Killing dogs

Dog warden: Ban on gas chambers not necessarily good thing for dogs
Andy Ouriel
Mar 18, 2014


An avid pooch lover, Erie County Dog Warden Barb Knapp despises putting dogs down.

But she’ll hate the morbid process even more if forced to conform with a new, publicly mandated killing procedure.

A proposed federal resolution spearheaded by a Virginia congressman calls for a ban on gas chambers used to euthanize animals at public dog pounds and other shelters.

Click HERE for adoptable dogs at the Erie County Dog Pound

Knapp said the resolution could be implemented as soon as this year. It’s unknown when, or even if, the resolution will be approved by federal officials.    To kill animals and dogs, the resolution recommends lethal injection, a process in which officials administer deadly shots. Any gas chambers at public facilities would effectively close, according to the resolution.

In terms of quantity, dogs are put to death in gas chambers much more often than most other animals. The resolution, then, would impact dogs more than any other animal.

About half of all states, including Ohio, still allow dogs to die in gas chambers.

But more animal handlers throughout across the country have recently trended away from killing dogs in gas chambers, opting instead for lethal injection.

Even in Ohio, where gas chambers remain legal, many animal handlers favor lethal injection over gas chambers when euthanizing animals.

Case in point: The Erie County Dog Pound is one of just a handful of public animal facilities in Ohio killing creatures using gas chambers. Most other Ohio pounds and shelters kill dogs and other animals with shots.

A gas chamber deploys deadly doses of carbon monoxide until a dog succumbs.

“Dogs just fall asleep,” said Knapp, a dog owner herself. “I don’t see a problem with carbon monoxide. It’s painless. It’s odorless. It’s tasteless. We use it correctly, and it is an approved way of euthanizing, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association”

But several national veterinary organizations and humane societies slam gas chambers and consider lethal injection “the most humane way to euthanize pets”

“Most shelter workers wish to hold and comfort a frightened animal in its final moments of life,” according to a statement from the American Humane Association. “That act may be the only kindness the animal has even known. In contrast, even with vigilant oversight, euthanizing any animal by means of a carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas chamber is inhumane to all animals”

Knapp said the association is flat-out wrong, dubbing lethal injection as violent, brutal and stressful — for dogs and humans.

Lethal injection requires several people to kill one dog, Knapp said. This would include at least one person restraining a dog while another administers a shot.

“I don’t like needles myself, and I’m not going to like to find a vein in the dog and injecting them,” Knapp said.

Additionally, Knapp said most animals will struggle and resist needles rather than accept death.

“The carbon monoxide places less stress on the animal and on my people,” Knapp said. “There are people out there who think dogs suffer (in gas chambers). My personal opinion is, in my 39 years of doing this, I want the best and most comfortable way to put down dogs, and this is it”

Dr. Marianne Socha, a veterinarian who’s also the owner of Huron-based Firelands Animal Hospital, stands by Knapp’s stances.

Lethal injection “makes it more dangerous for the workers, and it is worse for the psyche of the animal,” Socha said. “Injection is a frightening experience for the animal. I would hate for them to completely get rid of the gas chamber. Some of those workers are going to get bit and mauled by lethally injecting dogs”

Erie County Dog Pound workers put down dogs for many reasons, including their temperament, if they have an incurable disease or sickness, if the dog is aggressive toward other dogs or humans, or if the dog can’t be placed with a human after several months of staying at the pound.

On average, for every 13 dogs handled or coming into the dog pound, Erie County officials euthanize one.

“If they’re adoptable, they’ll go out,” Knapp said. “We are here to serve the public and make sure it’s safe by putting some of these dogs back on the street and not putting some back”



I have personally witnessed both gas and injections to put dogs to sleep.
The gas chamber is much more human!
I knew the battle over the gas chamber before I attended ! I watched one dogs face from start to finish. He was an aggressive out mix .He simple fell over. No urination no foaming at the mouth no fighting with the three other dogs that we're also inside with him. It was not traumatic ! With the shot: the warden has to have hands on with sometimes a aggressive dog and has to stick it over and over again until they find a vein. To me the shot was more traumatic to both dogs and warden who don't want to have to put dogs to sleep in first place.
Unless you witnessed both shouldn't say which is more human !!!


It's humane!

From the Grave

I guess Edison would have electrocuted them...


