NC House Judiciary Committee Votes No to Pro-Gas Chamber Bill

Update May 13: The Judiciary II Committee in the North Carolina House has said no to a pro-gas chamber bill. By a vote of 7-5, the committee killed the bill. It is now dead for this session. This is thanks to your faxes, emails and calls.

For more on this bill, H.B. 27, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.

gas chamberUpdate May 7: The North Carolina House Agriculture Committee has voted to pass HB 27. 

The original bill was re-written, and the final language was withheld from the public until after the vote. Go here for a copy.

The secrecy was probably to limit protests. This bill now sanctions the use of CO gas for killing all shelter animals. In fact, use of CO gas chambers is now one of 2 methods that must be used in killing shelter animals. CO gas chambers would be elevated by HB 27 as not only an acceptable means of killing shelter animals but one sanctioned and even preferred by the state. This bill will mean it is less likely that North Carolina shelters will stop using gas chambers. 

The other method of euthanasia allowed is intravenous or intraperitoneal injection of sodium pentobarbital or an equivalent drug.  

HB 27 does not indicate one method is preferred over the other, meaning the state would sanction both equally. Even the AVMA and NCVMA recognize lethal injection is the humane, preferred alternative.  

It is not clear why proponents bothered to pass the bill other than to ensure the continued availability of CO gas chambers. The bill does nothing for animals and makes no changes regarding other methods of killing that are not already addressed by the state Dept. of Agriculture rules regarding euthanasia. The bill also does not improve upon or make changes in the use of CO gas chambers that is not already required by the rules.

Under HB 27 a veterinarian, certified euthanasia technician or a probationary CET working under the supervision of a veterinarian, has complete discretion to choose the method of killing: CO gas chambers or lethal injection.  A log must be kept of the method of killing used for each animal, the identity of the person performing the killing and the reason for the particular method.  

This move to entrench the use of CO gas chambers by public shelters should probably come as no surprise. Ralph Houser, DVM, manufactures gas chambers and also sells them to North Carolina shelters and instructs them on their use. He sits on the North Carolina Animal Rabies Control Association.  For more on Houser, go here.  Houser together with North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, Farm Bureau, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the state Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, worked on HB 27 to assure the continuation of CO gas chambers in North Carolina’s animal shelters. 


There is an anti-gas chamber bill, Davie’s Law, that has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Hoyle as SB 199.  The bill is stalled, however, and it is important that you contact Sen. Hoyle and urge him to keep his campaign promise and pass the bill he has introduced, S.B. 199, Davie’s Law.  Go here for more.  Act now because the bill must pass the Senate before the May 14 crossover date!

Also, HB 27 now goes to the Judiciary II Committee. There will be a vote on this bill shortly before the May 14 crossover date so act now! PLEASE write and call the members of the and ask them to OPPOSE House Bill 27.  


Rep. Blue 919-733-5752 Attorney, Wake


Vice Chairman

Rep. Glazier  919-733-5601  Attorney, Cumberland

Vice Chairman


Rep. Love  919-715-3026  Attorney, Harnett and Lee

Vice Chairman


Rep. Weiss    919-715-3010  Attorney, Wake


Rep. Blackwell  919-733-5805   Attorney, Burke

Rep. Bordsen  919-733-5820  Attorney, Alamance

Rep. Burr  919-733-5908  Montgomery, Stanly, Union

Rep. Crawford  919-733-5824  Granville, Vance

Rep. Folwell  919-733-5787  Forsyth

Rep. Hurley  919-733-5865  Randolph

Rep. Jackson 919-733-5974   Attorney, Wake

Rep. Johnson 919-733-5861   Cabarrus

Rep. Jones  919-733-5825  Guilford

Rep. Moore  919-733-4838   Attorney, Cleveland

Rep. Parmon  919-733-5829  Forsyth

Rep. Rhyne  919-733-5782  Attorney, Lincoln

Rep. Spear  919-715-3029    Chowan, Dare, Hyde, Washington

Email all committee members at once:,,,,,,%20Jim.Crawford@ncleg.net,,,,,,,,,,

Find all North Carolina Assembly members here including your own if you live in the state. Write or call and urge them to vote NO on HB 27.     

Fax, call or email Gov. Bev Perdue and urge her to oppose HB 27. During her campaign for governor last year, she said she opposed the use of CO gas chambers. Go here for more …..

