Animal advocates in Mississippi won a major victory as the one remaining animal shelter in the state agreed to tear down their gas chamber used for euthanizing homeless pets. The decision was also a win for the Humane Society of the United States because it proved they can create change in states even when legislators vote down new laws.
Earlier this year, HSUS lobbied a bill to Mississippi lawmakers to ban gas chamber euthanasia in lieu of euthanasia by injection, which is more humane for the animal. Cats and dogs killed by carbon monoxide gas chambers suffer a traumatic end to their lives. They are frightened when they are sealed inside the chamber and often struggle, cry and even fight with other animals during the process.
Twenty states have already outlawed gas chambers in favor of the more humane approach of euthanasia by injection.
When the bill failed to make it out of a legislative committee, Lydia Sattler, Mississippi HSUS State Director began talking and working with each public animal shelter in the state that was still using the outdated system.
“She made it her mission to get the job done outside the state capitol,” said Wayne Pacelle, CEO and President of HSUS.
One by one, Sattler was able to convince each community to make the change. She found veterinarians who would work with the shelters to administer the injections and she organized volunteer programs to get more pets adopted.
On Tuesday, the town council in Lucedale, heard Sattler’s presentation and voted unanimously to dismantle the one remaining gas chamber in the state.
“We are closer to the day when no healthy pets are euthanized in animal shelters because of a lack of homes,” said Pacelle.
Today 80 percent of owned pets are spayed or neutered and more people are adopting animals rather than buying them. The state of New Hampshire achieved a zero euthanasia rate for healthy homeless cats and dogs in 1999 and offers a free guide to shelters and rescue groups.
During the past five years gas chambers have been banned in Alabama, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.
Sattler plans to continue to improve shelter standards in that state.
Photo Credit: daveparker