Catawba County, North Carolina Stops Using the Gas Chamber

Update May 27, 2009:  "Since [Jay] Blatche came to Catawba County about 18 months ago, the shelter has not used the gas chamber for euthanizing animals. The only method is lethal injection. While Blatche would like to see all the animals at the shelter be adopted, he said the lethal injection is more humane, with the agent working immediately, "as opposed to the gas chamber when you can see them in there, struggling for their breath."

Original report: A number of county and city shelters in N.C. continue to use gas chambers to kill animals. Some shelters workers have been known to beat animals in the head, drown them in buckets, or break their necks with shovels when the gas would not kill them. 

Catawba County has decided it’s time for a change. 

The county will going forward use only lethal injection for euthanizations except when the health and safety of a worker would be jeopardized by direct contact with an animal.

"Catawba County recognizes that lethal injection is preferable from the standpoint of being a more humane method of euthanasia," said Jay Blatche, Animal Services Manager for the county, "This entire issue is one of the most difficult and tragic parts of our work. Animals shelter would have to euthanize far fewer animals if all citizens were responsible pet owners. So as Catawba County mamkes the transition to lethal injection in almost all cases, we also want to remind everyone [of the importance of responsible pet ownership].

For more information about the cruelty and horror of animal gas chambers in North Carolina as well as the danger they present to shelter workers, visit this site:


28 thoughts on “Catawba County, North Carolina Stops Using the Gas Chamber”

  1. Please STOP this inhumane practice. The effect of gassing has been documented. This is a cruel death. I can’t believe it had not been banned in NC. It IS CRUEL. Words cannot express how against gassing I am . These animals have DONE NOTHING except been given a bad hand in life and ended up at a gassing shelter. These are innocent creatures that suffer in the gas chamber. Please stop HURTING them. Please stop hurting the animals because if anyone should be punished for the pet over population problem it is human beings. When you think of this kind of death you think of criminals not dogs and cats. I beg you STOP THIS CRUELTY.

    Worcester, MA

  2. This is animal cruelty in all it’s findings. Please use other methods of euthanasia which will allow the animal to die with its right birth dignity.

    Dahlia Canes

  3. 2 comments:

    1. In most states, they banned the use of gas chambers on convicted felons to be used as a sentenced of death because it was deemed inhumane, unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. To date only 5 states, WT, CA, MD, MS and AZ retain the gas chamber as a method of execution, but allow lethal injection as an alternative.

    2. The only good gas chamber is the one that no longer exists.

  4. I wonder how many of the people on this committee have actually witnessed an animal gassing. Perhaps it would change their minds?

  5. yes…how is it that a person who kills innocent people can get an easy way out by getting a humane way of dying with a lethal injection??? But a dog who does nothing in this life but want to be loved , have to die so cruelly??? Doesn’t make a bit of sense to me!!!!!!!!!!! The criminal gets to die with no pain , while a precious animal has to suffer…..Whats the rationale in that scenerio???? I thought these SOB’s were to pay for their crimes, and letting them die peacefully is not the way….Looks like the higer up officials got the death sentences mixed up..on who gets what…They need to get their heads out of their asses

  6. Gas chambers are an inhumane method of euthanization for companion animals. And sometimes, animals have the horrific experience of surviving the gas chamber. You wouldn’t consider it humane to kill a person comdemned to death row in this manner so what makes it humane for companion animals???? I realize euthanization is often a necessary evil, but there are better ways of carrying out the horrible task, such as lethal injection. Please outlaw the gas chambers and make the unfortunate passing of these animals much more painless and bearable.

  7. Until good organization and caring reaches the level of allowing abandoned dogs to find good appropriate homes (with training on site if needed for unwanted behavior), if the outcome is to use euthanasia in North Carolina the very least action is to use lethal injection to limit the suffering during the kill process. We all need to use our voices on behalf of the animals and not let the burden of choice rest on only those carrying out last resort duties for abandoned animals.

