Commend Improvements to Euthanasia Procedures


Target: Jim Sides, Chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners

Goal: Applaud efforts to reduce euthanasia in animal shelters

Commissioners in Rowan County, North Carolina, have voted to eliminate the use of gas chambers for pet euthanasia in county-operated animal shelters. In a unanimous vote, they also decided to move toward “no-kill” shelters, where a greater emphasis is put on rehabilitating and re-homing pets in their care. The county will soon exclusively use the more-humane lethal injection method of euthanasia where necessary, such as in the cases of sick, aggressive, or feral animals.

A lethal injection takes, on average, two minutes to euthanize a pet, whereas a gas chamber filled with carbon monoxide or dioxide can take up to 20. Injections allow a more peaceful death, as attendants are present to comfort the animal in their last moments, and are also significantly less costly. At half the cost of a gas chamber, it frees up funds to be used elsewhere in county shelter budgets.

The county will be working to reduce euthanasia altogether, moving to “no-kill” shelters that will not kill adoptable pets, but only ill or dangerous ones. Under the new rules, county shelters will aim for a 90% adoption rate. A veterinarian will be appointed by the county to spay or neuter all adopted animals in hopes of reducing unwanted pets in the future.

These decisions will not only end unnecessary suffering of animals, but also increase the effectiveness of animal shelters throughout the county. Commend Rowan County’s efforts to make euthanasia more humane and less prevalent.


Dear Jim Sides, Chairman, Rowan County Board of Commissioners,

Recently, Rowan County commissioners voted to phase out the euthanasia of pets in gas chambers in favor of the more humane lethal injection method. Not only does injection take only a fraction of the time to euthanize a pet, but it allows animals the comfort of a human companion during their final moments. Injection is also less costly than gas methods, freeing up funds for other shelter necessities.

The plan also seeks to reduce euthanasia altogether by moving to “no-kill” shelters which put a greater focus on finding every adoptable pet a home. These shelters, where animals are only euthanized if ill or dangerous, see a 90% adoption rate, on average. Furthermore, veterinarians will be appointed to spay or neuter all adopted animals, reducing unwanted pets in the future.

This decision will lessen the suffering of euthanized animals while also ensuring that every healthy animal in the county shelter system is given a chance to find a good home. I commend your efforts to improve the animal welfare standards of your county.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Galawebdesign via Creative Commons

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