Barletta Introduces Resolution Condemning Gassing of Dogs and Cats

Dec 5, 2013
Press Release

Rep. Barletta with a little pal on ASPCA Day on Capitol Hill


Rep. Barletta says hello to DC office dog Ollie


WASHINGTON -Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, has introduced a resolution to express the sense of the House of Representatives that it is wrong that gas chambers are still being used to euthanize cats and dogs, some of which may be simply lost and being sought by their owners.  Twenty-three states have banned the use of gas chambers for that purpose.  A lifelong animal lover, Rep. Barletta was known to bring his beloved dog Casey to the office each day while he was mayor of Hazleton.  Another trusted canine companion, Annie, recently succumbed to old age.  A member of Barletta’s staff in Washington, DC frequently brings his own dog, Ollie, to the office at the Congressman’s suggestion.

“Our pets at home have truly been full-fledged members of our family,” Barletta said.  “Casey is no longer with us, and very sadly, my wife and I recently had to put our little dog friend Annie to sleep at the end of a long and well-lived life.  I know that dogs and cats have real emotions, feel love and fear, and do not deserve to be treated in as brutal a manner as they experience in a gas chamber.”

“Gassing dogs and cats as a means of euthanasia is not acceptable, especially in light of the alternatives we have,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Not only does this sort of euthanasia inflict needless stress and suffering on animals, but it also takes a toll on the physical and psychological wellbeing of shelter personnel. In the not too distant future, we hope to report that there are no operational gas chambers in the U.S.”

Gas chambers cause end-of-life terror in dogs and cats and cannot guarantee a humane death, particularly in ill, young or aged animals.  The practice also poses psychological and physical dangers to shelter workers in the way of emotional trauma, bites and scratches, or leaks or misuse of noxious gasses.  The resolution notes that approximately 3.4 million animals are euthanized each year in the U.S. and about 3 percent of those (or 102,000) are put down using gas chambers.  

“There is no denying that in many places there is an animal control problem, but injection is the preferable method, especially since the American Veterinary Medical Association finds gas chambers unacceptable,” Barletta said.  “The worst part could be that many of these animals gassed each year may simply be runaways actively being sought by their owners.  To me, the whole issue is heartbreaking.”

The resolution is endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.