In a fitting observation of National Justice for Animals Week, state Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) announced that he will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of gas chambers to euthanize pets in animal shelters.
“When shelter animals have to be put down, it should be done with the compassion we would expect for our family pet,” said Leland. “While the use of gas chambers in shelters has become a rarity in this state, we are one of the few that still allow it to happen at all. Passing this bill will demonstrate Ohio’s commitment to treating animals humanely at every stage of their lives.”
Under the best circumstances, it takes minutes before an animal loses consciousness inside a gas chamber. If the chamber is not well-maintained or if the animal is very young, very old, ill, injured or stressed, it can take much longer. In the worst cases, the animal is still conscious while its vital organs begin to shut down, and an animal can survive in a gas chamber for as long as 25 minutes.
Ohio is one of just four states in which gas chambers are still actively used to euthanize pets in animal shelters. Various animal rights organizations, such as the Humane Society of the United States and the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, have publicly denounced the practice of euthanizing animals using gas chambers.
This year, National Justice for Animals Week is Feb. 23 to 29.