Monday, February 23, 2009

Georgia to End Gassing? Rally Feb 26, 2009

The Gathering for Grace - Grace’s Law February 26th
A Bill to Kill Georgia’s Gas Chambers

Please cross post to all GA and nearby contacts

Members of Georgia’s animal advocacy community statewide are
invited to attend. For more information, please contact

The Gathering for Grace
will be held next Thursday, February 26th, at the Washington Street entrance of the Georgia State Capitol, from 9:30 A.M. until 2:30 P.M.
A chartered bus will depart from the outlet mall on I-95 in Darien at 4:30 A.M. and make one stop in Macon at 7:30 A.M. To reserve a seat, e-mail

1) join us if you can,

2) cross-post the Press Release Widely, and

3)CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS to ask them to support a total ban on gas chambers in Georgia.

Find your legislators’ contact information by accessing this link:
Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare Hosting Rally to Support Grace’s Law, a Bill to Ban All Animal Gas Chambers in Georgia
ATLANTA, GA (February 21, 2009)— Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare (GVAW) will host a rally at the Capitol on Thursday, February 26, 2009, in support of Grace’s Law, a bill to totally ban the use of animal gas chambers in Georgia. Members of Georgia’s animal advocacy community statewide are invited to attend.

The purpose of the rally is to raise the public’s awareness of gas chambers still being used to kill unwanted animals in at least 15 city and/or county animal control facilities statewide. An intended outcome of the peaceful demonstration is that Georgia voters will call or write their legislators and ask them to support a total ban on gas chambers – statewide, permanently and with no exceptions.

The Humane Euthanasia Act of 1990 enacted a legislative ban on gas chambers with two exceptions: Counties with less than 25,000 residents were exempted and larger counties using gas chambers prior to 1990 were “grandfathered in” by written request, but they were not entitled to replace their chambers. In 2007, the Georgia Department of Agriculture was charged with multiple violations of the statute for allowing larger counties that were grandfathered in, including Cobb County, to replace and continue using gas chambers in their animal control facilities.

Gas chambers pose dangerous health risks for shelter employees and are inhumane to both the workers and animals, even if they are used properly. “The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides strict guidelines regarding the construction, operation and oversight of gas chambers and has consistently recommended lethal injection as the preferred method for euthanizing dogs and cats”, stated GVAW member, Davis Cosey of Perry, Georgia. “Many of Georgia’s active gas chambers are decades old, some were illegally installed and all of them are unreliable, unsafe, unregulated and inhumane”, added Cosey.

Tennessee banned gas chambers after a shelter employee died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2002. In 2006, Liberty County Animal Control shut down their gas chamber, illegally installed in 2002, after a hound dog survived gassing. The dog, dubbed “Amazing Grace” by Liberty County shelter workers, was the inspiration for Grace’s Law. In June 2008, the Macon City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to switch from euthanasia by gas to lethal injection on or before July 1, 2009.

Grace’s Law has been submitted to legislative counsel by Representatives Mark Hatfield, R-HD 177, and Tom Knox, R-HD 24. “Apparently, gas chambers are a sensitive and somewhat controversial issue”, said Chamblee Abernethy, GVAW Co-Founder. “Initially, we found it hard to find legislators willing to step up and do the right thing – kill gas chambers – but we’ve got excellent sponsors now and co-sponsors are rolling in.” For more information, contact:

Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare (GVAW) is an informally structured, grassroots network of citizens working to make Georgia a safer, healthier and more humane state. GVAW is not affiliated with any state or national animal welfare organization(s). While our organization works independently, we are committed to building positive relationships with local and state legislators.
Grace’s LawA Bill to Kill Georgia’s Gas Chambers
The Background

Today, nearly 20 years after Georgia’s partial ban, an estimated 20 gas chambers remain in use. During Georgia’s 2008 General Assembly, HB Bill 1060 was introduced and heard once. Its passage would have closed the loopholes in the 1990 law.
The Facts

In 2007, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) published AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia, a comprehensive study which includes recommendations for all methods of euthanasia. Among the Guidelines are specific requirements regarding the construction, operation and oversight of gas chambers. Experts impaneled by the AVMA have repeatedly concluded that “intravenous injection of barbituric acid derivatives (e.g., sodium pentobarbital) is the preferred method for euthanasia of dogs and cats.” Also, recent cost studies comparing euthanasia by injection (EBI) to euthanasia by gas chamber found EBI the less expensive method.

Many gas chambers in Georgia are decades old and a shocking number of them are actually homemade. Gas leaks from such chambers heighten the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning for shelter workers who unknowingly breathe in low levels of gas on a regular basis when they load, unload and clean the chambers. There is no documentation available to prove any of the estimated 20 chambers still in use are in compliance with either AVMA Guidelines or state and federal OSHA Regulations or even that the GDOA routinely inspects and/or monitors the equipment used.

A gas chamber is hazardous to personnel and inhumane to animals, even when used properly. Those who believe that animals simply “go to sleep” have not witnessed the horror of the gas chamber. Those who have witnessed gassingdescribe the experience as torturous to animals and highly stressful to humans. In recent years, documented cases have been reported of a human death and injuries, gas leakages, chamber explosions, animals surviving gassings and being re-gassed one or more times, and related trauma suffered by both shelter workers and animals described. Such reports have prompted several states to switch from euthanasia by gas to EBI.

In 2006, Liberty County Animal Control shut down their gas chamber – illegally installed in 2002 – because a tri-colored hound survived a gassing. This event exposed gas chambers as an unreliable method of euthanasia, and coupled with the trauma suffered by LCAC shelter workers, was the catalyst for the Liberty County shutdown. The hound dog, dubbed “Amazing Grace” by LCAC shelter workers, was the inspiration for naming this bill.

Yet, Georgia continues to spend taxpayers’ dollars to fund animal control facilities that gas healthy, friendly animals to death by the thousands! Knowing the facts, why does Georgia persist in using this barbaric, outdated, shameful practice that would not be authorized by FEMA, even under the conditions of a national disaster?

– During the 20 years following the enactment of Georgia’s ban on gas chambers, research and experience have consistently supported an argument against their use. The Solution For Grace’s sake
Let’s close the loopholes in the 1990 Humane Euthanasia Act and shut the door of every gas chamber in Georgia forever. Grace’s Law will end dialogues that treat the symptoms of animal overpopulation and shift the focus to its causes.

Spalding Gas Chamber

Warner Robins Gas Chamber

Macon Gas Chamber

Georgia Cities and Counties Still Using the Gas Chamber
Ashburn, City of Barnesville, (City of) Animal ShelterButts CountyCobb County Cordele, City ofCuthbert, City ofHaralson CountyHawkinsville, City of Henry CountyLakeland, City of Macon, City of Mitchell CountySpalding CountyVienna, City ofWarner Robins
(In Houston County; no county facility) Animal Shelter (in Dooly County; no county facility) Animal Shelter Animal Control(In Bibb County; no county facility; chamber operated in City of Macon, under the jurisdiction of Macon Police Animal Control. Macon City Council voted unanimously June 2008 to cease using chamber by July 1, 2009.)(In Lanier County; no county facility.) Animal Control(In Pulaski County; no county facility. Animal Shelter (In Randolph County; no county facility; chamber housed in City of Cuthbert.) (In Crisp County)Animal Control (After court order in 2006 to cease using chamber) Animal Control (In Lamar County; no county facility; chamber housed in City of Barnesville.)

"Not to hurt our humble brethren [the animals] is our first duty to them,
but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission:
to be of service to them wherever they require it."
Saint Francis of Assisi

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