Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal

PENNSYLVANIA — On Monday, October 29th, Governor Tom Corbett will sign into law HB2630, making Pennsylvania the 20th state to ban the inhumane practice of animal euthanasia by gas chamber.

Daniel, the Alabama “miracle beagle,” inspired Daniel’s Law, a new Pennsylvania law banning the use of gas chambers for animal euthanasia. Photo Credit: The Star-Ledger/Aristide Economopoulos

The legislation, otherwise known as Daniel’s Law, was named in honor of a beagle named Daniel who was thrown into a Florence, Alabama pound gas chamber on October 3, 2011. After 17 minutes of carbon monoxide exposure, Daniel walked out the gas chamber, still remarkably alive. And while the miracle dog survived the ordeal, the other dogs did not.

Daniel was later adopted by Joseph Dwyer, a New Jersey dog trainer and animal advocate, who used Daniel’s story to raise awareness on the cruelty of gas chambers.

“Daniel’s story reflects that even the most perilous circumstances can ultimately lead to a positive outcome. We are tremendously grateful for the leadership efforts of Senator Dinniman in advancing Daniel’s law through the Statehouse. He is an example of how our state’s leaders protect not only the interest of our human citizens, but those that can’t speak with a voice—our animal population,” said Dwyer.

As many animal advocates consider the practice of euthanization with gas chambers inhumane, the house bill requires the use of injectable drugs to euthanize animals while also stating that all euthanasia injections must be performed by a licensed veterinarian or a certified veterinary technician under a licensed vet’s supervision.

In a statement by the American Humane Association, the organization claims they have “long considered the use of euthanasia by injection…as the only acceptable and humane means of euthanasia in animal shelters.”

In addition, a study commissioned by the association found that the use of injection is not only more humane, but also costs about half as much as the use of a gas chamber.

Under the new law, sponsored by Representative John Maher and Senator Andrew Dinniman, shelters have 30 days to dismantle their gas chambers. 

“Near the end of an animal’s life, sometimes the most humane choice for a pet is to end its suffering,” Senator Andy Dinniman said on Facebook last week. “When that difficult time comes, Pennsylvanians deserve to be sure that their pet or any pet animal is euthanized as humanely and painlessly as possible and by someone specifically trained to do that difficult task.”

It can take up to 30 minutes for a cat or dog to die in a gas chamber, whereas injection causes loss of consciousness within 3 to 5 seconds.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), between six and eight million dogs and cats end up in shelters every year, and three to four million are euthanized. 

“Today is an important victory for thousands of animals in Pennsylvania, yet there are more than 30 other states that still permit the gas chamber and other inhumane forms of animal euthanasia. These animals need someone to advocate for them,” said Dwyer.

A listing of states that have banned this form of animal euthanasia is available at www.danielthebeagle.com.

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