Thursday, March 12, 2009
The two light coloured dogs are from Quebec and the two black dogs are from Ohio (I'm told that black dogs sometimes have a hard time getting adopted in the States which is why a lot of the dogs TAS rescues from Ohio are black). Both Ohio and Quebec are states/provinces in North America which still have pounds using gas chambers to kill abandoned dogs.
This is unacceptable. You'd think the people responsible for overseeing the killing of perfectly good dogs would have enough compassion to at least make sure their death sentences are carried out in the most humane way possible as opposed to the easiest way possible because, you see, it's a lot easier to pile a whole bunch of dogs into a gas chamber and flip a switch and have them asphyxiate on carbon monoxide than it is to have to do individual injections.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause extreme physical anguish in the form of headaches, nausea, convulsions. I mean, hell, the dogs are asphyxiating for fuck's sake. Maybe the lucky ones "fall asleep" first and then die while the unlucky ones, the stronger ones, experience what must amount to someone sticking plastic bags over their heads and tying the bags tight around their throats.
Supporters of using gas chambers to kill dogs say that all the disparaging talk against carbon monoxide poisoning is just misinformation. They claim it's painless and quick.
They keep the dogs in the gas chamber for 40 minutes. That doesn't sound like a quick death to me. And sometimes, dogs make it out alive only to be put through the procedure again the following kill session.
Supporters of using gas chambers claim that the dogs drift off and don't experience any discomfort. That's obviously bullshit and you know why I know that's bullshit?
Because gas isn't used to kill people.
In assisted suicides, who would ever condone the use of gas as the preferred method of death? Or in those states that still have the death penalty, when does anyone ever get sent to the gas chamber? These things don't happen because death by gas carries with it a high probability of being tortuous.
Once again, it's asphyxiation for fuck's sake. I don't know of any air breathing creature that asphyxiates to death gracefully.
Anyway, a lot has already been written about this and here's some of it.
This is an old one posted up by some anonymous person on craigslist. Hell, I wouldn't want to sign my name to it either.
Yes, I Gas Dogs and Cats for a Living. I'm an Animal Control officer in a very small town in central North Carolina. I'm in my mid thirties, and have been working for the town in different positions since high school.
There is not much work here, and working for the county provides good pay and benefits for a person like me without a higher education. I'm the person you all write about how horrible I am.
I'm the one that gasses the dogs and cats and makes them suffer. I'm the one that pulls their dead corpses out smelling of Carbon Monoxide and throws them into green plastic bags. But I'm also the one that hates my job and hates what I have to do.
First off, all you people out there that judge me, don't. God is judging me, and I know I'm going to Hell. Yes, I'm going to hell. I wont lie, it's despicable, cold, cruel and I feel like a serial killer. I'm not all to blame, if the law would mandate spay and neuter, lots of these dogs and cats wouldn't be here for me to gas. I'm the devil, I know it, but I want you people to see that there is another side to me the devil Gas Chamber man.
The shelter usually gasses on Friday morning.
Friday's are the day that most people look forward to, this is the day that I hate, and wish that time will stand still on Thursday night. Thursday night, late, after nobody's around, my friend and I go through a fast food line, and buy 50 dollars worth of cheeseburgers and fries, and chicken. I'm not allowed to feed the dogs on Thursday, for I'm told that they will make a mess in the gas chamber, and why waste the food.
So, Thursday night, with the lights still closed, I go into the saddest room that anyone can every imagine, and let all the doomed dogs out out their cages.
I have never been bit, and in all my years doing this, the dogs have never fought over the food. My buddy and I, open each wrapper of cheeseburger and chicken sandwich, and feed them to the skinny, starving dogs.
They swallow the food so fast, that I don't believe they even taste it. There tails are wagging, and some don't even go for the food, they roll on their backs wanting a scratch on their bellys. They start running, jumping and kissing me and my buddy. They go back to their food, and come back to us. All their eyes are on us with such trust and hope, and their tails wag so fast, that I have come out with black and blues on my thighs.. They devour the food, then it's time for them to devour some love and peace. My buddy and I sit down on the dirty, pee stained concrete floor, and we let the dogs jump on us. They lick us, they put their butts in the air to play, and they play with each other. Some lick each other, but most are glued on me and my buddy.
