Published 12:00 am Monday, November 18, 2013

Opponents of the use of a gas chamber to euthanize animals the at the Rowan County Animal Shelter plan to hold a rally today in front of the county administration building at 130 W. Innes St.
The rally starts at 4:30 p.m.
The public is welcome to attend to pass out flyers and hold candles in remembrance of homeless pets who were destroyed by the archaic gas chamber at Rowan County Animal Shelter,” organizers said in a news release. Sign holding is not permitted; however, wearing a sign or a T-shirt with messaging is allowed.
Organizers want the county to switch to euthanasia by injection.
“The taxpayers of Rowan County might not realize their hard earned money is going towards the barbaric and outdated practice of destroying animals in a gas chamber, said Kayli Stanton, a rally organizer. “We ask the public to contact county officials and lawmakers and urge them to take action to dismantle the gas chamber immediately and switch to humane EBI.“
Organizers say they are concerned that many people are not aware of the gas chamber at the shelter or how it really affects the animals. Despite what some people think, animals do not “go to sleep” in gas chambers. It often takes them 20-30 minutes to die. Their internal organs shut down before they lose consciousness, resulting in an excruciatingly painful death, they say.
The majority of North Carolina’s 100 counties have dismantled their animal shelter gas chambers, the organizers say. To date, only 10 shelters use gas chambers as the primary method of destroying homeless pets. Another two shelters still have gas chambers, although they are considered in low use.
The Humane Society of the United States has offered funds to dismantle the gas chamber and provide training on euthanasia by injection, the organizers say. Many other counties have accepted that support.
While the gas chamber is the primary focus of the rally, animal advocates also have a number of other concerns about the shelter, the news release said. Among those are the decision to not allow volunteers, the need for procedures to increase adoptions, the need for better sanitation practices, and the care of certain animals, especially in the outside runs.
An online petition to ban use of the gas chamber at the Rowan animal shelter has about 9,500 signatures.