When animal-shelter employee Rosemary Ficken opened the door to a St. Louis pound's gas chamber one August day in 2003, she couldn't believe her eyes: A reddish brown mutt, standing on top of six dead dogs, was still alive. Unwilling to close the door and re-gas the dog, Ficken called Randy Grim, the founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Grim retrieved the big-eared Basenji mix and named him Quentin after California's San Quentin prison.
Carbon monoxide gas chambers—a euthanasia method used since World War II—are routinely used in animal shelters throughout the country. Currently only 13 states, including California, Florida, and New York, require animal shelters to perform death by injection. In the rural farming community of Enoch, Utah, the animal shelter's brick gas chamber uses carbon monoxide exhaust from an old pickup truck.
"It's America's dirty little secret," said Grim, who has written the book Miracle Dog: How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row (Alpine Publishing). "If people actually saw the gas chamber working, they would sign a petition tomorrow to ban it."
Doug Fakkema, an animal-euthanasia expert, said that, in theory, the gas chamber doesn't sound bad, but in reality it's awful. "The animal is in a warm or hot box, usually with other animals. They don't know what's going on. The hiss of the gas is going on inside. They get dizzy, and they panic," he said. Fights can break out, and animals' calls can sometimes be heard”. From start to finish, the process of gassing an animal takes about 25 minutes.
Today most private and city animal shelters euthanize animals with sodium pentobarbital, a controlled substance that is injected into one of a dog or cat's veins. Animals die in seconds and without pain or suffering. Shelter workers overwhelmingly wish to hold and comfort a frightened animal in its final moments of life, something they get to do when the animal is euthanized by injection. That act may be the only kindness the animal has ever known.
The American Humane Association (AHA), says that lethal injection is the only acceptable method for putting down dogs and cats.
A bill to stop public shelters from using gas chambers got a hearing in Michigan last week. Time is running out before the bill is put to a vote. Speak up for the animals and sign the petition. You need not be a Michigan resident. You may even personalize it with a comment as well as a photo. I used the photo of Casey with Nikki which is a featured photo on this group’s page and reported how peaceful Nikki’s passing was by injection.
Go to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/900398769. If that doesn’t work, go to: http://www.care2.com click on “Take Action” in the toolbar at the top, then click on the petition category, “Animal Welfare”, then under “Hottest Petitions”, you will click on “Ban the gas chambers…”