Animal welfare bill passes unanimously

Published 9:39 pm Monday, June 6, 2011

A revolutionary animal welfare bill co-sponsored by state Sen. Cam Ward passed unanimously on June 2.

The bill will eliminate carbon monoxide gas chambers as a means of euthanasia for dogs and cats in Alabama animal control facilities.

Ward said he felt the bill would eliminate a questionable means of controlling the animal population in the state.

“It was an inhumane process, and we’re one of the last states to have it,” he said. “It’s long past time we changed it.”

Ward also said switching from the gas chamber process to a more humane chemical injection process would have little cost implication.

“There’s not much of a cost change,” said Ward. “You just change how you put the animals down.”

Joe Murphy, director of the Chilton County Humane Society, agrees with Ward’s stance.

“I’m definitely for [the bill passing],” said Murphy. “There are much more humane ways of euthanization.”

Murphy said the Chilton County Humane Shelter takes in around 4,500 stray animals a year and is forced to euthanize 50 to 75 percent of those animals. He also said that number could be cut down if more pet owners would opt to spay and neuter their pets.

“Sadly, those are relatively good numbers considering other shelters,” he said. “We place 100 animals each month in rescue and adoption services. The answer is spaying and neutering pets, along with more responsible pet ownership.”

In addition to providing a more humane process for the animals, Ward said he felt that this bill would help the state’s image out as well.

“All [people] would have to do is read the agony the pets go through [when they get put down through chambers] and they would change their stance on this,” he said. “[The bill] shows Alabama isn’t going to be behind the rest of the country on this.”