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Nash reconsidering how it euthanizes animals

Nash County Animal Control uses a gas chamber to euthanize animals, but a group of citizens is pushing the county to use lethal injection instead.

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NASHVILLE, N.C. — Momentum is building in Nash County to change the way the local animal shelter euthanizes dogs and cats.

Nash County Animal Control uses a gas chamber, but a group of citizens is pushing the county to use lethal injection instead.

"The gas chamber is just a really ugly and stressful and painful way for an animal to be put to sleep," said Shelly Milburn.

Milburn and others say they understand the shelter cannot stop the practice of euthanizing animals, but she and others believe injections are a more humane way of doing so.

"We just want them to be able to have a peaceful ending," Milburn said.

Milburn's group has started a petition and set up a Facebook page to raise awareness about the matter.

This week, the Nash County Board of Commissioners asked that the county health department, which oversees animal control, research and consider the citizens’ request.

"We are certainly in legal compliance, but we also want to be a good moral reflection of the community," health director Bill Hill said.

Hill says that, although the gas chamber meets all state regulations, he's open to lethal injection. There are many factors to consider, he said, including how to properly secure and administer injections.

"When you are dealing with larger, more aggressive animals that end up in the shelter, sometimes, it takes a lot of restraint," he said. "I'm concerned about personal safety."

Hill says animal control is continuing to research the matter, and he says he hopes to have more information about the issue in the next few weeks.

Milburn says she and others are encouraged by the county's response so far.

"It seems like there are just so many people right now getting on board with it that they seem to be paying more attention," she said.

More than 20 shelters across the state use gas chambers and methods other than lethal injection to euthanize animals.



Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
Kelly Gardner, Photographer

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