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Residents mobilize to end gas chamber deaths for shelter animals

Local News

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A group of Taylorsville residents is pushing the city council to stop contracting animal services with West Valley City whose shelter still performs euthanasia by gas chamber.

“It’s inhumane,” said Taylorsville resident Dede Minardi, who is also executive director of Community Animal Welfare Society. 

“There’s no reason West Valley still needs to have a gas chamber,” added Minardi.

Layne Morris is the director of the West Valley City Community Preservation Department, and he says the city doesn’t have any plans to change its euthanization procedures. Usually, he says, their no-kill shelter euthanizes about 6 percent of the animals it takes in; of the roughly 150 animals euthanized, Morris says about 10 percent are euthanized in a chamber every year.

“The chamber is an excellent, excellent tool for providing animals that we have to send to the other side a stress-free and compassionate euthanasia process,” said Morris.

Currently, the Taylorsville City Council is considering what to do. A spokesperson for the city says it is up to the council to decide the future which some concerned citizens think should include contracting with Salt Lake County.

Morris says in some cases, it is more humane to euthanize an animal in a chamber.

“Some of these folks seem to think that the animals understand that they’re going into a gas chamber, and say to themselves, oh no, this is just like Nazi Germany. And you know, some of those folks, there’s just no dealing with them, and they don’t want to learn — they don’t want to know,” said Morris.

Deann Shepherd is the spokesperson for the Utah Humane Society.

“Many people have seen euthanasia by injection if they’ve seen their pet being put down. But has anybody seen what a gas chamber can do? And it’s not humane. It takes a lot longer for the animal to expire,” said Shepherd.

“We don’t know how long it will take until it affects them, if at all. There are actually some animals that have survived,” added Shepherd.

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