2009-07-25 / Editorials & Letters

Pound workers not using training to euthanize dogs

Editor:

Information received through a recent public records request has revealed that the Licking County Animal Shelter, since 2006, has had at least three shelter employees trained by the American Humane Association in euthanasia by injection ( EBI). This method has been shown and professionally recognized as a much more humane method of dispatching animals deemed aggressive, ill, injured, or otherwise unadoptable.

Yet the shelter continues to kill these unfortunate animals by loading them into cages and rolling them into a gas chamber where the terrified creatures stuggle, fight among themselves and gasp for breath often for several minutes before they die. People in adjacent buildings have reported hearing the cries of these animals in their final minutes.

The shelter kills the majority of its unwanted animals in this fashion, frequently upon the determination of a single individual that an animal is aggressive. Puppies and older dogs are also killed even though manufacturers of gas chambers and veterinary professionals discourage this method as being especially cruel for such animals due to their inability to absorb the deadly gas .

When contacted, county personnel claimed that EBI exacts too great of an emotional response on those individuals involved in the process and often exposes them to potentially dangerous situations. Veterinarians and others trained in EBI, however , know how to deal with these animals and understand the benefits of presedation.

If the shelter had no intention of actually employing EBI as part of its standard operation procedures, why were its employees trained in the first place ? Clearly , this situation references yet another example where the convenience and indifference of man supersedes the suffering of mankind's best friend.

Gary Sieg Columbus

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