Georgians Sue Over Gas Chamber Euthanization

Former lawmaker and ex-vet tech. say some shelters are illegally using gas chambers.

Posted: March 14, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

A former Georgia state lawmaker and a licensed veterinary technician have filed a lawsuit to try to keep Georgia animal shelters from using carbon monoxide chambers to euthanize dogs and cats.

The lawsuit, filed March 12 in Fulton County Superior Court by former Rep. Chesley Morton and a former Humane Society worker named Jennifer Robinson, claims the Georgia Department of Agriculture is violating state law by allowing gas chamber euthanizations instead of injections.

Gas chambers were outlawed as a form of euthanasia in Georgia after the passing of the Humane Euthanasia Act in 1990, which mandated that lethal injection — which is considered more humane — to be the sole form of euthanization at animal shelters.

The euthanization law states: “Dogs and cats who have to be killed in shelters must be given the most humane and stress-free death possible ... the use of sodium pentobarbital or a derivative of it shall be the exclusive method.”

Morton and Robinson are asking for the state to not issue licenses to any new shelters that would use gas chambers and to not renew licenses of current shelters if they don’t stop the euthanization method.

However, Agriculture Department Commissioner Tommy Irvin has insisted in the past that gas chambers are a legal and practical method to euthanize animals, particularly because some rural Georgia animal shelters don’t have easy access to a veterinarian, a requirement for injections.


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

9/28/2016 4:02:11 AM

Why would you not use the most humane way to euthanize? It should never be based on what is cheapest or easiest.

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Doreen   Los Angeles, CA

1/6/2009 11:15:54 PM

I believe in euthanizing animals in the most humane way -- lethal injection. I also believe that breeding of ALL animals should be prohibited. Mandatory spay and neuter laws should be put in place for ALL animals. It is only for man's greed has this become a problem. The US Government should also be held accountable for putting this country in this economic crisis where many people who lost their homes also had to give up a family pet. I think the President should take a visit to the animal shelter and be forced to watch the death of these poor creatures.

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C   Atlanta, GA

3/29/2007 1:56:48 PM

This injunction will NOT have the anticipated effect the plantiffs are expecting. Many of the rural shelters will simply close their doors and stop operations rather than expose the Animal Control Officers to the heartbreak of holding a pet and hearing the purr or feeling the gentle lick on their face while administering a lethal injection. Then these hard-working people will hold that pet until the end, and be forced to watch the life slip away and feel the heart stop beating as the drugs flow through the animal's veins - an animal whose only crime is to be born in the South, where irresponsible pet owners are more common than fleas. When these shelters close, and the unwanted pets are left to wander, or the "owner" faced with an unwanted litter "takes matters into their own hands," this state will have taken a huge step backwards. I wonder why Jennifer Robinson's dog found himself injured in Clayton County Animal Shelter - shouldn't a "former Humane Society worker" know better? These plantiffs need to invest the money they are wasting on this case with an effort to confront the TRUE CAUSE of the staggering number of unwanted pets throughout the Southeast - a lack of education of pet owners and true resistance to mandatory spay/neuter laws.

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Cheryl   Melrose Park, IL

3/14/2007 7:35:11 PM

Our pets depend on us to give them the best possible care and this is how they see fit to end their lives? The gas chamber is a disgusting option for an animal that doesn't have any say to how it's life should be ended. Most pets are put down because of human ignorance, it got too big, it eats too much, moving, becomes destructive (because the animal gets bored!) and it's just easier to take them to a shelter and dump them. They should be given the most honorable way to die.If the owner would just research first to find the right pet and try all avenues of training, the shelters wouldn't be filled with pets just waiting to be gassed.

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