Georgia Votes to Ban Gas Chambers

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Georgia Votes to Ban Gas Chambers and Reunite Lost Pets

By Sharon Seltzer on Care2.com, March 2010

He won over his opponents by showing how animals die in a gas chamber and how they gasp for their last breath. He also demonstrated how pets become very frightened when they are placed in the gas chamber container, which resembles a dark closet. “They don’t’ go to sleep real quick,” said Knox. “It is not humane,” he continued.

Georgia could be on its way to becoming the number one state for protecting animals. The state’s legislators passed two new animal welfare laws last week.

In a vote of 115 to 46, lawmakers in Georgia finally approved a bill to stop the use of gas chambers to euthanize pets in animal shelters. Under the new law animals “must be put to sleep through lethal injection.”

The bill’s sponsor, state Representative Tom Knox told a local TV station, “Gas chambers, which use carbon monoxide to euthanize pets, are pretty gory.”

He won over his opponents by showing how animals die in a gas chamber and how they gasp for their last breath. He also demonstrated how pets become very frightened when they are placed in the gas chamber container, which resembles a dark closet. “They don’t’ go to sleep real quick,” said Knox. “It is not humane,” he continued.

State Representative, Gene Maddox, a veterinarian argued against the bill. He wanted to keep gas chambers open for feral animals. He told fellow legislators, “This is a bad bill… The carbon monoxide chamber is the most humane method.” Lucky for the pets of Georgia, Maddox was outvoted.

And during the same week, legislators approved a second bill to protect animals. The new law will require animal shelters to scan homeless pets for a microchip before euthanizing them. The vote on H.B. 1106 was unanimous.

Ironically, this bill was introduced by Representative Gene Maddox. The new law has two parts. First it requires shelters to scan animals for a microchip as soon as they arrive at a facility. If a chip is found, the animal shelter is obligated to contact the pet’s owner. Then the law makes it mandatory to re-scan household pets such as cats and dogs a second time before euthanizing them. The intention of the law is reunite as many lost pets with their owners as possible.

Maddox said the companies that make scanners have agreed to donate them to local shelters in order to keep the cost down. Some critics of the scanning bill argued that the majority of pets in Georgia do not have a microchip, but that may soon change as owners hear about the extra measures shelters will have to take to return lost pets.