Original report: Dog and catThere are 2 bills pending in the North Carolina legislature concerning euthanasia of shelter animals: One is Davie’s Law, S.B. 199, supported by Animal Law Coalition, American Humane Association, ASPCA, National Animal Control Association, In Defense of Animals, Born Free USA, HSUS and dozens of North Carolina animal welfare groups, shelters, and veterinarians.

Thousands of citizens and dozens of legislators have already endorsed Davie’s Law, S.B. 199. 

The other bill is H.B. 27.

Let North Carolina legislators know that you prefer Davie’s Law, S.B. 199.

Here’s why Davie’s Law is the much better bill:  

Unlike Davie’s Law, H.B. 27 endorses and supports use of CO gas chambers in North Carolina shelters for all animals.  It leaves shelter workers exposed to dangerous CO gas. Attached for downloading is a compilation of inspection reports that show shelter workers are and have been exposed to dangerous CO gas from leaking or malfunctioning animal gas chambers in North Carolina. There have also been explosions.

Exposure even to low levels of CO gas can mean blurred vision, headaches, tinnitus, nausea, mental illness or impairment, convulsions, muscle spasms, cancer, cardiovascular disease and death.  A summary of studies is attached below and can be downloaded.

Why should the state continue to allow their use at all?   

CO gas chambers are considered so inhumane and so unsafe for workers that they are illegal in several states and used by few public shelters around the country. In North Carolina 64 counties use lethal injection.  

Proponents of gassing say it is necessary for aggressive, diseased or distressed animals, but obviously most shelters euthanize them without CO gas. 

The AVMA and NCVMA have no studies to prove CO gas chambers are humane when used in public shelters.

Indeed, the suffering of animals dying in a gas chamber has been documented by NC inspectors. There are numerous reports of animals suffering as they die in gas chambers. Some animals have even survived this ghastly process only to be gassed again. No one can say it is not a painful, cruel death. The AVMA’s  2007 Euthanasia report acknowledges that until there is sufficient build up of gas in the lungs, animals experience a great deal of agitation: "distress vocalization (this means barking, crying, howling), struggling, attempts to escape, defensive or redirected aggression, salivation, urination, defecation" and more.   The AVMA report states in mammals, meaning dogs and cats, it may take longer to lose consciousness.

Gas chambers in NC do not use a gauge to measure the level of CO. Without a gauge, it is impossible to know when or if the animals lose consciousness or the suffering they endure until then.

There is no reason for such danger and cruelty in our public shelters.

Also, a cost study of euthanasia in North Carolina shelters establishes euthanasia by injection is not only safer for workers and humane for animals, it is cheaper. (The study is attached below for downloading.) Why continue the use of costly animal gas chambers?  


10 thoughts on “NC House Judiciary Committee Votes No to Pro-Gas Chamber Bill”

  1. Garo Alexenian is going around telling everyone HB 27 is a great bill that “addresses” gas chambers. I was shocked when i read the bill to see it promotse gas chambers for all animals. I don’t understand why Garo is misrepresenting the bill to us. It’s frustrating to know with this bill, Garo and Bill Reppy have made things worse for animals in our state. Ted

  2. Garo is an idiot. He and Reppy have huge egos and just want credit for passing a bill. But the bill is for the gas chambers so they lie about what the bill actually says. The Ag people and NVMA are to blame too.

  3. Just to clarify, Prof. Reppy has said he did not draft this version of HB 27.

  4. But I hear that this Reppy guy supports the bill, and told someone that he wrote it.

  5. On this Garo Alexanian’s “Companion Animal TV Network” website, he asks for money for his North Carolina gas chamber effort. How many people have given him money to inadvertently push the bill that SUPPORTS gas chambers?

  6. Yes, Garo is clearly telling people HB 27 “addresses” the gas chamber issue and implies that the bill restricts their use when, in fact, the bill sanctions and entrenches the use of the gas chamber in NC for all animals.

  7. From Peter MacQueen:  

    To: Members of Judiciary II Committee

    Please vote no on H 27 to stop a state sanction for Carbon Monoxide gas chambers.

    Gas chambers have been proven to be cruel and inhumane.  The sponsors of H27 originally called for a gas chamber ban. However, they are  now seeking a legislative endorsement of gassing.  Why in one session have H 27 sponsors moved from seeking a ban on gassing to seeking legislative approval??  The people of the state do not want the legislature to give an endorsement to a cruel method of killing animals.

