Senate passes bill removing gas chamber euthanasia at Utah animal shelters

Local Politics

(ABC4) – A bill that would end gas chamber euthanasia in Utah has passed the Senate and has been introduced in the House.

Utah is one of just four states where a handful of animal shelters are using the method of gas chamber euthanasia, according to the Humane Society of Utah.

Senate Bill 237, sponsored by Senator David Hinkins, passed in the Senate following a 26-0-3 vote on Tuesday.

If passed in the House and signed by Governor Spencer Cox, SB 237 would require Utah animal shelters to use sodium pentobarbital or a derivative “as the exclusive method for euthanasia of an animal.” It could only be administered via an injection.

The bill states that outside of a shelter, “if an animal control officer must euthanize an animal in an emergency situation, the officer shall use the most humane method available.”

You can read the full text of the bill here:

Click the square in the bottom right corner for full screen.

A 2019 report from the Humane Society of Utah says euthanasia by injection is comparable in cost, faster, painless, and safer for personnel compared to gas chamber euthanasia. The carbon monoxide gas used in the gas chambers can be extremely hazardous, toxic, and explosive in high concentrations, the report continues.

A group of Taylorsville residents pushed the city council in 2019 to stop contracting animal services with West Valley City, whose shelter was still performing euthanasia by gas chamber.

This came less than a month after a bill that would have banned Utah shelters from using a gas chamber to euthanize animals made no progress in the legislature. A similar bill failed during the 2018 legislative session.

Another bill in the 2021 Legislative Session, House Bill 386, would impose restrictions on how dogs can be transported in the back of trucks. The bill has been introduced in the House.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...