New Animal Law is Welcome but Expensive

Some Texas animal shelters have until January to comply with a new law that bans the use of compressed carbon monoxide to euthanize dogs and cats. Although the shelter operators say they welcome the change, they also say that adapting to the new requirements will be neither easy nor cheap.

Last month, Texas became the 21st state to ban the use of gas as a means of euthanasia for animals that have not been claimed or adopted. Now the only legal method is injection of pentobarbital.

Ethel Strother, president of the Texas Animal Control Association, said the use of carbon monoxide had waned.

"It's just gotten to be a thing of the past," she said.

Strother testified at a March committee hearing about how many Texas cities had already abandoned the use of gas.

According to a Texas Humane Legislation Network survey of 1,200 cities, 29 still used gas as the primary means of euthanizing animals as of April.

Among those is the shelter in Eagle Pass in South Texas.

Hector Chavez, who runs the public works department there, said that the transition to injections had already cost $1,000, for certification for himself and two animal control officers as euthanasia technicians. Now, he said, a workroom with a floor safe to store the drug will have to be constructed. He foresees needing another employee to help euthanize the feral cats and stray dogs that the shelter often takes in.

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