  8. would the committee be willing to witness a gassing? i do think this would be effective. at least they would be more fully informed as to the suffering before enacting their decisions. i just can’t imagine a more horrible and scary death. why does it have to be like this if we have more humane methods?

  9. We are a civilized society. Why are we still using this inhumane, barbaric method of euthanizing animals?

    There are more humane ways to euthanize animals. Why is this archaic practice still acceptable? If the powers that be think it’s OK- I invite them to go and fetch these petrified animals from their lonely cell, walk them down to the killing machine, and stuff them in themselves.

    I believe the people in charge of making the decision to continue the use of the gas chamber are so far removed from the horror of what really goes on. They would not be able to sleep at night if they stood there and watched from begining to end- witnessed the utter fear in the eyes of these innocent animals, who, through no fault of their own, ended up on death row.

    If they can do this – and still support the use of the gas chamber- then they are just pure evil.


    Sheri Jackson
    Mpls, MN

  10. i would like to express how inhumane it is to use this methode for euthanasia. these poor animals are there because of human neglet and ignorance. people need to realize when you take on the commitment of care for another living being it is just that , a life long commitment. these animals trust their human counter parts to take care of them and not abondon or neglct them. why should these animals have to suffer a horrible death because we as humans have failed them. please consider how you would feel if it were you.

  11. Why are we disposing of animals in such a cruel way? I understand that the pet population has increased due to the irresponsibility of owners worldwide not altering their pet (aside from reputable breeders). We can avoid all of this if we FINE each person for each unaltered pet they have, hence stopping the increase of unwanted puppies and kittens everywhere. These animals have a right to life just like us. We were all created by the same Creator and live on this earth together. To do such an inhumane thing as gassing an animal who cannot speak, and tell us anything, an animal that did nothing wrong except being born into this world is ridiculous and shameful

  12. Killing kittens, puppies, dogs and cats is not only abhorrently cruel in and of itself….. but this macabre and barbaric torture MUST be done away with forever. Banned Forever, Outlawed Forever, and buried for Eternity!

  13. I can’t begin to explain the way I feel about gas chambers and the people that can actually put the dogs in that box and turn on the gas. It is disturbing to think about and it should be stopped. It isn’t bad enough that people treat their pets like an article that can just be thrown away. Most of these pets end up being destroyed, why? Because people are to ignorant to think about and realize what is really going on. Millions of animals every year being killed for no apparent reason. It’s very sad what this world has come to; we are suppose to be the superior nation. All we do is try to hide the things we do wrong and pretend nobody knows….

  14. It should be mandatory for these decision makers to witness a helpless animal or group of pets being shoved into a gas chamber and listen to their cries. Wait around and see how many don’t die the first time as well!! Then, go back to your offices and say that gas chambers are humane! People who want their children to witness the miracle of birth should also show them what happens to the unwanted animals. These poor souls have done nothing wrong, yet heartless criminals are demanding better treatment in jails! Until people practice responsible pet ownership by getting their pets spayed and neutered, more homeless animals will end up in shelters. Tax money should be spent on neutering and not on killing! Our country can do better, and change can happen one state at a time. Please set a positive example and abolish all gas chambers now. Thank you for your kindness and compassion for all God’s creatures!

  15. Given that there is a more humane alternative, I do not understand the continued use of the carbon monoxide gas chamber in shelters especially when it has been proven that injectable euthanasia is similar in cost once it is in place. We all know the horror stories of animals who have survived the gas chamber and we all know what animals go through during the process of dying in the gas chamber. So why continue this method when there is a more humane and effective method? It is so sad that we as humans are charged with looking after the best interest of God’s creatures and yet we allow this type of treatment when there is an alternative. I ask that you consider putting the best interest of these innocent animals over issues such as convenience and training. Wouldn’t we as humans expect to be treated with the same compassion and consideration? Sometimes I think humans forget that animals feel physical and emotional pain and suffering. Should we not chose to alleviate such pain and suffering when there is a choice? I think the answer is clear.

