Monday, September 28, 2009

Oy, Vey, Itz A Holocaust: West Valley City, Utah Installs Gas Chamber To Dispose Of Unwanted Pets

Before you decide to get a pet, you might want to read this post - and, in particular, the Deseret News article upon which it is based. Perhaps you will choose to get a shelter animal to help solve this problem and meet your needs to care for an animal at the same time.

West Valley City has joined the growing ranks of Utah cities who now use gas chambers to dispose of unwanted pets. The gas chamber was installed in the animal control facility which is actually shared by West Valley City and Taylorsville. The Murray and West Jordan shelters also use carbon monoxide to euthanize strays. Unfortunately, there are two incentives for using gas instead of the more traditional lethal injection; cost and complexity. It's cheaper for shelters to use gas chambers because multiple animals can be killed at once. The gas is also cheaper than injections, which incur the cost of not only the blue substance but also of extra training, hypodermic needles and medical gloves, all of which also add to the complexity of using injection.

An excerpt from the article provides a poignant picture of the process:

On a crisp September morning in the back room of Sandy's industrial pound, an animal control officer glanced at a pair of caged feral cats with a morose, discouraged sigh. The shelter was stark and sterile, but alive with the sound of dog barks echoing against the cold concrete.

The cats, a young tabby and an older gray-blue beauty, moved as far from the man as possible. The officer, dressed in a crisp uniform and heavy boots, approached the cages and hurriedly lifted them inside an oven-like box, locking the creatures inside.

He then flipped a switch, sending poison gas hissing inside. He turned to his supervisor, chatting about the daily grind, as the animals inside began to howl. Their small bodies became stiff and started to jerk, letting out one final shriek before collapsing. The limp bodies were left in the chamber until the poison gas was converted into carbon dioxide and safely released outdoors.

"I prefer the chamber here over injection," the Sandy officer said, ignoring the dying felines. "These animals, the feral cats, they're not going to be able to be adopted. This is obviously the best thing for the animal. That gives us peace of mind."

Death in the carbon monoxide chamber can be even more violent for dogs because of their size, said Sandy shelter director Rich Bergan.

In contrast, the process of lethal injection, which is the only method used by the Salt Lake County animal shelter, isn't as violent and takes less time. Within seconds after an obviously-solemn employee injected a vein in a dog's leg with a bright blue substance, the animal had crumbled into an exhausted mound and stopped breathing. Her body was carried to a nearby freezer under the watchful eye of a Deseret News reporter.

Naturally, as illustrated by the title of this post, gas chambers also evoke mental images of the Holocaust®, incessantly promoted by Jewish activists as a unique form of genocide, although the number of its victims have been grossly surpassed by the 75-year Communist holocaust as well as the ongoing American holocaust against the unborn. This history makes the appearance of gassing stray animals even more unsavory.

Local opposition to animal gassing exists, not only by Summit County Friends of Animals, but also the Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah. Alliance director Anne Davis has made it her mission to stop carbon monoxide chambers, even volunteering to drive unwanted pets in West Valley and Taylorsville to other shelters twice a week. Her offer was refused.

How prolific is the practice of putting down unwanted pets? According to the Deseret News, in 2007, the most recent year for which figures are available, 75 percent of all dogs entering Utah's sheltering system were saved, compared with a save rate of only 35 percent for cats, according to No More Homeless Pets of Utah. A total of 9,512 dogs were killed compared with 23,265 cats.

Because of budgetary considerations, the debate over injection vs. gas is unlikely to be resolved in favor of more humane injection anytime soon. In the meantime, we can reduce the problem by getting our existing pets neutered and by choosing shelter animals over "cute" puppies/kitties when we decide to get a pet.

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