Ag Board Approves New Rules for Animal Euthanasia

Posted February 13, 2008
Updated February 14, 2008

— New rules approved by the North Carolina Board of Agriculture would allow animal shelters to continue using gas chambers for euthanasia, but with some guidelines.

The board said Wednesday that the shelters that euthanize with gas must use commercial carbon monoxide and commercially made chambers. Shelters must stop using practices such as connecting a hose to an automobile exhaust pipe.

The shelters may continue using lethal injection. In addition, shelter workers must have specialized training in both areas.

"They have to receive further training on that particular method from somebody that's knowledgeable and somebody that's approved by our office," said Dr. Lee Hunter with the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. "Then, they have to be able to demonstrate to that person that they can do it appropriately and humanely."

The board declined to approve a proposal to outlaw gas chambers at all shelters by Jan. 1, 2012, saying it is necessary to put down some aggressive animals.

In 2005, legislators ordered the Agriculture Department to come up with rules for humanely euthanizing shelter animals.

The state Rules Review Commission must still sign off on the Board of Agriculture's proposal. If it does, the guidelines could be in place by April 1.


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  • SisterChristian Feb 14, 2008

    I am a devout animal lover and own 5 rescue dogs (1 of those from Hurricane Katrina). I know of a dog in Missouri that is owned by a friend of mine that actually survived the gas chamber! "For any dog to survive a gas chamber is reason enough not to use it". It isn't working. It is not a quick death. I have witnessed a gassing before and saw dogs go into seizures, another one was defecating and howling, fighting each other to get out!!!!!! Suffocating, dying on top of each other. It was so horrible and is the reason why I am 'the animal's voice today'. It broke my heart! I will fight against this until I take my last breath on this earth. It wasn't this peaceful, fall asleep, it was a horrifying, holocaust-like death. I am so fed up I do not know what to do. The laws here are a joke. Whoever is making the decisions needs to work a full week in some of the rural animal shelters, witness the gassings......they would then have a ‘change of heart’ if they even have any heart.

  • Frank Downtown Feb 14, 2008

    We have too many pets and keeping unwanted pets alive cost alot of tax dollars, its more fair to then to euthanize them!

  • PaulRevere Feb 14, 2008

    It's not like the animals are coughing and wheezing. They simply fall asleep like people do with carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • seeingthru Feb 14, 2008

    I agree veterinary care is frquently more expensive than treating yourself, But this is purely BARBARIC!!! 4 CATS HERE

  • TheAdmiral Feb 14, 2008

    Well, all I can tell you is that dogs and cats are fads for families just like ducks and bunnies.

    They get them, play with them, when they grow tired of cleaning up after them and feeding them they drop them off on the side of the road.

    A perfect example is the Bluetick Coonhound that I found under my back deck. My wife says it is my dog, basically because she wants to be with me all of the time, but my wife is the one who spoils her.

    The fact of the matter is that there are dogs and cats out there that people will adopt. Some of the places use the web and online and try desperately to find a home, and on the other side they don't have the room to do so.

    Some of these places don't understand that no one will pay $200-$500 for adopting a pet. If you can get a vet to provide the stuff for free, that is great - but if they refuse, then what can you do but charge the prices for the spay or nuter? And when you have to put it down, what did you save?

  • 3potato4 Feb 14, 2008

    It's irresponsible pet owners as well. Spaying and neutering isn't the most expensive thing that you'll probably ever have to pay for at the Vets. And if you think it is, don't become a pet owner. Or, take a trip to Charlotte. They have a low-cost spay/neuter program that is just terrific (I've used their services before as we are "that nice home in the country" that folks like to drop their animals off at). The service is affordable and completed in one day. And I would challenge our locals that if Charlotte can do it, why can't we? Also, rather than approving new measures in euthanasia, go the extra mile for the animals and expand on laws regarding pet ownership and breeding. We have a "pit bull farmer" behind us that has a dog tied to any available tree with nothing more than plastic blue barrels for shelter and this is acceptable to Animal Control. And his reason for having these animals...he can get $150. a pup. How many of those pups will one day end up in a shelter?

  • legalncjohnston Feb 14, 2008

    I'm confused? Didn't they agree a few months back to have the gas chamber ELIMINATED in four years? I believe I read that here (maybe not). I'm pretty sure I did read that. If so, how can they change their own new set of laws?
    I used to know someone who worked for a pound. The guy that gassed the dogs said that is was sickening. The dogs were put in a moving box, and the dogs thought they were going to play. They all were so happy, tails wagging, playing with each other.
    Then he would put them in the gas chamber. He suffers from flashbacks. He also said that the gas that immediately entered the chamber would make them squeal because it would irritate their eyes, their noses, etc.
    This is a very sad day for NC and for the animals.

  • 3potato4 Feb 14, 2008

    Several years ago, the director of The Haven (no-kill shelter) in Hoke County attempted to organize the people of Cumberland County to make it the only (at that time) no-kill County this side of the Mississippi. It was through an endowment called Maddies fund and required no additional funding from the county, only their support that this is what they wanted for the county. Basically, a Vet was hired full time through this fund and all animals would be spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter (and if the animal was too young at the time they would receive a voucher to have it done at a later date) not simply a discount coupon. I believe it would have worked but sadly, she didn't get county support.

    Animals are disposable to many of those put in charge of protecting them. Our system of handling unwanted animals is long overdue for an overhaul. However, the decision makers don't want to embrace viable solutions. And it's not just the decision makers at fault here.

  • WardofTheState Feb 14, 2008

    This doesn't sound much more "humane" to me than the age-old practice of drowning sacks of kittens/puppies. Having had beloved pets put down by injection, I KNOW that it is immediate and painless. The Ag Board should have its' head examined. Or maybe its' heart...

  • Adelinthe Feb 14, 2008

    Makes me wonder if anyone who works in state-run animal ~shelters~ has even a hint of humanity within them. Wish I could take them all home.

    To the person who said if you can't afford vet care, don't have a pet. Our animals are sheltered and fed and loved profusely. We do the best for them that we can. Unfortunately spaying and neutering isn't one of them. But the way we keep them sheltered keeps them from mating with one another and has worked well for us for over 15-years.

    It isn't a question about money; it's a question about love...and I'll probably get slammed for this, but state-run ~shelters~ should all be closed in favor of those independent ones staffed by those who really care for animals, who try their best to get them care and homes with no threats of the gas chamber ever.

    We're only as civilized as we treat the beasts of the field, and then one another.

    Praying for beasties everywhere.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB