N.C. Euthanasia Regulations Go Into Effect

Last year animal welfare supporters throughout North Carolina called for a legislative review of proposed rules governing euthanasia of dogs and cats at animal shelters in the state.

The proposed rules have now become effective. 

A non-profit animal welfare organization, the North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia,  opposed what it called "last-minute changes" made by Department of Agriculture officials that took "the teeth out of regulations originally intended to ensure the humane treatment of homeless animals."  The rules can be found online by clicking here.

A state law passed in 2005 required the Department of Agriculture to establish standards for the care of animals at animal shelters, boarding kennels, pet shops, and public auctions.  The law also required that the department adopt rules on the euthanasia of animals and mandate training for any person who participates in the process.  This law can be viewed online by clicking here. 

Two years later, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture released a proposed set of regulations. 

Animal gas chamberThousands of North Carolina citizens responded by submitting verbal and written testimony in opposition to the inhumane and dangerous practice of gassing animals for euthanasia. 

The Agriculture Department later published a new draft of proposed rules that required a phase out of the gas chamber by 2012. 

However, the final version of the rules removes the phase out requirement and lifts restrictions on the use of the gas chambers for sick, injured and geriatric animals. It also eliminates some requirements related to training and certification of euthanasia technicians.

"The Department has violated the public trust by putting one set of rules before the public and then drastically weakening them behind closed doors," said Shari Strader, board member for NCCHE.  "The Agriculture Department must be held accountable for failing to meet its responsibility to the public and its mandate to develop humane euthanasia standards for animals." 

North Carolina residents’ taxes pay for the salaries of state decision makers, as well as funding county shelters and gas chambers. "I don’t think people realize they are footing the bill for the choices that are being made by the Agriculture Department regarding animal welfare issues and euthanasia methods," states Bobbi Parke, animal advocate. "If they only knew half of what is going on in this arena, and that they actually do have a say in choices that are being made for them, they would all immediately contact the Agriculture Department and demand accountability."

The rules also require shelters using gas chambers to purchase new commercial models.  Two North Carolina companies supplying gas chambers to shelters have come under fire, after inspections showed that the machines leaked high levels of carbon monoxide and endangered county employees. 

Dog going to gas chamberAccording to NCCHE, "A quarter of a million cats and dogs are killed in North Carolina animal shelters annually.  While most jurisdictions now utilize modern euthanasia practices, more than 30 county facilities continue to use the gas chamber.  Extreme animal suffering in the gas chamber is well-documented." 

These humane concerns were the catalyst for the original rule making process.

The refusal to include the phase out provision on the use of animal gas chambers in the approximately 1/3 of North Carolina counties that still use them, prompted the filing of Davie’s Law.


5 thoughts on “N.C. Euthanasia Regulations Go Into Effect”

  1. That statement is false and misleading. The “sundown” provision was never approved as a rule. Knowledge about the removal of that provision has been widely available.

    There are enough problems involved with getting benefical animal control rules put into effect in NC. We don’t need to alienate NC officials by falsely accusing them of engaging in a conspiracy.

    An apology should be issued ASAP.

    Peter MacQueen, III

  2. Actually, none of the proposed changes have become enforceable rules. All of these are proposals published for public comment and ongoing consideration by the Board. The sundown provision was included in a second published draft of the proposed rules.  Click here for a timeline in which the NC Board of Agriculture agreed there was a draft of the rules issued in Nov. 2007 with a provision banning gas chambers after Jan. 1 2012

    In fact, David McLeod, assistant commissioner of the NC Bd of Ag, issued a 2/8/08 News Release stating the Board would consider both versions of the proposed rules: "The department developed two versions of the rules, and the public had the opportunity to comment on both of them last year. The board will not hold a public hearing on the rules at this meeting.

    "The board could vote on either version of the rules, or on a combination of the two versions. It is also possible that the board will not take any action on the rules at this meeting."

    As reported by NCCHE and Animal Law Coalition, the Board decided not to include the sunset provision, the ban on gas chambers, in the latest version, or even ban the use of the chamber for significantly ill or injured and old animals as contemplated in both earlier drafts. The Board stripped out other proposed regulations on the use of the chamber as described in this article. 

    Hopefully, your calls and letters will convince the Board to  reinstate the ban on the chamber for significantly ill or injured and old animals and also put back in the proposed rules a ban on the gas chamber as a means of euthanasia after Jan. 1, 2012.  Laura   

  3. Maybe the gas chambers should be used on the mill breeders, the politicians that continue to allow this, and the ignorant throw away society that just perpetuates the overpopulation

  4. This is so sick and so inhumane! I think everyone of the sick idiots should have the same thing done to them as they are doing to these poor animals! This is so sick and I wish all these so called officials would open up their eyes and and maybe see how all these psychos in the world are getting their sick ideas! Most of them start from abusing their poor helpless pets and then they move on to people! Animals should have the same rights they are more helpless than we are and deserve to at least be treated with love and kindness!

    I think any sick psycho out there that hurts any animal should be dealt with in the same manner! It would be the only way to stop them and others from doing the same thing! Why don’t these so called officals pull their heads out of their butts and see they will win more votes if they fight for the animal rights everyone wants so badly and cares so deeply about!

    Put a stop to all these inhumane acts and put the psychos away that do them already!!!

    Makes me so mad to see this crap going on that I myself would like to take care of a few of the people that are doing it!

  5. The bastards who allow such a cruel thing to happen to these innocent animals should die a tortured death and burn in hell… I understand that all of the animals can’t be saved however why should those that can’t be saved be made to suffer? For the love of all things good, someone help put a stop to this. If YOU don’t stop this terrible thing from continuing YOU are just as bad as though who perform the deed. Please find it in your heart to stop this!!!

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