Despite outcry against the use of carbon monoxide in dog shelter euthanasia, the Athens County Dog Shelter has no intentions of changing its current system of dealing with overcrowding.
Along with a common lethal injection method, the Athens County Dog Shelter practices carbon monoxide euthanasia, according to Athens County dog warden Jeff Koons.
Last year, 1,361 dogs were brought in and, of those, 47 were euthanized, Koons said. In 2009, 246 of 1480 dogs were put down via carbon monoxide.
This year that figure will be much higher due to an increase thus far in the number of dogs coming into the shelter, according to projected numbers from the shelter which can maintain up to 32 dogs at any given time.
There is currently no plan to discontinue the usage of carbon monoxide euthanasia at the Athens Dog Shelter, Koons added.
“It’s my job,” he said. “I’ve never been put down by (any method), so I couldn’t tell you what it’s like. Everything we do, we have to go by a higher revised code. I work for the commissioners.”
The use of carbon monoxide in the euthanasia of animals is legal in Ohio, although it is not widespread. Athens among the 16 counties in Ohio of 88 that still use the method, according to the Animal Law Coalition.
“The county’s dog shelter is an official shelter that follows state rules and guidelines,” said Athens County Commissioner Larry Payne. “It’s well run and respected by most of the community.”
In the past year both People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the American Humane Association have protested the carbon monoxide method of euthanasia, pleading shelters to “stop gassing.”
“If your local pound or animal shelter is using any euthanasia method other than an intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital, protest to local authorities and demand that humane methods be implemented,” states a PETA release.
Commonly referred to as “gas chambers” by animal rights activists and advocacy groups, the method involves placing the dogs a metal containment box, and releasing Carbon monoxide into the chamber, leading to loss of consciousness and eventual death.
“It’s our very last resort,” said Koons. “We want the dogs to find owners. On a good day, we average three adoptions, which is excellent for a small shelter. Our goal is to find every dog a home.”
The price for each adopted dog is $65, which includes the dog and a dog license. Vaccinations, spay or neutering procedures, de-worming and de-fleaing are not initially provided.