The Jefferson City pound in Missouri puts wildlife and some cats into the gas chamber. One of the cats gassed at the facility in December was an owned pet named Stella. Her heartbroken owner asked the city to change its gas chamber policy and the shelter vet quit over its use in June. On June 9, Jefferson City hired veterinarian Corey McCann and put him in charge of everything. Gassing continues under his leadership.
The pound has 3 vets on its advisory committee and one of them, Jim Crago, recently sent a letter to the local paper supporting the gassing of animals at the pound. Dr. Crago offers several seemingly absurd justifications for putting animals into the gas chamber to die:
Crago said the Department of Conservation advises the animal control officers to euthanize the wild animals rather than release them into the wild at another location, because of concerns that the animals will not adjust to their new environment or will not be accepted by other wildlife in the environment.
“Many of these animals will die due to this stress imposed upon them,” Crago said.
Possible death by stress is too cruel to risk but definite death by suffering in the gas chamber is A-OK? Oh and the right of these animals to live is not even worth mentioning apparently.
“Anyone who believes that injecting these animals through a cage and watching them struggle is less stressful than the use of the gas chamber should witness what I have had to do during the last month for the shelter,” Crago said in the letter.
He said that on one occasion he had to give a groundhog three injections before it was sedated enough to handle. The process took nearly 20 minutes of struggle. A raccoon the veterinarian injected bled profusely before becoming sedated, he said.
“It is not uncommon that multiple injections are needed due to the valiant efforts they (wildlife) make to avoid getting injected,” Crago said in the letter.
He said that on that particular day, two raccoons, two groundhogs and a cat were euthanized.
The animals make valiant efforts to live but, meh. It sounds like Dr. Crago regularly botches killings and is annoyed at the effort required to conduct them. So gas chamber obviously.
He said in an interview that when euthanizing with the gas chamber, the cage that trapped the wildlife is placed inside the chamber, so animals are separated during the process. Occasionally when two animals are trapped in one cage, they are both euthanized in that cage.
I think I’m going to be sick.
When asked if there is a way to tell if an animal is feral, Crago said, “No.”
“That’s where the microchip comes in,” he said. “If people would microchip their animals, they would be checked before they are euthanized. They always are.”
He said the animals could then be identified as domestic.
“Unfortunately, cats can be very kind and nice at home, warm and fuzzy,” Crago said. “Then when you trap them by accident, or otherwise, or put them in an enclosed area, they become very vicious and you can’t tell the difference between that vicious and a feral animal that is vicious just because it’s a wild cat.”
He said microchipping animals is the best solution.
So there’s no way to tell if a cat is feral and as Dr. Crago likely knows, less than 2% of pets entering shelters are chipped. But it’s the best solution. And if not, gas chamber.
It’s up to Jefferson City taxpayers to demand the gas chamber be removed from the pound and the needless killing of impounded wildlife and pets be put to an end. I hope no pet owners in Jefferson City take their animals to any of these vets in love with the gas chamber. That awkward moment when you realize your vet gassed your cat to death? It’s coming, if it hasn’t already happened.
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)