Humane Society of Utah responds to Sandy City Council vote

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Sandy City gas chamber meeting pic

MURRAY, UT (Sept. 2, 2015) -- Sandy City Animal Services receives support from the HSU to remove gas chamber


In an impassioned Sandy City Council meeting Sept. 1 at Sandy City Hall, Sandy, Utah, a unanimous vote was given to remove the carbon monoxide (CO) gas chamber from Sandy City Animal Services. The Humane Society of Utah (HSU), Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), animal welfare workers and volunteers, and concerned Sandy City residents were in attendance to show their support for ending euthanasia in gas chambers for all animals. The gas chamber is scheduled to be removed by Dec. 31, 2015.


Euthanasia by injection (EBI) is the preferred method for animal euthanasia and is used by the majority of animal shelters across the country. There are less than three dozen shelters that still utilize a gas chamber in the U.S., eight of which are in Utah.


“I attended the meeting and felt grateful to see so many people there to show their support of Sandy City Animal Services in their consideration of this transition to remove the gas chamber and use EBI only,” said Deann Shepherd, HSU representative. “People weren’t there to criticize anyone for using the gas chamber – we know everyone is doing the best they can with what they have; they were there to show support to improve the work done by animal control officers. It’s a matter of having better equipment and training to safely handle fractious animals and we want Sandy City Animal Services to know they aren’t alone, they have a lot of people willing to help in the community.”


Grant money to purchase needed equipment was offered by the Humane Society of the United States, Sandy City resident and American Dog Rescue Founder Arthur Benjamin, and an anonymous donor. Utah Animal Control Officers Association President Justin Hatch has invited newly hired Sandy City animal control officers to attend EBI training Sept. 18.


The HSU and HSUS have been working together to pass legislation banning the use of CO gas chambers statewide. With the support of other animal organizations and rescues, they hope to work with the remaining seven shelters still using gas chambers in Utah to provide the training, education and support they need to voluntarily transition EBI only.


“Any objection to making the transition to EBI only is not sustained in this present day,” Shepherd said. “There have been advances in research on animal physiology and psychology over the past 50 years to support practicing the most humane method of euthanasia for every animal. Using EBI is cheaper, faster, safer and employees actually have less compassion fatigue knowing they are doing what is best for the animal. Many people who have experience using both gas chambers and EBI came to speak at the Sandy City Council to confirm these points.”


The Humane Society of Utah would like to thank Councilwoman Kris Nicholl for her efforts and the Sandy City Council for making this important decision. “Sandy City’s decision will hopefully set an example to the other remaining facilities that use a gas chamber,” Shepherd said. “Animal shelters and rescue organizations have the same goal – to reduce overpopulation and needless euthanasia in the first place, but when euthanasia is necessary, it should be done in the most humane method possible.”