I look into the eyes of each dog. I give each dog a name.
They will not die without a name.
I give each dog 5 minutes of unconditional love and touch.
I talk to them, and tell them that I'm so sorry that tomorrow they will die a gruesome, long, torturous death at the hands of me in the gas chamber.
Some tilt their heads to try to understand.
I tell them, that they will be in a better place, and I beg them not to hate me.
I tell them that I know I'm going to hell, but they will all be playing with all the dogs and cats in heaven.
After about 30 minutes, I take each dog individually, into their feces filled concrete jail cell, and pet them and scratch them under their chins. Some give me their paw, and I just want to die. I just want to die. I close the jail cell on each dog, and ask them to forgive me. As my buddy and I are walking out, we watch as every dog is smiling at us and them don't even move their heads. They will sleep, with a full belly, and a false sense of security.
As we walk out of the doomed dog room, my buddy and I go to the cat room.
We take our box, and put the very friendly kittens and pregnant cats in our box.
The shelter doesn't keep tabs on the cats, like they do the dogs.
As I hand pick which cats are going to make it out, I feel like I'm playing God, deciding whose going to live and die.
We take the cats into my truck, and put them on blankets in the back.
Usually, as soon as we start to drive away, there are purring cats sitting on our necks or rubbing against us.
My buddy and I take our one way two hour trip to a county that is very wealthy and they use injection to kill animals.
We go to exclusive neighborhoods, and let one or two cats out at a time.
They don't want to run, they want to stay with us. We shoo them away, which makes me feel sad.
I tell them that these rich people will adopt them, and if worse comes to worse and they do get put down, they will be put down with a painless needle being cradled by a loving veterinarian. After the last cat is free, we drive back to our town.
It's about 5 in the morning now, about two hours until I have to gas my best friends.
I go home, take a shower, take my 4 anti-anxiety pills and drive to work.. I don't eat, I can't eat. It's now time, to put these animals in the gas chamber. I put my ear plugs in, and when I go to the collect the dogs, the dogs are so excited to see me, that they jump up to kiss me and think they are going to play.
I put them in the rolling cage and take them to the gas chamber. They know. They just know. They can smell the death.. They can smell the fear. They start whimpering, the second I put them in the box. The boss tells me to squeeze in as many as I can to save on gas. He watches. He knows I hate him, he knows I hate my job. I do as I'm told. He watches until all the dogs, and cats (thrown in together) are fighting and screaming. The sounds is very muffled to me because of my ear plugs. He walks out, I turn the gas on, and walk out.
I walk out as fast as I can. I walk into the bathroom, and I take a pin and draw blood from my hand. Why? The pain and blood takes my brain off of what I just did.
In 40 minutes, I have to go back and unload the dead animals. I pray that none survived, which happens when I overstuff the chamber. I pull them out with thick gloves, and the smell of carbon monoxide makes me sick. So does the vomit and blood, and all the bowel movements. I pull them out, put them in plastic bags.
They are in heaven now, I tell myself. I then start cleaning up the mess, the mess, that YOU PEOPLE are creating by not spay or neutering your animals. The mess that YOU PEOPLE are creating by not demanding that a vet come in and do this humanely. You ARE THE TAXPAYERS, DEMAND that this practice STOP!
So, don't call me the monster, the devil, the gasser, call the politicians, the shelter directors, and the county people the devil. Heck, call the governor, tell him to make it stop.
As usual, I will take sleeping pills tonight to drown out the screams I heard in the past, before I discovered the ear plugs. I will jump and twitch in my sleep, and I believe I'm starting to hallucinate.
This is my life. Don't judge me. Believe me, I judge myself enough.