    Listed below are issues and problems contained in the "new" version of H 27

    ( Proposed Committee Substitute) :

    1. H -27 asks for legislative approval of carbon monoxide gas chambers. 15 or more states have made gassing illegal. NC must not sanction a method of killing that is illegal anywhere.

    2. Neither the NC Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, nor the Department of Agriculture have submitted any scientific proof to support their claim that gassing is humane. In fact, the NCVMA has done no studies on the subject. The AVMA has done no studies on euthanasia in an animal control environment. The studies to which the AVMA refers are limited in number, carried out in a "laboratory" and the results are inconclusive. Those studies were not done under the supervision of the AVMA and some were done outside of the US.

    3. H-27 misrepresents carbon monoxide gas by listing it as an  equal to euthanasia by injection. This is false and misleading. Both the NCVMA and the AVMA, as well as the Humane Society of the US, the National Animal Control Association, and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals all state that Injection euthanasia is more humane and preferable to carbon monoxide gas. That information is being withheld.

    a. The bill’s language does not identify gassing as a second choice method and a method that is only conditionally acceptable.

    4. H-27 seeks to eliminate two long time friends of the state from the NC Statutes. They are the Humane Society of the United States and the American Humane Association. These highly regarded national organizations continue to offer great assistance to the state and should remain in the statutes for reference purposes. Their removal is part of the  Department of Agriculture’s  plan to take absolute control of all matters related to euthanasia. This plan includes eliminating oversight and accountability.

    5. The Department of Agriculture has joined in writing this bill and seeks to weaken the directives and responsibilities assigned to it by the legislature. H 27 seeks to do this by changing the language in SECTION 1. G.S. 19A-24(5) .

    The changes include replacing the instruction "shall" with "may". This creates the opportunity of a choice as opposed to complying with the legislative directive that the Dept. "shall" take certain actions. This seriously weakens the Animal Welfare Act.

    a. Ex. — An animal ( shall – may) only be put to death by a method and delivery of method ….

    b. Ex. — The Department shall may establish rules for the euthanasia14 process ….

    6. The Department of Agriculture seeks to establish absolute authority regarding euthanasia procedures and to eliminate standards and mandatory guidelines.

    H-27 will allow the Ag. Dept. to ignore the recognized expert guidelines on euthanasia currently referenced in NC Statutes. This will place absolute authority for the administration of companion animal euthanasia in the hands of the Dept. of Agriculture. This will be a dangerous action. Organizations that are in the statutes for the purpose of providing euthanasia guidelines will be eliminated  The Department of Agriculture does not employ individuals qualified for the task.

       a. SECTION 1. G.S. 19A-24(5) –Tricky Language change — " animals – may) only be put to death by a method and delivery of method approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association, but only if this Article and the rules adopted by the Board are silent as to any necessary or required procedure or process for animal euthanasia. This will place 100% control in the hands of the Dept. of Agriculture.

    ( HSUS and AHA have been eliminated)

       a. It will be dangerous to vest absolute authority for humane euthanasia in the hands of the Department of Agriculture. That department does not employ a single euthanasia expert. It is important to note that the Department of Agriculture does not have any euthanasia guidelines similar to the AVMA, HSUS, or AHA.

    7. H-27 seeks to have North Carolina pets sold for research purposes rather than be euthanized. A humane death is preferable to the stress, pain, and suffering the pets will endure as research subjects.

    Serious flaws exist in H-27. If passed H-27 will condone the cruel killing of animals with the state’s approval !!! 

    It will also allow the Department of Agriculture to revise and weaken the instructions given to it by the legislature in the Animal Welfare Act.

    The language and intent of H 27 directly contradicts  the objectives of the Animal Welfare Act.

    Please stop H-27 before it is too late. Vote no on H-27.


  8. This has been an exhausting, roller coaster ride of a legislative session. I hope that all of the people who sent emails and made calls will work together now to end this locally.

  9. It is very important to use both internet and handwritten letters to the North Carolina legislature. For the love of God please sign my Internet Petition:

    If any member of the house/senate has a business that kills animals in such a manner and they voted against the ban of gas chambers, please file an ethics violation complaint so this may be investigated as conflict of interest for voting for self serving purposes so that it may be investigated.

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