Speak out about bill to outlaw gas chambers at animal shelters

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Brunswick County Rep. Bonner Stiller has teamed with other legislators in support of a bill that would outlaw the use of gas chambers at animal shelters in North Carolina. The push for this bill has been a grassroots effort as animal lovers throughout the state joined together to fight for this change.

If the bill is to be successful, supporters in this and other counties will have to be vocal about making it a priority for the state legislature this session.

The bill, endorsed by the North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia and American Humane Association, calls for unwanted, sick or unadoptable cats and dogs to be euthanized only by administered injection of sodium pentobarbital.

It’s a cause many local animal activists, like Margarete O’Leary, president of the Brunswick Animal League, strongly believe in. The lethal injection method is “110 percent effective,” she claims, and eliminates the possibility of an animal being found alive after it has been put into a gas chamber. That very thing sparked the name for the bill—Davie’s Law—after a shelter puppy that had been put into a gas chamber was later found alive in a dumpster in Davie County.

In Brunswick County, almost 3,000 animals were put to death in the county’s gas chamber last year. About 2,300 more were put to death by lethal injection.

Local officials claim the gas chamber method is used for animals that cannot be handled and that pose a risk to animal shelter workers who come into contact with them.

If you think it’s time to eliminate this practice from the state’s animal shelters, let your state elected officials know. Right now representatives and senators are in Raleigh championing causes that are important to their constituents. If you want to see an end to this method of death for animals, let them know. Call, send letters or e-mail your officials to let them know how strongly you feel.

Bringing an end to this practice has been a long-time coming, but it can’t be addressed without looking closer at the bigger problem—the growing number of unwanted, stray and abandoned pets in this and other counties.

In total, more than 5,000 animals in Brunswick County alone died last year because no one wanted them or because they were not properly cared for, trained and loved.

No pet should have to face death because of human apathy. The real solution to this problem is being a responsible pet owner.

If you own an animal, be sure to have it spayed or neutered to help control the problem of pet overpopulation. Local animal rescue groups sometimes offer assistance with low-cost spay and neuter clinics, and others require spay/neuter services before animals can be adopted.

Don’t contribute to this problem. Spay and neuter your pets, and if you’re looking for a pet companion, give adoption a try. You can find plenty of local pets for adoption at the Brunswick County Animal Shelter on Green Swamp Road in Supply. For more information, call 754-8204 or visit http://animalservices.brunsco.net.