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Politics & Government

Drowning and Gassing Cats & Dogs Would Be Illegal

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Legislation prohibiting the use of  drowning and carbon-monoxide gassing to euthanize cats, dogs and other animals in Pennsylvania awaits Governor Corbett's signature. 

State Senator Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) first introduced the bill in March 2011, and again in October 2011 with provisions from House members.   Pennsylvania would be with 20th state to adopt a ban on animal gas chambers and individual gassing or drowning of animals.

Dinniman said Pennsylvania’s current Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law, makes it permissible to hook an enclosed bin with animals inside to a hose coming from an automobile’s exhaust. 

“Under 1983 law, what you could do as an individual was to put dogs in a bin, drive your car to that bin, attach the hose of your car to the bin, and do in those animals that are inside that bin,” Dinniman said.

Dinniman said the gassing process is “inhumane” and can take up to 40 minutes to put down the animals.

The House sponsor, Representative John Maher (R-Allegheny), who chairs the Animal Protection Caucus in the legislature, said there are shelters across Pennsylvania that the public may think that "all will end well" when they’re bringing in their animal. But Maher said shelters have capacity problems "and there are a fair number of shelters that find themselves needing to euthanize animals.  But we believe those ends should be humane and painless."

Maher said the idea is to move away from carbon monoxide gas chambers "where animals are executed sometimes in groups, sometimes unsuccessfully and to ensure that the FDA-prescribed drugs for animal euthanasia are the standard of Pennsylvania and they are administered by those who know how to administer them, either veterinarians and veterinary technicians or other technicians who are specifically trained to kindly care for the animals at the end," Maher said.