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Editorial: A policy you hate t need

The Rowan County Board of Health voted for openness recently when it approved rules for allowing people to view the animal euthanasia process. The moratorium is lifted, and so is the sense that the public was being shielded from the truth.
This has been a touchier issue than one might have expected just a few years ago. Who would want to watch? And if they for some reason want to, why stop them?
The “who” is a new wave of animal rights’ advocates who want to ensure that animals are killed in a humane way, if such a thing is even possible. And why stop them? Health Director Leonard Wood saw no good that could come from letting the public witness the process, and he feared that such a practice could somehow put his employees at risk.
Wood allowed a Post reporter to watch the process as she worked on a story about animal euthanasia and the debate over lethal injection vs. gas. The viewing brought no great revelation, only sadness. Why do so many animals find themselves homeless and unwanted?
The Board of Health weighed the concerns of Wood and the Animal Shelter staff and set out a clear policy: Only one person may watch at a time. That person must follow safety guidelines; he or she cannot shoot photos or video or be disruptive. And when the process is over, the person is to leave. Period. Fair enough.
We make it too easy for people to turn their backs on the killing of homeless animals. They dump their cats and dogs at the shelter and walk away, not dealing with the consequences. The taxpayers foot the bill for the animals’ last days of care and death. But the alternative to accepting such animals is leaving the owners to deal with them in some other fashion, and that could be worse.
People who care about animals can do so much to promote good care for cats and dogs without laying eyes on a gas chamber or syringe ó adopt animals from the shelter, have pets spayed and neutered and urge others to do the same. Support animal welfare groups. The list goes on.
Now that the viewing issue has been settled, attention should shift to those other, more productive steps. The animals need safe homes and caring owners.

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