The Ohio SPCA has been trying to get Hocking Co to stop gassing animals for years. But the county has fought, both in court and in the court of public opinion, to keep gassing. After all, the county’s gas chamber is homemade and everyone knows homemade things are the best.
This month, the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Ohio SPCA and ordered the Hocking Co dog warden to stop gassing animals and start killing them via injection. The dog warden is already certified to kill animals by injection, it’s just that he didn’t feel like it, because who would when you’ve got a homemade gas chamber to play with?
At issue in the ruling: Ohio law requires that animals be killed humanely, including being rendered unconscious immediately and painlessly. The Hocking Co homemade gas chamber leaked carbon monoxide and wasn’t actually the swell killing device the county made it out to be:
A former assistant Dog Warden and humane agent, Chris Vickers, testified that when they were in the gas chamber, he heard dogs “screaming like they had been hit by a car and injured”. Gassing took several minutes and was not always effective in causing death. He would see dogs struggling, fighting, urinating and defecating on themselves. He routinely found blood, bite marks, feces and urine on their bodies when he removed them from the chamber after gassing.
“Not always effective in causing death” sounds like some pets were still alive after being tortured in the Hocking Co gas chamber. Those animals were presumably put back inside for more torture until they finally died. Yeah, I can see why the county is so head over heels with this thing.
The county lawyer argued that killing animals by injection is stressful for both people and animals. No mention was made of the stress from working in a place filled with carbon monoxide fumes and the sounds of pets being tortured to death. Also: homemade! Like on Etsy!
Hocking Co has 30 days to appeal the ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court. When contacted by the local news for comment, county officials hid.
The ruling may force other counties in Ohio to stop gassing pets as well since they too must comply with state law ensuring humane death for animals. The gas chamber is not humane and the recent court ruling upholds that.
Let’s be clear: Killing healthy/treatable animals for convenience is not in any way humane – even if it’s done by injection. But for rare cases when euthanasia is warranted to end the suffering of a medically hopeless pet, the most current humane method should be used. Thankfully, many communities have ended the practice of convenience killing in their open admission shelters. Hocking Co could join them, assuming the dog warden and county officials have stopped crying in their beer over the loss of their beloved torture device.
(Thanks Arlene for sending me this story.)