Proos bill bans Cass, Berrien animal shelter gas chambers

Published 4:59 pm Thursday, September 12, 2013

LANSING — Legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos that would ban the use of gas chambers for the purpose of euthanizing companion animals in shelters was unanimously approved by the Michigan Senate on Thursday.

“Ideally, every cat and dog would be adopted by a caring family. Unfortunately, we cannot insure that all pets will find homes and some animals are put down,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Putting to sleep a family pet is a heartbreaking choice that is made easier knowing that the process will be a peaceful and pain-free one. This measure would insure that every animal is treated in this humane way.”

Senate Bill 354 would stop the practice of euthanizing shelter animals in gas chambers.

County shelters in Berrien, Branch, Cass and Van Buren re the only four shelters in Michigan that still have operating gas chambers and are using them to euthanizing animals.

“There will be no cost to these shelters for closing their gas chambers and changing to euthanasia by injection, because animal rights groups will be covering it,” Proos said. “Organizations like the Michigan Humane Society have been offering grants for a long time to the counties that still use gas chambers. These funds will be used to decommission the chambers, dispose of carbon monoxide and train staff to give the euthanasia shot.”

The use of gas chambers to euthanize small animals is regarded as a dangerous and inhumane practice and has been abandoned by most Michigan counties and at least 20 states.

The American Veterinarian Medical Association recommends euthanasia by injection because it is a more reliable, humane and cost-effective approach to euthanizing pets than gas chambers.

SB 354 was approved 37-0 in the Senate and has been sent to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.