2010-03-27 / Editorials & Letters

Writer says gas chamber needs to go for gas ban to work

Editor:

So now Licking County Commissioners have graciously announced that the Licking County Animal Shelter will begin phasing out euthanasia by carbon monoxide by the end of the month. But of course there’s a catch. The gas chamber will still be used in cases when an animal is too vicious to safely euthanize by injection and will require consensus among several members of the staff.

A little dog had a rescue to go to but Jon Luzio thought this little dog was so aggressive that it needed to be gassed, the very day after the commissioners said this would not be happening. As long as the gas chamber is there, EVERYTHING will need gassed because it is “aggressive.” Jon Luzio does not know the difference between a dog that is afraid, and one that is aggressive. He hasn’t known the difference for 35 years... and he REFUSES to learn because the gas chamber enables him to perform MASS KILLINGS. The gas chamber must be dismantled and removed in order for any kind of ban to be effective.

Life can sometimes take a turn for the worse when we least expect it. And when you have a pet dog, the well being of that companion animal can be critical to your own well being. I was in my vet’s office recently when a young man came in with his dog. So confidant was he that his devoted dog would never leave his side, he did not have a collar or a leash on the dog. The dog was not microchiped. I reasoned with him that, should he be in a car accident and was unconscious, his dog was at great risk of ending up at the Licking County Animal Shelter. With that in mind, I offer you some insights concerning the LCAS.

In 2009, based on public records, a total of 1,644 dogs were taken into the shelter. Of that number, 475 dogs were pulled by animal rescues. Deducting that number from the total of 1,644 leaves 1,169 dogs. Of that number, 353 dogs were euthanized or 30.1%. The LCAS includes the number pulled by rescues to compute their euthanasia percentage of 21.47%, which is hardly a fair estimate if you consider the fate of those 475 dogs had they not been pulled by rescues.

Consider this factor. Of a sampling of 20 dogs at LCAS, it was recorded that nine were surrendered,six picked up, and five found by the public. To all those who surrendered their dogs to LCAS or those who lost their dog, did you ever consider what their fate would be? Perhaps you’ve read in previous news reports the method which the dog warden uses to assess dog temperament…direct frontal confrontation in the dog’s kennel, intended to provoke a negative reaction. This method is totally against recommended protocols for temperament assessment by the US Humane Society. So, considering your dog will be frightened and feel cornered, the chances are very good that it might make a fearful response of a bark, snarl or growl. That is is all it takes to condemn that dog to death by gassing.

And make no mistake....death by gassing is inhumane, especially by virtue of the method employed by LCAS’s dog warden. The Humane Society adjacent to the LCAS has attested repeatedly that they can hear the cries of the animals as they are being gassed. THINK ABOUT IT! As many as 25 UNSEDATED animals, dogs, cats and wildlife have been crammed into a metal box divided only into FOUR SECTIONS. The box is then pushed into the gas chamber where it can take up to 25 minutes to render them dead, especially the old and very young whose lung capacity is compromised.

According to Section 955.16 of the Ohio Revised Code, “No person shall destroy any dog by the use of a high altitude decompression chamber or by any method other than a method that immediately and painlessly renders the dog initially unconscious and subsequently dead.” In order to meet the standards of the law, a dog or cat, or any animal for that matter, must first be sedated by injection, and that INCLUDES dogs deemed aggressive.

There are perfectly safe and humane methods to do this and the dog warden and officers at LCAS are TRAINED to administer sedatives and lethal injections. However, the dog warden has remarked many times that sedatives are NOT administered to aggressive dogs because of a “safety concern.” When is this county employee going to take responsibility for doing his job? If he were the professional dog warden he claims to be then he would be proficient in the proper methods of handling aggressive dogs.

Well, that’s about it, folks. Just thought you had a right to know a thing or two for your sake, but mostly for the sake of your animals which I hope and pray you love because they deserve it.
Joan Settina
Licking County Cares
Union Township

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