Rowan County To Continue Using Gas Chamber on Animals -

Rowan County To Continue Using Gas Chamber on Animals

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Rowan County will continue its practice of using the gas chamber to euthanize animals at the county shelter despite pleas from animal advocates to end the practice. The county is one of about a dozen counties in North Carolina that still uses the gas chamber to put down animals that aren't adopted out at the county shelter.

Animal welfare advocates took the fight to end the use of the gas chamber to county commissioners Tuesday night. Laura Ashby with Fix Rowan County, an advocacy group, says, "We view the gas chamber as being inhumane, and we would like to change it to the lethal injection, the EBI. We believe that there's less suffering involved because their organs shut down last with the lethal injection. They lose consciousness, and there's less suffering for the animals involved."

Fix Rowan County rallied outside and inside the county commission meeting Thursday in Salisbury. The group says using the gas chamber is torturous for the animals, more expensive for the taxpayers, and risky for the workers' safety.

Advocates say animal control is concerned about the opposite, that lethal injection will put their workers in harm’s way, possibly because the animals sometimes fight back. But Fix Rowan County says there is help through the Humane Society to change the way animals are put down. Ashby says, "It would be of no cost absolutely. The Humane Society has offered a grant. They'll come in. They'll dismantle the gas chamber, and they will train the animal control officers how to give the lethal injection."

My Fox Carolinas made numerous attempts to contact the supervisor of the Rowan County Animal Shelter Tuesday, but we were told he was unavailable.

Tuesday night one of the Rowan County commissioners asked that an item be added to the agenda that would end the practice of using the gas chamber at the shelter. However, no other commissioner made a second to the motion, so the measure died.

One animal advocate said she was "dumbfounded" by the commission's decision. Another said she was embarrassed to say she lives in Rowan County because of the practice of using the gas chamber. Fix Rowan County says it won't give up on changing the euthanasia method in Rowan County.

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