Animal euthanasia discussed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Officials cite concerns about lethal injection
By Jessie Burchette
CHINA GROVE ó Legislation requiring that unwanted pets be killed by lethal injection could wreak havoc on the the county animal control budget.
Health Director Leonard Wood told county commissioners Tuesday during their retreat at the Tadlock South Rowan Library it would be impossible to do lethal injections with the current staff.
“It would be very, very difficult,” he said.
Ken Deal, county director of administration, recently went to Mecklenburg County to see the lethal injection procedure used there.
“It’s gruesome,” Deal said. Instead of animals being held and stroked in their last moments of life, Deal said they are held down while staff members find a vein to put a needle in.
And in the case of the cats that have gone wild, they are taken from cages, given a shot to sedate them and put back in the cages. After the sedative takes effect, the cat is then given the fatal injection.
The process required three staffers in Mecklenburg.
Deal described cats struggling as they were handled, comparing that to the gassing where several are in the chamber playing in the final moments.
Clai Martin, the county’s animal control supervisor, and N.C. Rep. Fred Steen joined Deal in the trip to the Mecklenburg facility.
Martin is scheduled to speak at a hearing on the issue in Raleigh today.
Wood said the county Health Board hasn’t taken a position but may do so in the next few weeks.
He reiterated his support of using carbon monoxide gas.
Commissioner Raymond Coltrain suggested commissioners may want to contact the legislative delegation and make their concerns known.
Responding to a question from Commissioner Tina Hall, Wood said a state initiative to get veterinarians to provide lower cost spay and neuter service hasn’t worked well in other counties. Wood said the state hasn’t provided the funding.
Hall noted the only real way to get control of the situation is getting more pets spayed and neutered.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.