escape with their lives, all this even before the gassing occurs. When the gas is turned on, the animals have already been struggling for several minutes when they begin to hear the hissing noise of carbon monoxide enveloping their world.
Death by gassing (usually carbon monoxide) often takes 30 minutes or more. Unconsciousness sets in only when vital organs shut down, which is a slow, painful process. Pregnant, injured, or very young and very old animals absorb the gases differently than healthy animals, which can lead to even longer time periods before the onset of death. Some animals have emerged from the gas chambers alive, only to be subjected to the same terrifying experience a second time.
Gassing homeless dogs, cats and other animals is an extermination method that should be relegated to our past. It conjures up horrific associations of when Nazi’s utilized this same approach to cull people. Even today, our nation’s worst criminals are spared the injustice of this terrifying, drawn out punishment.
With only 21 states in the U.S. having either laws or practices in place that ban the horrific use of gas chambers to kill animals, vital work still remains. We must ensure all state laws require the use of euthanasia by injection with sodium pentobarbital as the standard method of euthanasia for all shelter animals. Every state must allow licensed animal shelters to receive training, earn certifications in the use of, and the ability to administer sodium pentobarbital when euthanasia of shelter animals becomes necessary.