Consider This: Gassing Animals

We've aired a number of reports this year on the surplus of dogs and cats, many of which aren't adoptable, and the lack of space in shelters resulting in the killing of more than 250,000 animals each year in North Carolina. Those reports generated many comments from viewers, especially about the inhumane practice of "gassing" the dogs and cats in carbon-monoxide chambers.

Well, the state Board of Agriculture is close to adopting rules that would govern how animals are euthanized. The rules would set standards for equipment and training so the animals are put down as humanely as possible. They include training requirements for staffers, random inspections, and more stringent reporting and record-keeping.

Most shelters use a lethal injection to put the animals down. The shot, generally in the leg, takes only a few seconds to take effect. But some shelters also use gas to put down wild, dangerous or potentially rabid animals. Carbon monoxide poisoning isn't necessarily fast, and lethal injection remains the preferred method for most animal shelters.

Many counties have petitioned the department to keep carbon-monoxide as a legal method. They say that both the Humane Society of the United States and the American Veterinary Medical Association recognize it as a humane method of euthanasia, and that it protects shelter workers from being put in dangerous situations.

If you want to voice your opinion, the department is accepting public comment through August 31. Write or e-mail David McLeod with your comments:

David McLeod

N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1001

and go to the department website for more information:

We believe the only humane form of euthanasia is lethal injection. Of course, the best solution would be to reduce the number of unwanted animals through spaying and neutering programs in the first place.

That's what we think. Tell us what you think.