I have (thankfully) never had to have an animal put down. But simply judging from the news stories we all hear every winter of people who die unknowingly in their sleep thanks to a bad furnace or other appliance outputting carbon monoxide, it's pretty safe to assume it's not terribly painful! When you consider an odorless gas that quite literally does NOTHING except to gradually prevent your blood from carrying oxygen versus hands on sticks with a needle, I'm going to have to agree with the REAL experts -- like the dog warden and the vet who, sadly, DO have plenty of experience with putting animals to "sleep." I get the necessity in some cases; I do NOT understand why anybody would want it to be anything but as humane as possible!


I have unfortunately put my pets down by injection, due to ill health of the pet. It is hard choice to make....but thinking you are being more humane, not letting the animal suffer. I held each one till their last breath, tears streaming down my eyes! All went well till the last one we had to have put to sleep....they did not hit the vein, and I will never forget him squeal in pain....and they had to inject two more times till they got his vein...and he was not even squirming...they just could not find the vein!! Had I known I would never have another put down that way!! It is still vivid in my mind!!! Barb Knapp, please let us know who we need to contact, to make sure this law does not go into affect!! I cannot imagine, having a scared or vicious dog, trying to have this done, without fighting it...and even with the stillest of dog....could not find the right vein!! And it must burn when not injected into the vein....I still hear it to this day, when I think about our dog, and brings tears to my eyes...that is what I last remember...not him being peacefully put to rest. If I had not seen it, I would not know what Barb is talking the others SEEMED to go peacefully. As as SAMADAMS SAID...PEOPLE SEEM TO GO PEACEFULLY, ALONG WITH PEOPLE THAT DO THIS ALL THE TIME....WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP THIS LAW FROM GOING INTO AFFECT??? And if that memory of my dog sticks in my mind, years later, I do not want them having to deal with the countless times they will have to put down an animal, and see the pain, nor have them jeopardize themselves with a vicious or frightened dog. And I am sure there are times they have shed more than one tear, cause they were putting down a healthy, loving dog....that someone got for the wrong reasons...THEY WERE CUTE as a pup...etc...and if you want a pet...PLEASE ADOPT FROM A SHELTER>>>save a life...they will love you forever!!


All living things die. Get over it!


You're right, Deertracker. All living things die. But these animals aren't dying a natural death. They're being KILLED. There's a big difference between dying and killing. BIG difference.


Then go a head and die deertracker, I'll get over it real fast.


Trackass, you're a turd!


True that.

Texx Reloader

Lethal injection can be barbaric IF the animal is NOT sedated first. Staff sometimes have to wrestle to hold the animal down, and they sometimes have to be put in "squeeze cages." Some animals are put down with a long needle which goes straight into the heart with no anesthetic. However if an animal is properly sedated, it is much more peaceful that placing the animal in a small chamber, and gassing it. Even vicious large dogs can be easily sedated by trained personnel. Training is not difficult, and certifies staff for life. This can also be contracted to local vets. Before money becomes an issue, examine the amount of money held in savings by any pound using this excuse. Fees can also be adjusted to administer the program. Carbon monoxide is a throw-back to days gone by, but lethal injection programs should be instituted while carefully scrutinized by a Veterinarian. Love of animals is commendable, but does not replace medical knowledge of animals.


TEXX RELOADER..have you ever SEEN an injection gone WRONG....I have...and it was at a vet's office (trained personnel)...and done there at least 5 other times...I would not say my dog was PEACEFULLY put down. I was shocked, as this never happened before...BUT IT DID! May I ask WHAT experience you have in this?

nosey rosey

This woman needs to be removed from her post if she can honestly state that the gas chamber is humane. I have had experience using both and anyone who says that the chamber is more humane than the injection is lying through their teeth.


nosey rosey, what experience have you had with either, may I ask....I ask not to be sarcastic...but information. I SPEAK from my own experience...with the lethal injection....I SAW it, with my own eyes, how and did go WRONG!! And, sadly, a doctor and his wife, chose this method to leave this earth. I think if there was an easier way, being a physician for MANY years....and a vet and dog warden, who I think have seen or done way more of these...would also know, which is more humane. THE MORE HUMANE thing to do, is to NOT get your animal fixed, and not overpopulate, or think more carefully before you take on a pet. Or the way too many puppy mills, for the love of money! In HORRID conditions...but until that happens, we still have more animals not being able to find homes!! So, I always encourage people to adopt from shelters and rescues....all but one of mine over the years, has been from a rescue. And I do my best to find homes for ones that have been abandoned!! So, if they HAVE to be put down, I am leaning towards people that have done this for years, with more education, and from my own personal experience with my pet being injected!!