Category Archives: Cabarrus County

Cabarrus County ends gas chamber use

Cabarrus County has reportedly ended the use of its gas chamber in its pound after accepting a $10,000 grant from HSUS. It’s unclear if and when the gas chamber will be dismantled and removed from the facility so that it may never be used again, but previous HSUS grants have stipulated removal within 6 months.

Ending the use of the gas chamber is a very good thing, but what has NOT ended in Cabarrus County is the killing of healthy and treatable shelter pets. The 2012 reported kill rate in Cabarrus was 52%, which is down from previous years but still means most animals who go into that pound end up in the dumpster.

One thing being kept alive in Cabarrus is the lie that such killing is “euthanasia” or some sort of kindness.  Judy Sims, executive director of the Humane Society of Concord & Greater Cabarrus County, ghoulishly extolled the killing of pets by lethal injection, saying the animals “just drift off to sleep in a very peaceful manner.” Oh really? (Warning: disturbing video.)

“Although better than gas systems by far, lethal injection is not always painless either, as anyone who has witnessed the killing of animals in shelters can attest. With some animals, there is fear, disorientation, nausea and many times even a struggle. A dog who is skittish, for example, is made even more fearful by the smells and surroundings of the animal shelter. He doesn’t understand why he is there and away from the only family he has ever loved. To kill this dog, he may have to be “catch-poled” a device that wraps a hard-wire noose around the dog’s neck. (Disturbing video of a dog being dragged by a catchpole here.)

“He struggles to free himself from the grip, only to result in more fear and pain when he realizes he cannot. The dog often urinates and defecates on himself, unsure of what is occurring. Often the head is held hard to the ground or against the wall so that another staff member can enter the kennel and inject him with a sedative. While the catch-pole is left around the neck, the dog struggles to maintain his balance, he tries to stand, but his legs give way. He is frightened by the people around him. He does not understand what is happening. He goes limp and then unconscious. That is when staff administers the fatal dose.”  (No Kill Advocacy Center.)

More than 160 communities across the US have ended the debate over the best way to kill healthy and treatable shelter pets by SAVING THEM. There is no reason Cabarrus County cannot do the same.

Animal advocates can contact Cabarrus County officials (contact information below) and ask them to mandate adoption of a cost-effectiveproven program for lifesaving success in their county.

County Manager: Mike Downs, mkdowns@cabarruscounty.us,  704-920-2100, 65 Church Street SE, PO Box 707, Concord, NC 28026-070, FAX: 704-920-2250.

Commissioners:
Elizabeth “Liz” Poole: efpoole@cabarruscounty.us, 210 Ravine Circle, Concord, NC 28025;
H. Jay White, Sr: jwhite@cabarruscounty.us, P.O. Box 368, 71 McCachern Blvd, Concord, NC 28026;
Larry Burrage:​ lmburrage@cabarruscounty.us, P.O. Box 707, Concord, NC 28026​;
Christopher A. Measmer: cameasmer@cabarruscounty.us, 419 Paddington Drive, Concord, NC 28025;
Stephen “Steve” M. Morris: smmorris@cabarruscounty.us, 49 Georgia Street NW,Concord, NC 28025.

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Filed under Cabarrus County, gas chamber

Demolish the gas chambers!

Iredell County gas chamber

Iredell County, NC, gas chamber. Photo by Flickr member NCCHE.

A “relatively painless” death can only occur in an environment where sensitivity, compassion and skill combine with efforts to minimize distress and anxiety. By contrast, gas systems take time to kill— during which animals experience distress and anxiety, and can struggle to survive. They can result in animals surviving the gassing, only to suffer even more. And they take longer to kill if animals are young, old, or have respiratory infections, which is common in some shelters. They are designed for the ease of shelter workers, not care and compassion for the animals.–A Call To Ban The Gas Chamber

The good news: Several NC counties, including Person, Johnston and Sampson, have recently announced plans to discontinue or restrict the use  of gas chambers and/or remove them completely. Other NC counties that recently joined the march toward civilized treatment of shelter pets include Brunswick County, where the CO chamber was last used in November 2011, according to inspection reports, and Craven-Pamlico, which ended the use of its chamber on Feb.1, 2012.

But bad news remains: There are still far too many North Carolina counties killing shelter pets in the barbaric contraptions. Fourteen counties still use gas chambers as their primary means of killing shelter pets. Several others have switched primarily to lethal injection but retain the CO chambers for use with wildlife and “dangerous” animals. (Often, feral cats are considered to be in the “dangerous” category, which means the gas chamber still gets used quite a lot in those places.)

The gas chamber has been banned in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

As long as the inhumane contraptions, throwbacks to our less-civilized past, remain in use in North Carolina, we will never be able to move forward to a humane future in which shelters will be places where animals’ lives are protected. The gas chambers in NC must be demolished. Even in counties where gas chamber use has ended, having a working chamber onsite means that it can be put back into full-time use again at any time, as it was in Sampson County.

Below is a county-by-county listing of the the places that still use gas chambers and links to contact information for county officials who can change that. I have written a sample letter that can be used as a template for your own letters to these officials. More points to use in a letter can be found in the American Humane Association gas chamber fact sheet.

Ashe County: If there were a “Worst Place in NC for Animals” award, Ashe County would be a nominee. Not only does their pound gas an incredibly high number of animals each year, but their pound director doesn’t care for adoptions, shooting is a standard animal control technique and animal cruelty is considered just one of those thingsAsk Ashe County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county! Contact information for Ashe County Officials is here. The Ashe County CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in May 2012.

