Kentucky state law requires sedation prior to heartsticking animals. The McCracken Co sheriff’s department received a complaint that Beau Anderson, a state certified euthanasia technician and employee of the McCracken County Humane Society, was killing shelter pets in violation of this law:
The sheriff’s department said their investigation revealed Anderson routinely violated the law by injecting animals that were conscious at the time of the euthanization.
Routinely – to the tune of 4000 pets.
Before I move on, I want to pause for a moment to clarify for anyone unfamiliar with heartsticking why there is a law mandating the animal be sedated first. It’s a painful practice in which nerve layers are penetrated with a needle and one jab doesn’t always get the job done. Here’s what the AVMA says about heartsticking:
Intracardiac injection is acceptable only when performed on heavily sedated, anesthetized, or comatose animals. It is not considered acceptable in awake animals, owing to the difficulty and unpredictability of performing the injection accurately.
The AVMA, who thinks stuffing pets into a gas chamber in order to kill them is A-OK, considers heartsticking awake animals to be “unacceptable”.
Mr. Anderson, who was presumably schooled in legal methods of euthanasia in the course of obtaining his state license, allegedly killed 4000 pets in this unacceptable manner. This week, he was charge with just 9 counts of violating the law in connection with the killing of 9 dogs at the pound this month. If found guilty on these charges, he faces what seems to me to be punishment that does not fit the crime:
The penalty for the violations include a fine up to $500, up to 90 days in jail, or both, at the discretion of the jury.
Mr. Anderson received the proper training but allegedly violated the law anyway. He allegedly caused pain and suffering to 4000 pets. If a jury finds him guilty, he might be fined $500. Or $1. Or some figure in between. He might be sentenced to serve 90 days in jail. Or no days in jail. Or some number in between. He is due in court on December 1.
In our justice system, criminals are punished in order to protect society and to serve as a deterrent for other potential criminals. The punishment is supposed to offer some sort of closure and sense of peace to the victims and their families. In the case of 4000 McCracken Co pets, there can be no sense of closure for the victims since they are dead (and even if they were alive, would be incapable of understanding our legal system). As they were community pets at the time they were killed, there are no owners seeking peace. As shelter pet advocates, we are their family. If Mr. Anderson is determined to be guilty, will you feel a sense of closure and peace if he is fined $500 or less?