Thursday, February 12, 2009

Illinois bill would ban gas chambers for strays

Illinois bill would ban gas chambers for strays
By Angie Leventis
Friday, Feb. 15 2008

In Illinois' Jefferson County, most cats and dogs that are not adopted at the county animal control agency are put down by lethal injection, a standard practice at government operated shelters across the region. There is, however, the occasional dog that's deemed aggressive. And sometimes the facility gets too crowded, so large groups of animals are euthanized all at once. In these cases, the Mount Vernon shelter uses its gas chamber. "We get a great deal of animals," said supervisor Ruth Hughes. "Sometimes it's easier to use gas. It doesn't tie up my people."

WHATTTT did this....person, this example of flotsam....just say????????

But many animal rights activists consider euthanasia by gas cruel and are demanding that the method be banned in Illinois.

A state representative from Chicago is sponsoring a bill that would bar the use of carbon monoxide and tighten restrictions on who is allowed to perform the killing. The proposal is supported by about a dozen animal rescue shelters across the state. "(With gas), they don't die immediately, and being in an enclosure like that causes them stress and panic," said Jackie Spiker, cofounder of Hope Rescues, a "nokill" shelter in Edwardsville. Spiker sometimes gets animals from the Mount Vernon facility.
Maryland, New Jersey and New Mexico already ban gas chambers, according to Chicago English Bulldog Rescue Inc., the lead supporter of the bill. Illinois and Missouri permit this form of euthanasia but have stipulations on the type of gas and chamber used.

Randy Grim from Stray Rescue of St. Louis said he hopes the ban passes in Illinois รข€” and then catches on in Missouri. He'll be campaigning for the bill with his dog Quentin, called the "miracle dog" for his famous survival of the St. Louis gas chamber in 2003. The Basenji mix and seven other unwanted dogs were put in the chamber and gas was released. A shelter worker opened the door to find Quentin on top of a pile of dead dogs, wagging his tale. Grim and Quentin travel across the state and country, encouraging city and county shelters to stop gassing pets.

"We don't put criminals in gas chambers because it's inhumane," Grim said. "It's not the animal's fault that it was abandoned." Some animal advocates say it would be harder to ban the gas chamber in Missouri because lethal injections cost more than in Illinois a veterinarian must administer or supervise the shot in Missouri, whereas a trained euthanasia technician is permitted to do so in Illinois.

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