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Proposed animal euthansia rules put on hold

Posted July 17, 2008

— The state agriculture department has stepped into a heated debate over how to euthanize animals, but some of the department's recommendations have met opposition.

North Carolina does not have any statewide standards on how animals must be killed. The state Rules Review Commission has put a hold on a set of guidelines for humane euthanasia, developed by the agriculture department following a 2005 order from the General Assembly.

"It really just gives us a time out,"said Ray Starling, an attorney for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The department will continue to push for the rules, he said.

"It's important to our county animal shelters. It's important to animal advocates," Starling said. "It's something the Legislature is taking an interest in and certainly wants us to do."

The guidelines regulate local animal shelters across the state and require shelters that euthanize with gas to use commercial carbon monoxide and commercially made chambers. Shelters must stop using practices such as connecting a hose to an automobile exhaust pipe.

"This will require training of the euthanasia technicians," said Dr. Lee Hunter, with the state agriculture department. "It will require that they demonstrate they know how to do it."

The proposed rules would allow shelters to continue using lethal injection, particularly in the case of violent animals.

"The ultimate goal, I'm sure, is what's best for the animal shelters," Bobby Bryan, with the state Rules Review Commission, said.

So far, though, the state Rules Review Commission has not approved the agriculture department's proposal. Commission officials say the agency can not order shelter to follow those guidelines.

A bill before the state Legislature, which was expected to wrap up its short session on Friday, could end the debate. If the Legislature does not pass the bill, the state Rules Review Commission will make the decision on the agriculture department's recommendations.

Either way, the state expects a final decision on how to euthanize animals to be made by fall 2008.


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  • ohmygosh Jul 18, 2008

    The legislature is wasting its time on this? It would seem there are much more important things to tackle- housing crisis, state medical insurance fiscal problems, health and welfare, death penalty reinstatement just to mention a few.

  • oldschooltarheel Jul 17, 2008

    They actually try to use hoses off auto exhaust pipes to "euthanize" in NC shelters? That would be a long slow miserable death considering modern vehicles have such low CO emissions thanks to catalytic converters (2CO + O2 ---> 2CO2). Wow - this indicates pitiful ignorance that is resulting in insufferable cruelty to the animals subjected to this. Just another result of NC's overspending on "eddkayshun". WOW - maybe this method should be used by the state for some of the recent spectacularly awful drunk murderers if it ain't too bad to be used on the animals. It would seem since gas is > $4/gallon that 45 grams of Pb would be cheaper (& waaay more humane).

  • anne53ozzy Jul 17, 2008

    I am confused....Who does instruct managers of shelters to follow guidelines?
    What's the point in instituting a policy if there is no way to enforce it? Last of all, when will we enforce more responsible actions by pet owners ? Not only for the sake of these poor little ones but in the interest of fiscal responsibilty? There are programs out there to aid individuals in the expense of neutering. Why not crack down on the wanton disregard by pet owners that do not assume their responsibilty? We complain about people watering lawns when we are in a drought...The public needs to step up and snitch on those who do not properly care for the pets they own. You can be fined for your grass beeing unmowed, old vehicles on property, trash, etc....What's the problem w actively hitting these people where it hurts $$$$