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Nash sticks with two methods for euthanizing animals

A group of residents has been pushing Nash County to stop using a gas chamber to euthanize animals, but officials said they plan to keep it as an option.

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NASHVILLE, N.C. — Nash County officials have decided to keep two methods for euthanizing dogs and cats, despite protests from area residents.

The county's animal control program uses lethal injection to put down puppies, kittens and pregnant animals and uses a gas chamber for all others.

A group of residents has pushed the county to stop using the gas chamber, so the Nash County Health Department, which oversees animal control, looked at its options.

Health Department Director Bill Hill said his board heard from a state public health veterinarian and a state shelter inspector in July. In the end, the board decided to stick with both methods of euthanasia for the time being.

"Both methods are recognized as humane methods. I realize there is a lot of debate about that, and I realize that, in most cases, the injectable method is the preference," Hill said.

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

Hill also noted that research has shown that the gas chamber method is more cost-effective.

Shelly Milburn, a member of the group that opposes the gas chamber, argued that injections are cheaper and a more humane way to put animals down.

"The way the animals die (in the gas chamber) is a much more horrific way if they were to be euthanized by the IV injection," Milburn said.

While the decision to use both methods in Nash County stands for now, Hill said the county could reconsider in the future.

"Certainly, we care about the citizens and their feelings and their voices," he said. "The simple tragic fact is that the supply (of pets) is too great for the demand."

The county is trying to increase adoptions from its shelter and plans to hold more adopt-a-thons, he said.

Milburn said her group will keep fighting to close the gas chamber.

"Everybody is just really kind of disappointed about it and the fact that everything was really evasive as far as how they reached their decision," she said. "It really needs to be all or nothing."



Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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