TX Newspaper Exposes Killings at Garland Animal Shelter

The Abe Tuggle Animal Shelter in Garland Texas gasses pets. Although the community has raised objections to this method of killing, city officials in charge of the shelter say that no changes will be made. The Dallas Morning News (DMN) is investigating pet killings at the shelter:

The Garland animal shelter has been gassing young, sick or elderly cats and dogs in violation of state law, probably causing them a slower, more stressful death, records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show.

The shelter also may have violated city rules on how long animals must be kept before being euthanized. According to the records, some animals were killed within minutes of arriving at the shelter.

Mayor Ronald Jones, who received details of the newspaper’s findings on Thursday, said the city would investigate.


Using carbon monoxide on such animals is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine for each charge.

DMN has obtained partial shelter records and has made a request for complete records from the past 3 years.

On June 1, 2007, five kittens were brought to Garland’s Abe Tuggle Animal Shelter and Adoption Center at 9:31 p.m. Shelter records show they were gassed between 9:32 p.m. and 9:43 p.m.

For emphasis, I’d like to reiterate the above. Five kittens were gassed within 1 – 12 minutes of arrival at the shelter. By even the most heartless of “standards”, 1 – 12 minutes is insufficient time to evaluate incoming shelter pets. A Garland city official tried to defend the practice of admitting shelter pets directly to the gas chamber by stating that a Vet might determine the animals had communicable disease. Indeed shelter records do indicate these kittens were listed as “sick”. How anyone could determine the health status of 5 kittens within seconds is beyond my comprehension but there you have it.

But the state code prohibits gassing young or sick animals because the time it takes them to die “may be significantly increased.”

“In animals with decreased respiratory function, carbon monoxide levels rise slowly, making it more likely that these animals will experience elevated levels of stress,” the code also says.

So if gassing young or sick animals is prohibited, I assume that gassing young and sick animals is decidedly illegal. But the Deputy Director of the city’s Health Department Jason Chessher reminds us there are pennies at stake here:

Garland shelter officials say that using carbon monoxide is easier on workers and more efficient because four animals can be gassed at one time. Chessher also said using gas costs about 4 cents less per animal than lethal injection.

In addition to pennies, education is also a priority for Garland:

Shelley Stonecipher, a veterinarian with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which oversees shelter inspections, said the state focuses on education rather than enforcement.

So at this monumental savings of 4 pennies for each pet gassed, the presumably tiny hourly salary for the most efficient Vet in the history of the world, and an emphasis on education, I can guess Garland is primed and well able to sponsor a visit from someone like Nathan Winograd to help them get their heads out of their asses ducks in a row. Or perhaps we’ll just wait and see what the DMN digs up next.

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