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One state’s toll — 118,365 euthanized dogs

Michigan’s animal shelters euthanized 118,365 dogs last year — some of them in outdated gas chambers which take as long as five minutes to accomplish the ugly job. 

“In a gas chamber, the larger dogs survive for four to five minutes — terrified and choking,” said Joe Sowerby, one of many animal advocates upset by revisions to a bill that would have prohibited the gassing of dogs.

A bill to require euthanasia be administered through more humane lethal injection was proposed in the Michigan legislature, but now it appears it will be watered down, allowing the process to continue in some counties, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Dogs injected with sodium pentobarbital lose consciousness in seconds and die within minutes. The method has also been shown to be less costly.

Despite that, Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Frank said she wouldn’t favor limiting shelters’ options because not all facilities have the training for injections.

State legislators, including two from metro Detroit, say they plan to revise — and essentially weaken — bills that, in their original versions, would have outlawed the use of gas chambers in animal shelters.

“We’ll say whenever possible you should do injections because that’s the most humane,” state Rep. Fred Miller said last week. “But if you have the training and you’ve invested in the equipment to use gas properly, that’s allowed.”

Poison gas is no longer used at animal shelters in most of Michigan, including metro Detroit. But at least 10 counties in north and west Michigan still use it, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

State officials said Michigan shelters euthanized 53% of the animals brought in last year, but figures aren’t available on how many were gassed.


Comment from Natalie
Time July 8, 2009 at 7:56 am

Mr. Sowerby states:
““In a gas chamber, the larger dogs survive for four to five minutes — terrified and choking,”
If this is happening in chambers that you have personally witnessed, your chamber is overfilled or the gas is not reaching proper concentrations as quickly as it should-
Having just gone through this debate in my state, here is what I have learned:

Animals euthanized with Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas experience hypoxemia (a deficiency in the concentration of dissolved oxygen in arterial blood). Carbon Monoxide is colorless, odorless, and is nonflammable and nonexplosive unless in concentrations over 10%.
Death occurs rapidly in concentrations of 4-6% CO. Dogs exposed to 6% CO in air experience 20-25 seconds of abnormal cortical function prior to loss of conciousness.

If the correct information is presented, it give people a chance to reach their own

Comment from Debora A Rawlins
Time November 12, 2011 at 9:20 am

this is what you do to innocent animals?you people are heartless,cruel,evil and rotton to do such a rotton thing as this!how would you like to be the ones homeless,no where to go,no one to love you ,not even cared about and then thrown in a dam gas chamber to die a sloe horrible death!all because your an innocent dog?!this should be for inhumane people as well!see how you feel!