• 72°

Rowan Health Board votes to let public view animal euthanasia

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
The Rowan County Board of Health has decided to allow public viewing of animal euthanasia at the county animal shelter.
After imposing a moratorium on public viewing at its April meeting, the board approved a policy last week allowing it as long as six guidelines for ensuring “that appropriate public and staff safety issues are enforced.”
The policy calls for anyone wanting to view the carbon monoxide chamber euthanasia process to submit a request in writing to be approved by the Health Department director. Adequate scheduling time must be allowed to prevent disruption of normal shelter activities.
The purpose of the policy recommended by a subcommittee appointed at the board’s April meeting is “to remain transparent with this process.” The board approved appointing Vice Chairman Rick Parker and members Dan Mikkelson and Dr. Billy Webb to the subcommittee and imposing a temporary moratorium on public viewing until they came back with a recommendation.
Guidelines adopted as part of the policy are:
– Only one member of the public will be allowed to view the euthanasia at any given viewing.
– The individual must adhere to safety instructions provided by the staff.
– No video cameras, still pictures or audio recording devices will be allowed during the process.
– If the individual viewing the process becomes disruptive, he or she will be asked to leave immediately.
– The individual may observe the cycle of the euthanasia and then shall be escorted out of the building.
Mikkelson said in a telephone interview Monday that he and Parker and Webb were in agreement on the recommended policy.
Though Barbara Andrews, as chairwoman of the Board of Health, presided over the subcommittee meetings, she was not a voting member and was not at the last meeting when the recommended policy was approved.
Mikkelson said the question facing subcommittee members was: “How do you balance out the issue of government transparency with the ability of staff to conduct their business in a safe and efficient manner? … The more that we allow the public in, the more it disrupts the staff, but the more we keep the public out, the more it makes government look nontransparent.”
The subcommittee met three times, one of which consisted of a visit to the Rowan County Animal Shelter to view the carbon monoxide chamber and talk with staff about the euthanasia process.
Mikkelson said the visit was valuable to members because they could see the space and hear from staff on how they handle specific situations, including the euthanasia of very large animals.
One of the things subcommittee members discussed, he said, is what would happen if people come in and start abusing the policy due to their own personal agendas and the viewing becomes disruptive to staff. In the event that happens, Mikkelson said, the staff will be instructed to notify the board, which reserves the right to amend the policy.
“Given the few number of people who have had a lot of interest in this over the last 15 years,” he said, “we don’t think there’s going to be a large workload put on the staff by accommodating one person at a time. If we turn out to be wrong, then we’ll amend the policy.
“But we’d rather start with a position of allowing the public to view and then if that becomes problematic and we have to change it, it’s probably because somebody with an extremist position has abused that privilege.”
Rowan County Animal Control Supervisor Clai Martin has said previously he can only remember three requests from people wanting to view the euthanasia process in his 13 years in the job, and all of those were received this year.
One was from the Post and was granted for the purpose of a series comparing the carbon monoxide and lethal injection methods of euthanasia.
Of the other two, one was from a Rowan County woman who said she is not a member of any animal advocacy or rights group and the other was from a member of an organization advocating for banning carbon monoxide chambers in North Carolina.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: April 13

Coronavirus

County switches vaccines for mass vaccination clinic after federal, state guidance

Coronavirus

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

Education

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department receives 400 Pfizer, 800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for week

Crime

Blotter: Accident in Food Lion only weekend shooting to produce injuries

Crime

Salisbury man charged with felony drug crimes

Crime

Second person charged in thefts from house near county line

Crime

Police use tear gas to end robbery stand off, arrest suspect

Local

Ask Us: When will Rowan Public Library’s West Branch open?

Nation/World

Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop’s trial in Floyd death

Nation/World

Officer accused of force in stop of Black Army officer fired

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with hitting man with car, fleeing while intoxicated

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options