From a piece on gassing pets at the Richmond Co Animal Control Shelter in GA, written 12 years ago:
“The black-and-white mixed cocker spaniel waited patiently in a cage at the Richmond County Animal Control Shelter.
“He was one of about 11,000 unwanted, neglected, sick, injured, abused or vicious animals that will die in the center’s gas chamber this year.
“He had no name, only a tag identifying him as R-159. He had been picked up on Milledge Road a few days earlier.
“In the same cage was 007, a short-haired, spotted pointer puppy, a red chow chow and a mixed shepherd dog that animal control officers had picked up running loose on U.S. Highway 25.
“Kennel master John White caught them with a catch pole, a stick with a wire noose on the end, and led them into the death room, where he loaded them into a round cage on wheels.
“He rolled the cage into a round metal cylinder that resembles a large barbecue grill. The dogs’ tails were still wagging.
“Mr. White closed the door, locked it and turned the handle on one of the nearby tanks of carbon monoxide. For a minute, there was no sound at all but the barking of dogs in other cages.
“Then it started.
“One high, mournful wail and then a deeper howl that rose in a crescendo of desperation that went on for about 45 seconds.
“And then it stopped.”
GA outlawed gas chambers for killing shelter pets in 1990 but a number of locations were grandfathered in, somewhat defeating the purpose. The GA Voters for Animal Welfare lists about a dozen gas chambers (pdf) still in use in the state. If you are a GA resident and don’t want your tax dollars being used to fund the gassing of shelter pets in your state, contact your elected officials.
To my mind, the killing of healthy/treatable shelter pets by sedation/IV injection is cruel because it’s unnecessary. Gassing those pets to death is not only unnecessary but in many cases, especially cruel due to the lack of sedation, the inability of sick, elderly or very young pets to be able to breathe in the poisonous gas efficiently enough to cause timely death and, as documented in the above eyewitness account, 45 seconds of desperation, panic and pain is an eternity.
I don’t want to see healthy/treatable shelter pets killed by any means. If there is anything I want to see less, it’s shelter pets suffering horrible deaths in gas chambers. I know there are eyewitness accounts from people who have not reported hearing the dogs scream as they die. This does not sway my view in the slightest. If there is the chance that some of the pets put in gas chambers will suffer agonizing deaths, I’m against it. And apparently, at least some pets do.