I don't agree with everything that was written in the previous craigslist posting, especially the part about blaming the public for the infernal workings of a shelter, because sometimes the buck does indeed stop with the shelter management. However, the post does give a realistic emotional impression of what it's like to have a job that involves killing cats and dogs - at least that's what the shelter staff I know tell me.
This next one is a recent e-mail from Nicole Joncas who runs Teja's Animal Refuge. Nicole is currently suing the Quebec government for not upholding its own animal cruelty laws.
We know that puppy mills is a whole big issue. The breeding dogs live a hell from birth to death. We know that puppy mills sell their pups to pet stores.
What becomes of the puppies or kittens that don't sell and they get too big for their cages. They are brought out the back door where they meet their death by ax, mallet, bucket, or whatever instrument of death is handy.
We know that consumers buy the pups, and living in the buy and trash society that we do, what becomes of the pup who didn't turn out to be the perfect porcelaine dog that they wanted. These dogs are either brought to the vet's to be euthanized. Others are brought to the SPCA, the Humane Society or to the dog pound.
It's a know fact, that pure bred intact pound dogs are sold to puppy mills. Others are sold to laboratories, and the rest are sent into the gas chamber to gasp to death. From the puppy mill, to the pet store, to the dog pound, money is the common denominator, and pain and suffering is a given.
The dog pound where I'm getting dogs out, has a major problem of location. A Montreal rescue has gotten 20 dogs out. Most of them have kennel cough, and other health issues. It is north east of Montreal. Many rescues from the Toronto area have offered to take these dogs.
Getting them there is a major problem. Ideally we need a holding place to put the pound dogs closer to the 20 or the 401 to give the Toronto rescues an easier way to get them.
This dog pound has a contract with a breeder who brings his dogs that are no longer useful to him to be gassed. Two nights ago we took an 8 month old Great Dane pup that had been brought to be gassed because he was too fearful. What did they do to him in his short life of 8 months to have to put him to death. Luckily a rescue in Montreal took him, and they're working with him.
I'm asking everyone to please work together to help us find a solution to facilitate moving these pitiful creatures. I am also looking into who has the mandate to oversee dog pounds. I'm afraid that it's most likely Anima Quebec? Some of you have received pictures of their incarceration. Not a pretty sight. Please help us find a solution. I'm hoping that the new committee that the Ministry of Agriculture has formed will take into account the tragic situation of pound dogs. If there's a solution, please let me know.
Please cross post.
Yours in rescue, Nicole Joncas
And finally, from Nathan Winograd's blog, this post, Did Wilkes County Dogs Get Gassed?
With the uproar over the Wilkes County massacre focusing on the systematic and needless killing of the 145 dogs and puppies, and the Humane Society of the United State’s shameless defense of it, there hasn’t been a lot of commentary on the cruel way the dogs probably died. Did the Wilkes County dogs get gassed? Except for the really young puppies, according to testimony at a County Commission meeting, the answer is probably, yes.
The Wilkes County NC shelter which was the sight of the massacre is back in the news—defending the carbon monoxide gas chamber to kill animals, even as employees there have admitted that when they use carbon monoxide, it isn’t “a pretty sight, with animals scratching and trying to get out.”
Despite testimony from a veterinarian that animals put in gas chambers “endure more trauma and pain than necessary to end their lives,” the Director of the Wilkes County shelter not only defended the use of gas, but he defended shooting animals, and claimed (erroneously) that it takes upwards of five minutes after lethal injection for animals to stop breathing.
A “relatively painless” death can only occur in an environment where sensitivity, compassion, and skill, combine with efforts to minimize distress and anxiety. By contrast, gas systems take time to kill—during which animals experience distress and anxiety, and can struggle to survive. They can result in animals surviving the gassing, only to suffer even more. They are designed for the ease of shelter workers, not care and compassion for the animals.
You can read the rest of it here.
I feel I have to apologize for this post. I hate writing about euthanasia. I hope I didn't wreck your sleep tonight.
Update on Luna here.