By ERIN MCCARTHY on 11/07/2011
The use of carbon monoxide gas (CO) to euthanize dogs at the Athens County Dog Shelter in Chauncey has stirred much controversy this fall. The Athens County Animal Advocates, a group comprised of Ohio University students and community members, began petitioning against the CO method of euthanasia.Senior Karen Kuhlman is the president of the OU Animal Advocates, which recently became Athens County Animal Advocates in order to bring together members of the community for this specific cause.
“Our goal is to get the dog shelter to switch to EBI (euthanasia by injection) that is administered by a veterinarian, to dismantle the gas chamber and to have a citizens oversight committee to oversee this and create some transparency and accountability for shelter operations,” Kuhlman said.
The group is having trouble getting much information on the processes of the shelter, and have received “different stories from different people” said Kuhlman.
“The shelter only uses the gas chamber for aggressive dogs,” Kuhlman explained. “The problem with this argument is that the shelter workers still need to find a way to get an aggressive animal into the chamber which still puts the shelter worker at risk.”
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “Euthanasia techniques should result in rapid loss of consciousness followed by cardiac or respiratory arrest and the ultimate loss of brain function. In addition the technique should minimize distress and anxiety experienced by the animal prior to loss of consciousness.”
“Gas chambers can cause anxiety and distress to animals because of the noise of the gas coming into the chamber,” Kuhlman said.
Gassing is considered inhumane by the AVMA when the animal is under a certain age, sick, elderly or pregnant, said Kuhlman. Shelter workers are also not always capable of accurately evaluating the health of the animal, which can result in inhumane euthanasia.
The Athens County Dog Shelter is one of few shelters left in the state that practices euthanasia by CO gassing.
The AVMA prefers euthanasia by injection over all other methods of ending animal lives.
The Athens County Dog Shelter declined to comment on the subject.
This story originally appeared on thenewpolitical.com and can also be read here.
A follow up piece to this story appeared here.