Gas chambers; prohibits use thereof for euthanizing companion animals. (SB498)

Introduced By

Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Gas chambers. Prohibits the use of gas chambers for euthanizing companion animals. This is emergency legislation. Read the Bill »


01/21/2008: Awaiting a Vote in the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee


01/09/2008Presented and ordered printed with emergency clause
01/09/2008Prefiled and ordered printed with emergency clause; offered 01/10/07 080723286
01/09/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
01/16/2008Impact statement from DPB (SB498)
01/21/2008Stricken at request of Patron in Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB5.


Tim McCormack writes:

I can only assume this is in response to the Michael Vick case.

Why enumerate all the cruel and painful ways that animals should not be killed? Wouldn't it be more efficient to list the permissible techniques? It's a short list, I'm sure, and less prone to loopholes.

Cross Creek writes:

To me euthanizing is a nicer way of saying put to sleep/death. I never have been a fan of putting any animal in a gas chamber and putting them to sleep/death/euthanize. I am not a fan of putting any animal to sleep/death/euthanize unless there is medical reason that would prolong an eventual death. Another reason would be if they attacked a child, I feel that would fall under a chime against a person and prove that the animal is liability to remain anywhere it could come in contact with a child or any human and risk the possibility of a repeat offense. I feel if they need put down the use of an injection would be the most human way to put them to sleep.

Tim McCormack writes:

@Cross Creek: What other euthanasia methods would you consider humane? I only know of injection.

One problem I have with this bill is that is too general in the usage of the term "gas chamber". If the bill is intended to target asphyxiation-type gas chambers that use CO2 (pure speculation, here) then it should say so. I'm worried that this will prevent the future use or development of more humane gas chambers. (I don't know if such a thing exists, but I imagine that it is possible.)

Cross Creek writes:

I only know of the gas chamber that I have seen on news and read about, basically the one where they use a big barrel fill it up with whatever (Carbon Dioxide or Carbon Monoxide)they plan to euthanize the animals with. But in the mean time while the animals are in the barrels or chambers they are fighting for thier lives. If more than one animal is in there they are fighting them while they basically die so to speak.

Cross Creek writes:

I found an artical in the National Geographic back in 2005 that expalins the process and that there have been an account of one dog living threw it and they wrote a book on him.

Here is the link (I hope it is ok to post considering it covers this very subject)

I had no clue that back in 2005 in the United States nearly 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized. That is alot of dogs and cats. The process takes approximately 25 minutes to complete according to the article. They even state that "The animal is in a warm or hot box, usually with other animals. They don't know what's going on. The hiss of the gas is going on inside. They get dizzy, and they panic," he said. Fights can break out, and animals' calls can sometimes be heard. Today most private and city animal shelters euthanize animals with sodium pentobarbital, a controlled substance that is injected into one of a dog or cat's veins. Animals die in seconds, experts say, and without pain or suffering.

I hope this information reguarding this issue is helpful.

LARRY writes:

Dead is dead. One way is just as good as another.

Tim McCormack writes:

@Larry: Are you saying that, given a choice, you would see no difference between (let's say) being boiling alive and being given a lethal injection in accordance with death row procedure? I doubt you would choose the former.

Cross Creek writes:

Appears this bill may actually pass, I wonder what new way certain groups will euthanize the animals they claim to save? The government should make new laws to have groups such as Humane Society of United States and People of Ethical Treatment of Animals donate a certain percentage of their funds to the Local Animal Shelters that are funded by the tax payers. I feel if they are interested in saving animals they could put money in the hands of the people who really care. May be a new law to consider for the 2009 session.

Deb writes:

I'm so glad that this bill looks like it will pass. For anyone who wonders why this is important, just read this account from an Animal Control Officer in Raleigh.

If you have friends or family in NC, please encourage them to get involved in movements to ban gassing in NC. They are among the worse states in the country for gassing pets.

Thanks to all for supporting this important legislation.


I put dogs in the gas chamber

This was found posted on Craigslist under PETS in Raleigh.

