More than 100,000 cats and dogs are euthanized every year in Texas shelters. Euthanasia by carbon monoxide – essentially a gas chamber – is still common practice in nearly 30 shelters.
Within the last five years, almost 30 Texas cities banned gas chambers, switching from carbon monoxide to lethal injection. Pennsylvania and Louisiana banned gas chambers statewide last year.
This legislative session, Texas Rep. Eddie Lucio III’s House Bill 858 and State Sen. Kirk Watson’s Senate Bill 360 aim to end shelter euthanasia of dogs and cats by carbon monoxide and only allow euthanasia by sodium pentobarbital injection.
The Texas Humane Legislation Network, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Humane Society are animal welfare groups that support both bills.
“There has been a recent nationwide trend to get rid of this outdated method of euthanasia,” says Texas Humane Legislation Network vice-president Shelby Bobosky. “Virtually every shelter agency agrees that euthanasia by injection is the preferred and humane method for euthanasia.”
The group also notes that “because Texas does not require mandatory inspections of shelter gas chambers, the risk to personnel is greater than elsewhere.”
Euthanasia by injection is professionally recommended by every veterinary medical association, animal control association, and humane organization, including the Texas Animal Control Association and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.