Category Archives: gas chamber

Randolph County officials love gas chamber so much they return HSUS grant

In December 2011, Randolph County accepted a $3,000 grant from HSUS that included a stipulation that the gas chamber be phased out as a means of killing pets in the county pound. More than two years later, however, Randolph has neglected to actually phase out the gas chamber. Johnston County, which also accepted a grant at the same time as Randolph, removed their gas chamber about a year ago.

When HSUS asked  the county to either honor its commitment to phase out the barbaric killing machine or give back the grant money, pound officials chose to give back the grant.

Since 2011, twelve NC counties have ended the use of gas chambers to kill shelter pets. Twenty three states have passed laws against gas chamber killing.

There is no progressive sheltering agency of any scope or stature willing to philosophically embrace CO systems for euthanasia of any dog or cat. Humane sheltering is deliberately, inexorably, and philosophically moving away from mass killing as an acceptable method of dog and cat population control. ~Dr. Michael R. Moyer, V.M.D.

Animal advocates may contact MiMi Cooper, the official who oversees operations at the Randolph County pound, at Contact information for Randolph County commissioners, who could, if they wished, decide to mandate removal of the county’s gas chamber, can be found here.

Inspiration for  letters may be found here and  here, and this sample letter may be used as a template.


Filed under gas chamber, Randolph County

Demolish the Rowan County gas chamber!

In response to recent anti-gas-chamber activism in Rowan County, pound director Clai Martin is digging in his heels to fight the attempt to take away his barbaric killing machine.

Martin cites “employee safety” as the reason he wants to keep his gas chamber. But an essay by Dr. Michael R. Moyer, V.M.D., past Director of the Shelter Animal Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, points out the fallacy of that argument:

Some argue that gas systems are appropriate for dangerous animals because it does not require “hands on” euthanasia by staff the way lethal injection would. But this argument ignores the necessity of not just moving those animals from their kennels to the euthanasia room, but then attempting to place those animals into a small, enclosed chamber. Any animal that can be managed into a chamber could be more safely and humanely tranquilized then given a lethal overdose of pentobarbital. (From “The Wrongness of It Screams and Howls”: An Expert Report on Gas Chamber Use at Animal Shelters.)

Indeed, thousands of non-gas-chamber pounds around the United States manage to safely kill as many or more pets each year as Rowan County does. (Clai Martin and his staff killed almost 48% of the cats and dogs in 2012, plus some raccoons and opossums who were most likely killed illegally.) Not to mention that there are hundreds of No Kill communities across the country, in which euthanasia is reserved for its true purpose in ending irremediable suffering and where gas chambers are never used. The safest option for workers at the Rowan County pound would be to end the killing of healthy and treatable pets altogether.

What’s more, gas chambers present health and safety risks to humans because carbon monoxide can leak or gas can accumulate and cause explosions. Such accidents have caused injury and death to shelter staff,  including a 2000 incident in which a Chattanooga Humane Society worker died of CO poisoning while removing a dead dog from the gas chamber and a 2009 explosion in Lincoln County, NC, that injured a pound employee. Chronic exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can also cause serious health problems.

Shelter workers also report higher levels of psychological stress from having to use gas chambers to euthanize animals versus using EBI. According to the Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, the CO chamber “takes longer than euthanasia by injection and has not been shown to provide emotional benefits for staff. Some shelter workers have reported being distressed by hearing animals vocalizing, scratching and howling in the chamber, and by having to repeat the process when animals survived the first procedure.”

Because of the considerable and obvious suffering inflicted, carbon monoxide systems desensitize animal shelter workers who use them to kill dogs and cats. Indeed, only a desensitized person could put animals into the device, close the door, push the button, step back and watch—knowing what is about to happen inside. Ironically, those hired to care for animals in need are forced to inflict this cruelty upon them as a part of their job duties. (From “The Wrongness of It Screams and Howls”: An Expert Report on Gas Chamber Use at Animal Shelters.)

Twenty three states have passed laws against gas chamber killing. Many formerly gassing counties across North Carolina have taken steps toward the civilized treatment of animals; at least 12 counties have junked the barbaric death machines since 2011. Currently, there are 10 NC gas chambers still in regular use, and two counties have gas chambers for occasional use.

Animal advocates may contact Rowan County commissioners using the information below and respectfully ask them to demolish the gas chamber and adopt the No Kill Equation:


All commissioners can be reached by mail at 130 W. Innes Street, Salisbury, NC 28144.

Inspiration for  letters may be found here and  here, and this sample letter may be used as a template.


Filed under gas chamber, Rowan County

Alexander County eliminates gas chamber

Alexander County has ended the use of CO gas to kill animals and its gas chamber has been destroyed, according to an HSUS press release (complete with photographic proof of the junked CO chamber).

Alexander is the twelfth NC county to end use of the barbaric gas chamber since 2011. Counties that still use gas chambers as the primary means of killing shelter pets are: Beaufort , Cleveland, Davidson, Granville, Martin,  Randolph, Rowan, Union, Wilkes and Wilson. Gaston and Nash counties primarily use lethal injection but still use gas to kill some animals.