Date: 2006-08-16, 12:03PM EDT

Yes, I Gas Dogs and Cats for a Living. I'm an Animal Control officer in a very small town in central North Carolina. I'm in my mid thirties, and have been working for the town in different positions since high school.

There is not much work here, and working for the county provides good pay and benefits for a person like me without a higher education. I'm the person you all write about how horrible I am.

I'm the one that gasses the dogs and cats and makes them suffer. I'm the one that pulls their dead corpses out smelling of Carbon Monoxide and throws them into green plastic bags. But I'm also the one that hates my job and hates what I have to do.

First off, all you people out there that judge me, don't. God is judging me, and I know I'm going to Hell. Yes, I'm going to hell. I wont lie, it's despicable, cold, cruel and I feel like a serial killer. I'm not all to blame, if the law would mandate spay and neuter, lots of these dogs and cats wouldn't be here for me to gas. I'm the devil, I know it, but I want you people to see that there is another side to me the devil Gas Chamber man.
The shelter usually gasses on Friday morning.

Friday's are the day that most people look forward to, this is the day that I hate, and wish that time will stand still on Thursday night. Thursday night, late, after nobody's around, my friend and I go through a fast food line, and buy 50 dollars worth of cheeseburgers and fries, and chicken. I'm not allowed to feed the dogs on Thursday, for I'm told that they will make a mess in the gas chamber, and why waste the food.

So, Thursday night, with the lights still closed, I go into the saddest room that anyone can every imagine, and let all the doomed dogs out out their cages.

I have never been bit, and in all my years doing this, the dogs have never fought over the food. My buddy and I, open each wrapper of cheeseburger and chicken sandwich, and feed them to the skinny, starving dogs.

They swallow the food so fast, that I don't believe they even taste it. There tails are wagging, and some don't even go for the food, they roll on their backs wanting a scratch on their bellys. They start running, jumping and kissing me and my buddy. They go back to their food, and come back to us. All their eyes are on us with such trust and hope, and their tails wag so fast, that I have come out with black and blues on my thighs.. They devour the food, then it's time for them to devour some love and peace. My buddy and I sit down on the dirty, pee stained concrete floor, and we let the dogs jump on us. They lick us, they put their butts in the air to play, and they play with each other. Some lick each other, but most are glued on me and my buddy.

I look into the eyes of each dog. I give each dog a name.

They will not die without a name.

I give each dog 5 minutes of unconditional love and touch.

I talk to them, and tell them that I'm so sorry that tomorrow they will die a gruesome, long, torturous death at the hands of me in the gas chamber.

Some tilt their heads to try to understand.

I tell them, that they will be in a better place, and I beg them not to hate me.

I tell them that I know I'm going to hell, but they will all be playing with all the dogs and cats in heaven.

After about 30 minutes, I take each dog individually, into their feces filled concrete jail cell, and pet them and scratch them under their chins. Some give me their paw, and I just want to die. I just want to die. I close the jail cell on each dog, and ask them to forgive me. As my buddy and I are walking out, we watch as every dog is smiling at us and them don't even move their heads. They will sleep, with a full belly, and a false sense of security.

As we walk out of the doomed dog room, my buddy and I go to the cat room.

We take our box, and put the very friendly kittens and pregnant cats in our box.
The shelter doesn't keep tabs on the cats, like they do the dogs.

As I hand pick which cats are going to make it out, I feel like I'm playing God, deciding whose going to live and die.

We take the cats into my truck, and put them on blankets in the back.

Usually, as soon as we start to drive away, there are purring cats sitting on our necks or rubbing against us.

My buddy and I take our one way two hour trip to a county that is very wealthy and they use injection to kill animals.

We go to exclusive neighborhoods, and let one or two cats out at a time.

They don't want to run, they want to stay with us. We shoo them away, which makes me feel sad.

I tell them that these rich people will adopt them, and if worse comes to worse and they do get put down, they will be put down with a painless needle being cradled by a loving veterinarian. After the last cat is free, we drive back to our town.

It's about 5 in the morning now, about two hours until I have to gas my best friends.

