That Tingle Means It’s Working!

GA legislators approved a bill to end the use of the gas chamber in the state yesterday and sent it to the Governor for signing.  The approval was not unanimous however:

But in voting against the bill, Sen. Bill Heath, a Republican from Bremen, championed the merits of gas as the most humane way for animals – and humans – to die.

From the well, Heath recounted a story in which he was working on his car and got overcome by carbon monoxide gas. He said he experienced a “drowsy, euphoric” feeling. No pain at all.

“I wasn’t worried about anything. There was nothing adverse about the feeling and I knew that this feeling good was a bad sign,” Heath said. “I can understand why people use it to commit suicide.”

Well, isn’t that special?  Needless to say, the comments sparked some outrage:

“Between 1941 and 1945 there were about 6 million people who would disagree with you about that gas,” said Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta). “I can’t think of anyone who would support that method when you have another.”


Added Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain): “For a senator to come to well and say [Carbon Monoxide gas] makes you feel good is inconceivable.”

Senator Heath explained himself later:

“I do know that gas is a lot less traumatic than a needle. I know that first hand. When I get a shot, I jump even now. And I don’t think there is a soul in this building that would want to hurt an animal.”

So basically, because Senator Heath is afraid of needles and because he had a swell time huffing car exhaust once, he wants all the shelter pets in his state to share his personal experiences.  I guess GA shelter pets can be glad the good Senator did not report getting a kick out of smoking crack.

Also, FYI Senator Heath, if no one in the building wants to hurt an animal, you could actually stop killing friendly pets in GA and start sheltering them instead.  Just a suggestion.

7 thoughts on “That Tingle Means It’s Working!

  1. Yikes! It sounds like Senator Heath lost a few brain cells during his carbon monoxide experience. Guess he’s never heard the old saying, “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

  2. I was talking to a person the other day who worked on the Georgia legislation and is now working on similar legislation in Louisiania. She wrote this:

    “I just spent a couple of hours going thru gassing videos and statements to put together info for the legislative aide in Louisiana. They plan to present witnesses to gassing thru video and statements. When I then sent it over, the aide who is a tough cookie and an animal person (she passed the Pet Evacuation law in LA after Katrina), said she could not watch more than 1 minute of the videos. And we expect workers to do this every day and worse, the animals to suffer like this? Other than the power and control issue, I have never understood the AVMA’s position or that of shelter directors who continue to support gassing. It makes no sense from any standpoint – safety, mental health, animal cruelty, cost.”

  3. Aside from the Senator’s idiotic comments, why do they need another eight months to phase out gassing? It seems like something that can be done much more quickly. I’m sure they’ll claim that they don’t have funding to ramp up a new program, but eight months?!

  4. Politics. The eight month thing took some doing. The original bill would have gone into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature, and banned heartsticking. Unfortunately, it was amended to allow heartsticking if the animal was unconscious, and to make the effective date January 1, 2013. It was only the hard work of Representative Knox and others that got it reduced to 8 months.

  5. Valerie – thank you for explaining this to me. I guess I don’t understand why they couldn’t agree on having it go into effect immediately, with heartsticking banned, but as you said: Politics.

  6. Pibble, as Valerie said, it’s mostly politics, but there are some practical considerations. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s horrible that we’re waiting at all, but what these counties in the SW part of the state are saying is that they need more time to switch over. Many animal control departments which operate gas chambers also use prisoner labor to operate them. If they switch to injection, all of a sudden they’re stocking and using a DEA schedule two drug, which has strict handling requirements. These small animal control offices are worried that there’s going to be a huge operational expense associated with having professional staff now handling the homeless dog- and cat-killing (Valerie, I salute you for training me to not sugarcoat what’s going on). TO BE SURE, there are ways around this problem short of postponing the effective date to the end of the year (I know one of generous, kind-hearted soul who has offered to fund one such approach), but that, I think, is near the heart of the matter.

  7. Oh, man. I didn’t realize they made prisoners operate the chambers. I mean, okay, they’re prisoners, but is that really fair to make them kill the animals? Different topic for another time, I suppose.

    Anyway, I can understand not being able to switch over more quickly if they’re talking about having a schedule-II drug and the trained people handling it in place.

    Thanks Phil and Valerie for taking the time to explain the processes to me. Don’t worry about sugar-coating for me; there’s too much of that going on in the world. People need to know the facts! Thanks, again!

Leave a Reply