NC Gas Chamber Counties Oct. 2013. Click map to view full size

Click map to view full size

Animal Advocates may find contact information for officials of gassing counties here. A sample letter to officials can be found here, and plenty of inspiration for what to write in your own letter can be found here.

Remember: The debate does not have to be between killing animals with CO and killing them with lethal injection. Counties can end the killing of healthy and treatable pets altogether and turn their pounds into bona fide shelters, where animals’ lives are protected.  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 through implementation of  a cost-effectiveproven program for lifesaving success.


Filed under Alexander County, gas chamber

Another one down: Iredell County removes gas chamber from pound

Iredell County officials announced Friday that they have removed the gas chamber from the county pound. Animal Services Director Brad Gates, former director of the Alexander County gas chamber pound, said the Iredell County gas chamber will be dismantled and its metal recycled.

Iredell county killed 72.57% of the dog and cats who entered their pound in 2012.

It’s becoming obvious that the people of North Carolina want to see a quick end to the use of  gas chambers in our state. Iredell County is the seventh North Carolina county to get rid of its gas chamber in less than a year. Gas chambers are still in existence in the following counties: Alexander, Beaufort, Cleveland, Davidson, Gaston (reportedly used only for certain animals), Granville, Martin, Nash (reportedly used only for certain animals), Randolph, Rowan, Union, Vance (gas not in use, but may be put back into use at any time), Wilkes and Wilson. Animal advocates in those counties may contact their county officials using the contact information here and urge them to implement civilized and humane treatment of the pets in their shelters, including (and in some cases starting with) the demolition of the barbaric gas chambers.

A CONCERT FOR SHELTER ANIMALS ~ To Raise Awareness about Inhumane Euthanasia in NCNext Friday night, Oct, 4, 2013, there will be a Dance Concert For Shelter Animals, calling for action to ban animal gas chambers,  at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC, sponsored by Goathouse Refuge and other animal advocacy organizations. In addition to many musical guests, a featured speaker will be Michael R. Moyer, V.M.D., past director of the Shelter Animal Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. (Shameless self-promotion alert: I will also deliver a brief message about the status of the fight against gas chambers in NC.) More information can be found on the Goathouse Refuge website.


Filed under gas chamber, Iredell County

Demolish the Iredell County Gas Chamber!

Iredell County officials are hoping that new pound manager Brad Gates, will improve the “image” of Iredell’s high-kill gas chamber pound. Gates was previously director of the high-kill, gas chamber pound in Alexander County, which failed its most recent inspection during Gates’ tenure as director.  Gates was hired to run the pound after former director Chris Royal resigned amid suspicion of wrongdoing.

Here’s an idea, Iredell leaders: How about actually improving your county’s pound to turn it into a bona fide shelter that protects the lives of animals? First step: DEMOLISH THE GAS CHAMBER! Next step: end the killing of healthy and treatable pets altogether by adopting the cost-effectiveproven programs for lifesaving successMore than 171 (and counting!) communities across the US are doing it. It’s time to add Iredell County, NC, to that list.

Animal advocates may contact Iredell County leaders using the contact information below and respectfully ask them to make REAL improvements at their county pound:

County Manager: Ron Smith,, 200 S. Center St., Statesville, NC 28677, 704-878-3050


Iredell County Animal Services and Control 2012 Statistics


Filed under gas chamber, Iredell County

Burlington Animal Services (Alamance County) to end gas chamber use

According to a Humane Society of the United States press release, Burlington Animal Services, which serves the city of Burlington and Alamance County, accepted a grant with a provision that they end all use of the facility’s gas chamber.

The amount of the grant wasn’t mentioned, but previous HSUS grants of this type have been between $7,000 and $10,000. Also not mentioned is any provision for removal of the gas chamber so that it can not be put into service again, but previous grants have stipulated removal within 6 months.

Burlington Animal Services killed 72.53 percent of the dogs and cats that came in during 2012. This is slightly up from the kill rate of 70.90 percent  in 2011.


Filed under Alamance County, Burlington Animal Services, gas chamber

Ashe County commissioners vote to end gas chamber use

Ashe County commissioners voted Monday to take a forward step toward civilized treatment of animals by ending the use of the carbon monoxide gas chamber in the county pound.

Voting to end the use of the barbaric gas chamber were Gary Roark, William Sands and Judy Poe. Commissioners had received hundreds of emails and calls from people against the gas chamber, and Commissioner Sands said that he was prompted to change his opinion and oppose its use after seeing an online video of animals dying in one.

The Ashe County pound can receive a grant of at least $7,000 through HSUS providing the gas chamber is dismantled and removed from the premises within 6 months.

Working gas chambers remain in Alamance, Beaufort, Cleveland, Davidson, Gaston, Granville, Iredell, Martin, Nash, Randolph, Rowan, Union, Vance, Wilkes, and Wilson Counties. Cabarrus County ended gas chamber use last month and will accept an HSUS grant but has not yet removed the chamber. Vance County has reportedly not used their gas chamber since November, 2012, but it remains in the facility. Lethal injection is reportedly the primary means of killing in Alamance, Gaston and Nash counties, but the gas chambers remain.

Advocates can find contact information for officials in gas chamber counties here.


Filed under Ashe, gas chamber