I go home, take a shower, take my 4 anti-anxiety pills and drive to work.. I don't eat, I can't eat. It's now time, to put these animals in the gas chamber. I put my ear plugs in, and when I go to the collect the dogs, the dogs are so excited to see me, that they jump up to kiss me and think they are going to play.

I put them in the rolling cage and take them to the gas chamber. They know. They just know. They can smell the death.. They can smell the fear. They start whimpering, the second I put them in the box. The boss tells me to squeeze in as many as I can to save on gas. He watches. He knows I hate him, he knows I hate my job. I do as I'm told. He watches until all the dogs, and cats (thrown in together) are fighting and screaming. The sounds is very muffled to me because of my ear plugs. He walks out, I turn the gas on, and walk out.

I walk out as fast as I can. I walk into the bathroom, and I take a pin and draw blood from my hand. Why? The pain and blood takes my brain off of what I just did.
In 40 minutes, I have to go back and unload the dead animals. I pray that none survived, which happens when I overstuff the chamber. I pull them out with thick gloves, and the smell of carbon monoxide makes me sick. So does the vomit and blood, and all the bowel movements. I pull them out, put them in plastic bags.

They are in heaven now, I tell myself. I then start cleaning up the mess, the mess, that YOU PEOPLE are creating by not spay or neutering your animals. The mess that YOU PEOPLE are creating by not demanding that a vet come in and do this humanely. You ARE THE TAXPAYERS, DEMAND that this practice STOP!

So, don't call me the monster, the devil, the gasser, call the politicians, the shelter directors, and the county people the devil. Heck, call the governor, tell him to make it stop.

As usual, I will take sleeping pills tonight to drown out the screams I heard in the past, before I discovered the ear plugs. I will jump and twitch in my sleep, and I believe I'm starting to hallucinate.

This is my life. Don't judge me. Believe me, I judge myself enough.

Cross Creek writes:

Sad article, you should hear one of those 55 gallon drum make shift type gas chambers that the Humane Society of the United States uses when they go confiscate 100's of game cocks and throw 20 or more in a barrel at a time, fighting with everything they have in them. In the end they all are dead, dieing a very inhumane death at the hands of people who proclaim to save them (euthanized and saved according to them); in the end they are more inhumane than any cock fighter could ever dream of being.

Tom writes:

Virginia must stop the use of gas chambers to euthanize dogs and cats in our animal control facilities. Using a gas chamber to kill causes suffering of the animal, including ongoing distress and panic during the procedure. The systematic euthanization of thousands of animals each month, simply because they are homeless, is sickening enough. While working toward eliminating kill shelters and promoting animal adoption and spay and neuter programs -- we need our Virginia legislators to ensure that these helpless animals do not suffer further by the inhumane use of gas chambers.

George Powell writes:

People die from CO gas without even realizing it - so CO gas in and of itself must not be so bad. What is bad is the crude method of producing the CO gas with an internal combustion engine; (1)without the hot exhaust being run through a cooling heat exchanger; (2)not having proper lean fuel mixture to avoid poor combustion's grueling fumes - both are side issues that are controllable and independent of what otherwise would virtually be a painless, sleep-induced death.
Much more so than an alternate method of jamming a needle of violent solution directly into the animal's heart - and NOT IN THE LEAST LIKE the tortuous, lung-scorching cyanide gas used in past human gas chambers for capital punishment.

Rev. Aldridge writes:

Find a new Job. I was a sniper in vet nam, the main thing i felt was recoil.

To Rev. A writes:

I'm sure rev a, i'm sure you did. Do you beat your kids and drown kittens too?

Killing the enemy in a war is about kill or be killed. Killing an innocent, helpless creature is much different.

Get some therapy.

CCGF writes:

I read somewhere last night that in Tennessee it cost the state $46. to euthanize one dog. I wonder if this is accurate. And I wonder what it cost Virginia per animal ? Does anyone know ?

Also, I seen where TN. is trying to pass a new law that will make OWNERSHIP of a Pit Bull dog a class 1 misdeamenor. Seems like our legislators are followers, will Virginia be next ?