Green River City Council discusses future of gas chamber following protest


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GREEN RIVER – A group of concerned people gathered outside Green River Town Hall on Tuesday night ahead of the Green River City Council meeting to protest the gas chamber Green River Animal Control is using to euthanize animals.

Currently, Green River Animal Control uses carbon monoxide in gas cylinders for the euthanasia of animals.

In a Wyoming Against Gas Chambers Facebook post, the group wrote:

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“We decided to come together and collectively ask Green River City Council to help us remove this torture device from the Green River Animal Control Facility. The purpose of this peaceful protest is to educate and make our community aware that nothing human happens to our pets inside a gas chamber. There is strength in numbers, so if you believe in our compassion for our non-adoptable pets, then join us in this peaceful protest. ”

Following the protest, Green River Mayor Pete Rust raised the issue, saying he would like to ask staff to move forward on this issue with the safety of animal control staff as a priority. .

He spoke in favor of removing the gas chambers, “as long as we can ensure the safety of our employees and provide all the necessary tools”. He suggested the city use tools such as contracts with local vets to help with euthanasia cases.

Mayor Rust also noted that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offered the city $ 5,000 towards the purchase of new euthanasia equipment in May 2021. The terms of the deal were that the city s ‘would commit to dismantling the current carbon monoxide. euthanasia equipment and discontinue its use.

The new equipment would have consisted of a cage that holds the animal, self-injection sticks for euthanasia injections and tables that would raise the animal. However, Council did not support the motion in May, resulting in the death of the motion.

Mayor Rust said the HSUS would be willing to provide a grant to help them and some of that money could be used for contracts with local vets.

The Council’s main concern in May was that the gas chamber was safer for staff than injections, in which they would have to handle sometimes hostile or sick animals.

Green River Police Chief Tom Jarvie said in May that of the roughly 900 animals the shelter receives each year, about 10 percent must be euthanized for various reasons, such as the animal being vicious, sick or unable to adopt.

Chief Jarvie has asked Council to raise their hand if they are in favor of eliminating the gas chamber so that they can signal to their staff that this is a Council consensus. Mayor Rust and councilors Jim Zimmerman, Sherry Bushman, Mike Shutran and Gary Killpack all raised their hands. Council members George Jost and Robert Berg did not raise their hands.

Jost said he was reluctant to raise his hand due to a conversation he had with an animal control officer in which they spoke for about 30 minutes about the gas chamber.

“I’m not so sure,” Jost said.

No formal action was taken during the meeting, but Chief Jarvie will give direction to his staff based on the informal Council vote, which was 5-2 in favor of moving away from the gas chamber. .

Green River is one of two communities in Green River that still use a gas chamber for euthanasia, according to the Wyoming Against Gas Chambers. The other community is Evanston. Rock Springs removed its gas chamber in December 2020.

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