Provo City Council will discuss the method by which animals at the Southern Utah Valley Animal Shelter are euthanized during its working session on Tuesday.
The Utah Animal Rights Coalition (UARC) has attended city council meetings throughout Utah County regarding the use of carbon monoxide to euthanize animals. The SUVAS uses the carbon monoxide chamber.
It was Provo’s animal control division that asked council to hear a presentation on the use of the CO chamber, how it works, and why the method UARC wants to use is dangerous and more inhumane.
This is the same discussion that was brought up with the North Utah County Animal Shelter, which also euthanizes the animals in the CO rooms.
On June 16, just before the Orem city council meeting, dozens of protesters lined up around the corner outside the Orem city office, holding up signs and demanding that Orem “ban the killing by gas chamber in (the) animal shelter ”and alleging that the shelter“ abuses dogs and cats ”.
The same outcry is expected to be heard by Provo’s council on Tuesday. Provo’s board does not take public comments during its working sessions, unless authorized by the chairman of the board. The regular night meeting was canceled this week.
The coalition protest in June alleged that “the dogs and cats at Orem Animal Shelter are pulled from their cages and locked in a chamber that fills with poison gas, a practice condemned by almost all vets and animal shelter professionals as it can take up to 30 minutes for animals to die while they are short of air and in pain.
The coalition calls for euthanasia to be done by injection, a more humane process.
At the Orem protest, Jeremy Beckham, executive director of UARC, said in a written statement: “There is no reason why this shelter cannot resort to injecting euthanasia, as it already does. the overwhelming majority of animal shelters.
An online petition to end the “killing” of animals at NUVAS, which is located in Lindon and serves all towns in northern Utah County, has received more than 70,290 signatures.
In a 2020 report outlining the guidelines for euthanasia, the American Veterinary Medical Association states that the “preferred method of euthanasia in facilities (animal control, rescue and shelter) is the injection of a barbiturate or barbituric acid “.
Tug Gettling, director of the North Shelter, defended carbon dioxide euthanasia during a working session of Orem City Council, saying: “Because we believe it is the safest method for workers. and the least stressful for them, but also the most humane method for the animal. “
Gettling noted that the method is “insidious,” meaning it doesn’t startle the animals, and death “comes quickly.”
“So when you look at the definition of human death, that’s what you want,” he said. “Something with minimal discomfort or pain, something that works quickly and doesn’t scare them off and completes the job. “
Gettling’s description of the practice of euthanasia was very different from that of a Lindon resident who said she was ‘traumatized’ while working at the North Animal Shelter in 2013 and 2014.
During the public comment portion of the Orem city council meeting, the Lindon resident said she still vividly remembers the animals screaming and howling in fear, and the cats fighting in the gas chamber . When she hears a hiss, “I’m going to feel some very vivid flashbacks and I’m back in this room killing their animals.
“I need you to understand that this is not human,” said the Lindon resident. “It is a very cruel method and these animals are suffering.”
Orem Mayor Richard Brunst, who noted that he and other city officials had been bombarded with emails from residents opposed to the practice of euthanasia, said the city “will wait and see what shows research and will proceed accordingly ”.
Now it’s Provo’s turn to listen and decide if they want to change the way pets, stray animals, and unadopted animals are disposed of.
Daily Herald reporter Connor Richards also contributed to this story. Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be reached at [email protected], (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire.