Georgians Sue Over Euthanasia Procedures

A former lawmaker and an ex-veterinary technician say some shelters are using gas chambers illegally.

Posted: March 14, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

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A former Georgia state lawmaker and a licensed veterinary technician have filed a lawsuit to prevent Georgia animal shelters from using carbon monoxide gas chambers to euthanize cats and dogs.

The lawsuit, filed March 12 in Fulton County Superior Court by former Rep. Chesley Morton and Jennifer Robinson, a former humane society worker, claims the Georgia Department of Agriculture is violating state law by allowing gas chambers as a form of euthanasia rather than lethal injections.

Gas chambers were outlawed as a form of euthanasia in Georgia after the Humane Euthanasia Act passed in 1990. The new euthanasia law mandated that lethal injection, which is considered more humane, should be the sole form of euthanasia at animal shelters.

The euthanasia law states: “Dogs and cats who have to be killed in shelters must be given the most humane and stress-free death possible ... the use of sodium pentobarbital or a derivative of it shall be the exclusive method.”

Morton and Robinson are asking for the state to decline licenses to any new shelters that would use gas chambers and forbid renewal licenses to current shelters that don’t stop using gas chambers to euthanize pets.

However, Agriculture Department Commissioner Tommy Irvin has insisted in the past that gas chambers are a legal and practical method to euthanize animals, particularly because some rural Georgia animal shelters don’t have easy access to a veterinarian. Veterinarians are required to administer lethal injections in Georgia.

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Georgians Sue Over Euthanasia Procedures

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Reader Comments

S    s, SC

4/25/2009 3:27:03 PM

Stop screaming.

WILLIAM    FOREST PARK, GA

6/23/2007 9:17:47 AM

I FEEL THAT ROBINSON,MORTON ARE TOTALLY RIGHT, THE PEOPLE NEED DO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND SUPPORT THEM ON THIS MATTER, LOOK AT IT THIS WAY HOW MANY ANIMALS ARE PLACED IN THIS ROOM AT THE SAME TIME - WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE GAS ON THEM, PEOPLE PUT THESE ANIMALS IN THE FACILITY, FOR WHAT EVER REASONS,WE NEED TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT, SOME SAY ANIMALS HAVE NO SOUL, IF AN ANIMAL CAN FEEL PAIN AND JOY, IT HAS A SOUL, LOOK INTO ANY ANIMALS EYES AND YOU WILL KNOW IT HAS A SOUL, OPEN YOUR EYES AN SEE WHAT IS RIGHT, BETTER THAN THAT, GO WATCH THE PROCESS OF THE GAS BEING APPLIED. THEN SEE HOW WELL YOU SLEEP THAT NIGHT. W.H.

Suzanne    Tifton, GA

4/1/2007 11:39:24 AM

Tommy Irvin ought to be run out of office. Our animals that are abandoned deserve the most humane and painless treatment possible. If more people would spay or neuter their animals as I do we would not be having this debate.

sandy    Lakeland, GA

3/29/2007 12:43:58 PM

Well the law does not state a licensed vet has to use the sodium phenobarbital, it says a vet or trained lay person or something of that nature. Our Dept of Agriculture keeps saying it has to be a vet. He of all people should know what the law states. We still have the gas chamber in our county. Our animal shelter is not equipped to handle cats so they are immediately thrown into the gas chamber, which is also illegal since they are supposed to notify the owner if at all possible.We have formed a group to try to fight this. We are doing all we can to get this inhumane method stopped in our county and the entire state. It is slow going and frustrating but we shall not give up.

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