This Pisses Me Right Off

State breaks own law on gassing pets

A Fulton County judge has found the state Department of Agriculture in contempt for approving the use of a gas chamber to kill unwanted pets at the Cobb County animal shelter.

Superior Court Judge Tom Campbell says he will remove the contempt citation if the department rescinds its approval of Cobb's gas chamber.

Without state approval, Cobb would likely be forced to use lethal injections, like many other shelters do.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which filed the suit earlier this year, contended gas chambers violated a 1990 state law that required lethal injection. That law exempted certain counties with low population and others already using gas chambers.

"The Agriculture Department wasn't even enforcing [the law]," said Holly Beal with PETA. "Many of the counties weren't even aware of it."

PETA went after the state agency that certified the gas chambers rather than the local governments hoping to force change statewide with one suit.

PETA officials noted that Tift and Bulloch counties as well as Warner Robins switched to lethal injection since the suit was filed in March.

A spokesman for Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin said the state agency was unaware of the order and could not comment.

Sam Olens, Cobb commission chairman, said he just found out about the ruling late Wednesday and was not sure what Cobb might do.

"I was aware of the controversy," Olens said. "I just wasn't aware of the decision."

PETA officials alleged dogs and cats "cried out in terror and ran around frantically inside the gas chambers while they were slowly suffocating." PETA also cited a puppy that was gassed three times, becoming sicker each time but staying alert and alive before finally dying.

"It's wrong that private citizens had to go to court to get the department to abide by the very laws that it is charged with enforcing," said PETA's director of domestic animal issues, Daphna Nachminovitch. "Not only did Commissioner Irvin and the Georgia Department of Agriculture's actions cause tens of thousands of cats and dogs to suffer needlessly, they also violated the public trust. The General Assembly prohibited the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers 17 years ago, and the fact that it continued until the plaintiffs and PETA stepped in is an indictment in and of itself."

More than 80,000 cats and dogs were killed in shelters in 17 metro Atlanta counties in 2005, the most recent year data was compiled and analyzed by Stopping Pet Overpopulation Together Inc. The society is an alliance of rescuers and veterinarians working to reduce the number of animals impounded and killed in Atlanta area.

The 2005 number is slightly down from a high of more than 93,000 in 2001, but metro Atlanta shelters still kill more pets than all of Great Britain, the society said.

Janet Weiss, president of the society, said it prefers animals be killed using intravenous injection administered by a trained professional.

When cats and dogs of varying age and size are put into a chamber together, they absorb the gas differently. This, Weiss said, results in some animals not dying at all or dying a slower death.

"We've heard horror stories for years of pets suffering and some of them not being dead when it was over with," Weiss said. "That's why there's such an uproar about it continuing."

Michael Good, a Roswell veterinarian who has worked with the Cobb County shelter, said shelter managers contend gas is the most humane and economical way to kill the animals.

"It is the philosophy that gas is less stressful and they don't need skilled employees who can hit veins (with an injection)," said Good, who runs the Homeless Pet Foundation. "Their mind-set in that they can roll these animals into a dark room and pump the gas in and the animals will go to sleep."

Good noted that many animal rights organizations contend that gassing is inhumane.

"You talk to these shelter managers, who say, 'It is the most economical thing to do. We don't have much of a budget. We don't have skilled employees and we have all these animals who nobody is getting,' " Good said.

Good pointed out that if the poison wasn't injected directly into a vein, lethal injections also could be inhumane.

"If that stuff gets outside the vein, it is very painful for the animal — it burns," he said. "But it is just the idea of gassing anything. Psychologically, it is not good for a community, for kids to hear about cats and dogs being gassed. It is not something a community can be proud of."

— Staff writers Saeed Ahmed and Steve Visser contributed to this article.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/10/07

Peta Website
Human Society Website

I think most of u know I am a animal person and I give 2 Peta and the Human Society. I try 2 do what I can 2 help anmials then I read a story like this and from the State that I love just makes me sad 2 say I'm from Georgia. What makes me sad that there is that anmials that needed homes. People we need 2 do better for these animals come on. This is the United States people and we treat are animals like this no wonder people in the country are fucked up. Sorry put this pisses me off more than anything a poor animal that can't defend it's self is being treated like a bag of trash. Gosh this just makes me so sad. My readers do what u can maybe give a little 2 Peta or the Human Society don't matter the amount 5 dollars it all helps.

I'm sitting here in Charlotte drinking coffee tryin 2 calm down and the Nascar world is still a sleep it's quite outside. I have 2 say it's nice about 50 degrees and coming out of Florida man it feels good. Sorry for going off but the topic of people mistreating animals upsets me so. Guess that's it for now folks.


Chained Dogs
6 Responses
  1. Cheeky Says:

    I am just horrified....I love my animal babies too. Whenever I get a new pet I have always adopted them from the shelter. I give the local shelter money.

    I am not a huge fan of PETA just because of some of the other things they have done but I have to stand up and say BRAVO on this one.

    Ahhh Charlotte, my old home....I miss the south. Going back in a few weeks for the Christmas show.

  2. patti_cake Says:

    I am with you on the animal thing Ryan. You know I just rescued two dogs in August. They are both doing well. Angel is staying with Carrie and Holly with us. Thank you for being the voice for those who can't speak for themselves my sweet, dear friend.
    Enjoy Charlotte! Go Jr & Smoke hehe.... (had to say it)

  3. irisgirl Says:

    Sweet Ryan--If anybody doubts that you have a heart as big as the universe, then they are blind fools!

    big hugs, Elise

  4. Ed Says:

    This song was before your time, Ryan but it may still be on Youtube. Bless the Beasts and the children for in this world they have no voice, they have no choice.
    Bless the Beasts and the children for the world can never be the world they see, light their way when the darkness surrounds them, let it shine all around them.
    Bless the beasts and the children, give them shelter from the storm, keep them safe, keep them warm.

  5. Uncle Gerry Says:

    Once again you lead with your heart, keep up the good fight, love to all.

  6. Sexy Duet Says:

    Good issue to raise Ryan - it is important for people to desex their animals, have them microchipped, use cat runs etc. These all help to reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters.

    Ms SD