The explosion that occurred in the Iredell County Animal Shelter's gas chamber is yet another reason why it's time for North Carolina policymakers to require shelters to switch to euthanizing animals by injections ("Animal euthanasia rules languish over language," Aug. 13). Death by carbon monoxide poisoning can be slow and terrifying—with panicked animals gasping for breath, trying to claw their way out of the chamber, and sometimes even attacking other animals in the chamber—and can take as long as 30 minutes. Death by intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital, when administered by trained, caring shelter staff, is painless, peaceful and very quick.
Carbon monoxide is also hazardous to shelter workers. In March 2000, a technician in Chattanooga, Tenn., died from accidental inhalation of CO gas while he was killing animals. Repeated exposure to CO, even at low levels, can cause cancer, infertility and heart disease.
While we work toward the day when every animal has a loving home by spaying and neutering to prevent more unwanted animals from being born, the least we owe homeless animals is a peaceful release from a world in which they are often abused and discarded. To learn more, visit www.helpinganimals.org.
The writer is vice president, Cruelty Investigations Department, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.