Alamance County/City of Burlington: Lethal injection is the primary means of killing pets at Burlington Animal Services, but the gas chamber is still used for wildlife and “dangerous” animals. Ask Alamance County/City of Burlington officials to completely end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber! Find contact information here. It appears that the BAS gas chamber has not been inspected by the NCDA&CS Animal Welfare Service since 2009.

Beaufort County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Beaufort County. Ask Beaufort County officials to end the use of  and demolish the barbaric gas chamber.  Find contact information here. The Beaufort County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in March 2012.

Cabarrus County: UPDATE: In July 2013, Cabarrus County accepted a $10,000 grant from HSUS to end its use of the gas chamber. The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Cabarrus County. Ask Cabarrus County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The CO chamber in Cabarrus County does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Cleveland County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Cleveland County. Ask Cleveland County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Cleveland County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in January 2012.

Davidson County: Davidson County’s gas chamber is one of the most infamous in North Carolina. In 2011, a shelter volunteer told the Davidson County commissioners that he saw “Davidson County Animal Shelter employees laugh as they put a mother cat, her kitten and a raccoon into the same compartment of the shelter’s gas chamber in 2009 and let them fight before they were euthanized.” Then over Thanksgiving weekend in 2011, two Thomasville police officers who were not trained or certified took a dog they had shot and wounded to the closed Davidson pound and killed it in the gas chamber. Despite massive opposition to the gas chamber by Davidson County residents, most county commissioners voted to continue using the barbaric contraption in August 2011. Ask Davidson County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Davidson County pound CO chamber does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Gaston County: According to a June 2012 AWS inspection report,  the gas chamber is only used for about 1 percent of the animals killed in the Gaston County pound. Nonetheless, as long as the chamber remains operable and in the facility, it can be put into more frequent use at any time. Ask Gaston County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Gaston County pound CO chamber  was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since in June 2012.

Granville County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing pets in the Granville County pound. Ask Granville County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Granville County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in  2011.

Iredell County: Iredell County is famous for being the site of one of several gas chamber explosions in North Carolina. In 2008, Iredell’s almost-brand-new gas chamber exploded with 10 dogs inside as a result of an electrical malfunction. Nonetheless, the county repaired the unit and had it back in service a year later. Ask Iredell County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Iredell County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in  May 2012.

Johnston County: UPDATE: Reportedly, the Johnston gas chamber is now NOT in use, all gas canisters have been disposed of and the chamber is to be dismantled and removed in the near future. In response to years of pressure by animal advocates, Johnston County pound manager Ed Wilkinson announced in December 2012 that he planned to decrease the use of the gas chamber to only “vicious” animals. Wilkinson gave no definition of what constitutes a “vicious” animal, so it’s possible that category could include feral cats, which are killed by the tens of thousands every year in NC pounds. Gas chamber use needs to end completely in Johnston County. As long as the chamber remains operable and in the facility, it can be put into more frequent use at any time. Please tell Johnston County officials and pound director Ernie Wilkinson that ending the use of the gas chamber represents progress, and ask them to begin implementing the programs proven to end the killing of healthy and treatable pets in their facility. Find contact information here. The Johnston County pound CO chamber does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Martin County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Martin County. Ask Martin County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Martin County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in 2011.

Nash County: The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Nash County. Ask Nash County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The CO chamber in Nash  County does not appear to have been inspected by NCDA&CS AWS since 2009.

Randolph County:  The gas chamber is the primary means of killing animals in Randolph County. Ask Randolph County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The CO chamber in Randolph County does not appear to have ever been inspected by  NCDA&CS AWS.

Rowan County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Rowan County. Ask Rowan County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Rowan County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in January 2012.

Union County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Union County. Ask Union County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Union County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in September 2012.

Vance County: Vance County is reportedly eliminating or reducing use of its gas chamber. According to a Facebook post by the Vance County SPCA, the county has already ended the gas chamber use. But as long as the chamber remains operable and in the facility, it can be put back into frequent use at any time. Ask Vance County officials to demolish the gas chamber and remove it completely. Find contact information here. The Vance County pound CO chamber was last  inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in July 2011.

Wilkes County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Wilkes County. Ask Wilkes County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Wilkes  County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in May 2012.

Wilson County: The gas chamber is currently the primary means of killing pets in Wilson County. Ask Wilson County officials to end the use of and demolish the barbaric gas chamber in their county. Find contact information here. The Wilson County pound CO chamber was last inspected by NCDA&CS AWS in 2011.

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Filed under Alamance County, Ashe County, Beaufort County, Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Davidson County, gas chamber, Gaston County, Granville County, Iredell County, Johnston County, Martin County, Nash County, Randolph County, Rowan County, Union County, Vance County, Wilkes County, Wilson County

NC pounds in the news

A news roundup of sorts …

The Brunswick County pound might be taken over by the sheriff’s department. If they have anyone there like Sgt. Karl Bailey, that could be a good thing. In 2011 the Brunswick County pound, a gas chamber facility,  killed  58.88 percent of dogs and 91.62 percent of cats that came in.

Cabarrus County Commissioner Bob Carruth says that after “years of work,” it’s time to “move toward” reducing that pound’s death rate.  The plan seems to involve “clarifying roles”  between animal control and the pound, hiring a couple of part-time workers to clean kennels and using some software to track the animals that come in. I wonder if it is a five-year plan? Unfortunately, none of the steps mentioned involve getting rid of the gas chamber.  In 2011 Cabarrus County pound killed  49.08 percent of dogs and 46.03 percent of cats that came in.

Forsyth County Animal Control wants feedback on their efforts to protect animals. They have posted an online survey. In 2011 Forsyth County AC killed  68.56 percent of dogs and 87.82 percent of cats that came in.

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