The Humane Society Serving Clark County has switched from using carbon monoxide gas to euthanize dogs in its shelter to a lethal injection method.
The local shelter recently made the move to lethal injection because it’s less stressful on animals and it’s become the most common method used by Ohio county dog wardens.
“The change is going to come eventually where the use of gas chambers are no longer allowed, so instead of waiting for it to be forced upon us, we’re taking a proactive approach,” Humane Society Director Jimmy Straley said. “Everybody’s making the change. We certainly don’t want to be the last. But we want to do what’s right.”
Matt Granito, former president of the Ohio Dog Wardens Association, said the majority of counties have moved away from using gas chambers to euthanize animals.
He said many changed to lethal injection in the last 15 to 20 years as the drugs used to euthanize dogs improved.
But some hesitate to make the switch because of safety concerns, costs and because dog wardens are not allowed to purchase a sedative used relax the animals before they’re administered a dose of Fatal-Plus or other drugs used to put the animals down.
Strayley said the shelter incurred costs for a part-time veterinarian technician who administers the sedative Xylazine and either Fatal Plus or Beuthanasia. He also said additional expenses will come from the increased use of its crematory because animals who have been euthanized with drugs cannot be buried.
Veterinarians and dog wardens say euthanizing animals by lethal injection is more humane than using a gas chamber.
Strayley said the animals are held, given the sedative that relaxes them in about five to 10 minutes and then administered the lethal injection that takes effect within seconds.
“It’s less stressful for the dog, which ultimately makes it better for the dog,” Strayley said. “But (lethal injection) is way more personal. It’s a terrible thing we have to do. Nobody likes it.”
Strayley said the shelter will not remove the gas chamber and will only use it for wild animals and those such as rabid bats that pose safety risks.