  16. You can tell the worth of a society by the way that it takes care of those who cannot take care of themselves!!!!!

  17. We have a responsiblity to manage pet overpopulaton as humanely as possible. The gas chamber is inhumane and unneccessary. We are better than that.

    Let’s also inact spay/neuter laws throughout our state to end unintended breeding and the burden it creates on our society. Let’s reduce the number of pets that ever get to animal control in the first place!

  18. This just makes me sick ! this is awful and needs to be stopped .I think all Goverment officals need to watch these awful videos or see it in person and I bet the laws would change asap .We are dealng with Ignorant people who don`t care at all.

  19. Watching various videos of this procedure not only brought tears to my eyes but it disgusted me. As a pet owner I am highly disappointed and appauled at how these animals are treated. I cannot understand why people get upset when other people or animals mistreat/kill them in a brutal way but we feel we have the right to take the lives of innocent animals. People are ignorant and need to understand the consequences of being irresponsible with their animals. Brutality does not only apply to humans, but all living breathing animals. The procedure of euthenasia in animal shelters and across the nation need to be changed ASAP!

  20. have’nt these animals suffered enough at the hand of our irresponcible society??? Please outlaw this barbaric act!

  21. The gas chamber is cruel and completely inhumane. Humans are so cruel and brutal. It’s amazing we consider ourselves to be so much better than other breathing, living beings on this planet. We are supposed to be compassionate, caring and intelligent, and every day we show how cruel and brutal we are. This is not intelligence; it’s absolute stupidity. It is inexcusable behavior and it must be stopped.

  22. Please stop this inhumane, antiquated practice. If euthanasia is to be done, do it with dignity. STOP THE SUFFERING

  23. PLEASE stop the cruel death of shelter animals by stuffing them in a gas chamber to die! It is MUCH more humane to use the injection if death is what you insist on for stray animals! PLEASE put yourself in their place and do the right thing!

    If you would help us get a spay/neuter law in place, these unnecessary, cruel deaths could be very close to coming to an end! After all, it’s better to SAVE a life than to TAKE a life!

  24. I was horrified to read what occurs, or may occur, when placing animals in the gas chamber. Not only is this method of euthanasia cruel, inhumane and needlessly traumatic for the animals, but must be highly disturbing for the staff. Please BAN the use of gas chambers.

  25. UNTIL MANKIND CAN EXTEND THE CIRCLE OF HIS COMPASSION TO INCLUDE ALL LIVING THINGS, HE WILL NEVER HIMSELF, KNOW PEACE (BY Albert Schweitzer). To our Dept of Agriculture: Pls change the rules and the type of euthanasia by which we dispose of “societies irresponsibility”. Thank you for re-evaulating our principles. Jacqueline Flood 140 Bambams Ln, Boone, NC

  26. As a board member of AARF, the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation, in Winston-Salem, NC, I am encouraged that a movement has been started, and hopefully will end with the banning of the use of gas chambers for euthanizing animals. What a horrible way to die! One need only imaging the terror of being placed in a gas chamber and the struggle to survive that follows.

    It breaks my heart that this kind of death must be experienced by innocent animals whose only problem is that no one wants them!

    Janice Freeman

  27. There is no good excuse for the use of the gas chamber to euthanize our community animals, period. Furthermore, there is no humane rationale to use such a barbaric means of ending a life in modern times. And to those that do not see the cruelty and needless suffering that often occurs by this euthanasia method, their spirits must be empty and lifeless at the core. Ultimately, all life deserves a chance to live; no less, granted a gentle and peaceful passing surrounded by care and concern. To allow the Gas Chamber to continue as a community/county operation to destroy life that stands helpless and voiceless at the mercy of human residents reflects poorly on the integrity, morality, compassion, and good of its locality. Seemingly, society is standing still and displaying primitive mentalities; However, primitive societies had an excuse…ignorance and minimal means for survival. Ignorance can no longer be an acceptable excuse today, nor do we need to fight off dinosaurs any longer to sustain life at a fundamental level. So, what is the motivation for upholding gas chambers or gas euthanasia when there are humane methods at hand?

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