|Most in WV choose lethal injection|
Here are some thoughts on why FOHO would like all 55 counties to transition to euthanasia by injection (EBI) over time. Also here is an informative handout in pdf form on this topic:
Ban Gas Chambers (pdf file)
Of note, there are only 4-5 counties still using a gas chamber since it became illegal to do so with the 2009 code change. In June 16, 2011, there are now regulations to which those few grandfathered counties must adher in order to use the antiquated and inhumane method of the gas chamber.
Danger and Risk to Shelter Employees:
1) Eliminating gas chambers would also eliminate the danger of carbon monoxide exposure to county employees, in turn eliminating lawsuits and workers compensation claims.
Shelter workers are at risk from CO poisoning when they load and unload or clean the gas chamber, breathing in low levels of the gas on a regular basis. A 2007 AVMA report warns, "[Carbon monoxide gas is].... hazardous to personnel because of the risk of explosions ... or health effects resulting from chronic exposure.... Leaky or faulty equipment may lead to slow, distressful death and be hazardous to other animals and to personnel." The report warns that electrical equipment such as lights, fans, etc. in the vicinity of the gas chamber, is vulnerable to explosions. Shelters rarely use CO monitors or make nearby electrical equipment explosion proof.
2) There are no regulated inspections of gas chambers in West Virginia shelters.
Chambers may not have gauges to monitor CO percentages, making it impossible to tell if the gas will reach a lethal level or merely make animals unconscious. This increases the risk for an incident or explosion with Carbon Monoxide built up. As recently as July, 2008, in fact, in Iredell County, North Carolina, the gas chamber exploded with 10 dogs crammed inside. An employee was present at the time, and other workers were in the next room. The fan and other equipment near the chamber were not explosion proof. According to a 1993 AVMA Report, as the concentration of CO [in the body] increases, humans may experience decreased visual acuity, tinnitus, nausea, progressive depression, confusion, and collapse along with convulsions and muscular spasms. Long-term effects may include cancer and cardiovascular diseases." Countless other authorities including the American Medical Association confirm the hazards of CO gas to humans. The death of a Tennessee shelter worker by CO poisoning from a shelter gas chamber resulted in the banning of this method of killing in Tennessee.
Imagine the risk to workers at these WV shelters and the countless others where leaking CO gas, which has no odor or color, goes unnoticed.
3) One objection to euthanasia by injection was the possibility of the technician injecting him- or herself.
It would take a syringe much larger than the one used and it would have to be injected directly into a vein. It would be highly unlikely for that to occur so the danger to the human is extremely slight.
Reasons to Limit Euthanasia to Humane Injection:
1) Training & Employee Turnover: Shelters using injection have less employee turnover.
2) Eliminate the double-training for two methods of euthanasia. West Virginia holds a yearly (CAET) Certified Animal Euthanasia Technician class but there is no such training the gas chamber.
3) Gassing an animal takes about 25 minutes which takes more employee time.
Small animals, puppies and kittens and 'old' animals are much more difficult to kill with gas; therefore, there must be an alternative to gas for these animals. Unfortunately, those using the chamber who are not properly trained may be putting small animals in the chamber resulting in a slow and horribly painful death for these animals.
4) Cost less for injection:
Startup cost for injection is less than $1,000, including CAET certification and the handling of a licensed drug.
Cost of injection is slightly less. A 2009 North Carolina study by municipal animal control* shows cost comparison with $2.29 per animal with injection vs $2.77 with gas. If done according to AVMA standards, the costs to use a carbon monoxide chamber are comparable to the costs for using injection. Using data from an animal sheltering organization, the number of dogs and cats euthanized in 2002 was 7473. The cost to use carbon monoxide poisoning - $13,230. The cost of injection - $12,700." So costs are comparable. The view that gas is considerable cheaper is simply not true.
Injection method: A 250 ml bottle is $60 and is enough for 2500 lbs of animals, indicates Monica Rogers, CAET Taylor County Humane Society. Taylor County still has its gas chamber, but it is no longer used.
The cost for injection, according to Kelly Scheidegger, Shelter Director and CAET for the Randolph County Humane Society, supports the findings of the North Carolina study. Kelly indicates that her injection cost for the 250 ml bottle is $49 and the syringes are $14/100. Randolph County discontinued the use of a gas chamber in 2003.
Join other states euthanizing animals in the humane and recommended way:
Many states including Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, and Colorado, among others, now ban the gas chamber. It's time for West Virginia, the state that was in the forefront in making animal cruelty a felony, to do the same.
Euthanasia By Injection (EBI) is the method recommended by every national humane organization and the National Animal Control Association, NACA. It is the method of choice of AVMA, the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The Federation of Humane Organizations of West Virginia, Inc considers lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital, administered by competent, trained personnel, to be the method of choice for humane euthanasia of dogs, cats, other small animals and horses.
* North Carolina Study cited above was done in January 2009; Doug Fakkema, Consultant to Animal Care & Control, Commissioned by American Humane Association
The 2013 WV Legislative Session is over. Three animal bills passed this session. Please check our affiliate legislative action website for current and past legislative activity pertinent to Animal Welfare. www.fohowvla.org.
New WV Animal Law Books have been revised (2011 code). The cost is $10.00. You may view that revised law book on this site in pdf format. Get additional copies to give out to those in your community who work with animal law. You can also order online by using the donate button on this site and indicate that you want a law book. Or send check to the following address. Order now!
Our next FOHO WV meeting will be listed here after the WV State Legislature adjourns.
Our meetings are generally held:
Clarksburg Public Library
404 W Pike St
Clarksburg, WV 26301-2794
From US 50 around Clarksburg, get downtown onto West Pike Street go into the library complex and into the main building. We meet in the building adjacent to the library at times so check back here as we get closer to the meeting date for those details. Hope to see everyone there! Always check here to see if our meeting venue has changed or we have had to cancel due to inclement weather.
We have discussed moving our meetings around the state. If your group would like to host a FOHO WV meeting in your area, just let us know.