UPDATE: On Monday, Aug. 19, Ashe County commissioners voted 3-2 to discontinue gas chamber use at the county pound.
Ashe County commissioners decided last week to vote at the board’s next meeting Aug. 19, 2013, on whether to continue use of the CO gas chamber to kill pets in the county pound.
At least one commissioner has already changed his mind after seeing videos of the process and will vote against continued CO use, according to an article in the Mountain Times:
“I don’t know how many emails and telephone calls I got concerning this gas chamber over at animal control,” Ashe County Commissioner Gary Roark said Monday. “They want us to revisit that to eliminate it.”
Those calls and emails prompted Roark to further research the use of CO chambers, he said, and reverse his opinion on the subject.
“I’ve done some research online, and some of the videos show dogs just laying there and jerking (during the euthanization process),” Roark said. “I know I voted last time to keep that, but I’m not for it once I found that out. From what I’ve seen, I’d like to see it closed.”
“I’d vote with you,” Commissioner William Sands told Roark.
If Roark and Sands vote against CO use, then one more vote by a member of the five-person board would make a majority against the gas chamber.
Animal advocates who would like to thank Commissioners Roark and Sands for their careful consideration of the issue or respectfully inform other board members about the realities of the gas chamber can contact Larry Rhodes, Judy Porter Poe, Gerald Price, Gary Roark and William Sands at email@example.com, 336-846-5501, fax 336-846-5516 or by mailing to 150 Government Circle Suite 2500, Jefferson, NC 28640.
Inspiration for letters may be found here and here, and this sample letter may be used as a template.
One important point for commissioners to consider is that the debate does not have to be between killing animals with CO and killing them with lethal injection. They could end the killing of healthy and treatable pets altogether, and turn their county pound into a bona fide shelter, 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-effective, proven program for lifesaving success. It’s time for Ashe County, NC, to join that list.
Veterinarians and regulatory authorities often approach the issue of humane euthanasia, particularly in animal shelters, from a technical starting point, having already accepted fait accompli that mass killing is necessary. While there are real technical concerns with carbon monoxide chamber, mass killing of dogs and cats in the shelter environment is not necessary, good, or required. The premise that there are “too few homes” for the millions of pets entering shelters each year is belied by the millions of pets acquired by new and existing pet owners. The premise that pets entering shelters are “not adoptable” for health problems—problems that are seen, diagnosed, and treated by veterinarians in these very same communities—is not correct. They are treatable and adoptable in the vast majority of cases. The premise that there is some public good in taking free-roaming cats into shelters, terrorizing them in confinement for a stray hold, then killing them because they’re “unadoptable” is not merely Sisyphean, it is cruel and ineffectual at successfully managing free roaming cat populations or free roaming cat “nuisance” complaints. ~Michael R. Moyer, V.M.D