Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Victory! Georgia’s Illegal Gas Chambers Exposed

Written by PETA | October 10, 2007

We’ve just learned that the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and its commissioner, Tommy Irvin, have been found in contempt of court by Judge Tom Campbell of Fulton County Superior Court. This ruling comes after a more than seven-month legal battle that began when PETA received reports that dogs and cats were being cruelly and illegally gassed to death by various pounds and shelters in Georgia and that the Georgia Department of Agriculture was not upholding a 17-year-old law, the 1990 Humane Euthanasia Act.

The lawsuit was filed by Law firm Schiff Hardin LLP in Atlanta on behalf of two plaintiffs: a former Clayton County Humane Society employee—whose dog was hit by a car and then killed in one of the gas chambers—and former state representative Chesley Morton, who introduced Georgia’s Humane Euthanasia Act in 1990. PETA sent a cease-and-desist letter to Cobb County on April 5 requesting assurance that the shelter would comply with the law, but the letter and subsequent communications were simply ignored on the basis of a “grandfather clause,” which the county incorrectly claimed gave them an exemption from using humane methods of euthanasia.

It is simply incredible that private citizens had to go to court to get the department to abide by the very laws it is charged with enforcing, but the recent announcement that the GDA is finally being held accountable for their actions is a major victory, and hopefully it will help to shed some light on the brazen disregard for the law and for animal suffering that places like Cobb County have been getting away with for years in a crude attempt to deal with the cat-and-dog overpopulation crisis. Euthanasia is a tragic necessity while 6-8 million animals are abandoned in shelters in the U.S. alone every year and breeders continue to manufacture more for profit, but unwanted animals discarded by society must be offered a dignified, humane exit if death is the best we can offer them. There is no excuse for employing inhumane methods which simply prolong and intensify the suffering of these unwanted animals.

You can click here to see footage (taken in Yadkin County, North Carolina), which shows the horrific practice of using carbon monoxide gas chambers to kill animals. The GDA has simply ignored an act which prohibits this kind of “euthanasia” method in contempt of the law and in a complete violation of the public trust.

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  • fpw29 says:

    to someones post up above Carbon monoxide IS a colorless odorless gas … and others…. have you seen the video where they stuff these dogs in and put the gas on…did you hear them screaming and crying. it is not pleasant ..and some dont die .. they throw them in the cooler and then when the open the cooler to put dogs in incinerator burn them up some are awake and wagging their tails but they still get thrown in incinerator ALIVE !! Others are dumped in landfills and some people have found puppies and other dogs who weren’t killed roaming around in the landfill. you call that an easy way to die NO. it is heinous and horrific. When you do an IV euthanasia all they do is “go to sleep”. that is by far the least cruel way to do it if the shelters have to do it. When this goes into law they should have someone go to the shelter and haul out all the gas chambers AND destroy them .. smash em to bits.. Also need to get the heartstick shelters stopped too that is a whole nuther ball of wax. But every state should follow North Carolinas laws where IV euthanasia is the only way to euthanise animals because now Georgia will probably go on to Heartstick the animals and that is also bad almost worse

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  • Brigitte says:

    I see stray kittens on my street all the time. By the time they are a year old they are completely wild suriviving on bugs and sewer water. If someone is even able to catch it at some point before they get run down by a car they either have been wild for too long and won’t trust humans and already somewhat sick. This is before they are full grown. Most of them die by getting hit by a car. The owners of these cats don’t care at all and just refuse to have their cats fixed. Every year there’s a new one looking for a play mate or food at the door. It’s a big problem. Blame all of it on ignorant people that don’t take care of these creatures. These kind of people are the ones who think they have the biggest heart of all. But do they? Surviving Strays especially since birth are hard to tame if so they even have emotional and mental problems. Animals are not meant to be neglected though just like humans. People need to stop and think about the future of all domestic animal wellfare before they get one. Animals do have feelings.

  • darlene says:

    Victory! Georgia’s Illegal Gas Chambers Exposed Yeh maybe exposed but whether or not exposed these gas chambers still are used and they still kill cats and dogs. One such facility is Spalding County Animal Control. Animal abuse in the state of Georgia is a felony. So it is totally contradictory that the gas chamber is used as an acceptable method of euthanasia in that state. But it is. Whats more as I understand it the animal control officer can not stand to do the act himherself and so they get an inmate from the jail to do the dirty work. Way to go Spalding! Let someone out of jail temporarily so they can kill. What kind of message is this sending to the inmate?

  • bonnie says:

    Euthanasia means a painless easy death. Gassing animals is NOT euthanasia.

  • Amanda Cash says:

    Please I need help!!! I am being harrased by the county animal control. They have had my dogs Thursday 091808 is one week. She will not give me any information about when I can get my Dogs back. To make a long story short she has been to my house 5 or 6 times since the begining of May each time with a complaint that my dogs have attacked another dog or they were out of my yard. Every time she has come to the house my dogs have been in my 5 acree yard. With the exception of the last they were out had not been out maybe 15 mins at the most. My son bless his heart went inside to get his cell phone. The complaint was not that my dogs had attacked anything but they were simply out of the yard. I can’t get any answers except she waiting on the county commisioners. Talked to the county commisioner whom states they knew nothing about still no answer. They were suppose to have a meeting yesterday and contact me I have yet to hear from anyone. I could go on and on. I have contacted DNR Co. Admin. Humane Society in neighboring co. as we do not have one in our county Co. Comm. ect NO ONE WILL GIVE ME ANY ANSWERS. If you want or need to know more or have any way you can help please let me know.

  • e says:

    Georgia is no better than other states ..in the small community….our dog pound is a fence with dirt no shelter for the animals they have a week then the dog catcher shoots them in the head puppies adults…. that is inhumane….. why euthanize the poor animals it’s not their fault… why don’t we do that to people ? there are more humans unwanted just the same it is called population explosion….but humans don’t see that do they ????

  • Kirsty says:

    Euthanasia by injection is kinder than gassing en mass. I have seen the videos and heard the cries. And I know of one documented case where after numerous dogs had been gassed the chamber was opened to remove the bodies to find one dog still alive and highly traumatised and very ill……… Humane? Not in my eyes.

  • Anonymous says:

    made me physically ill.. enough said.

  • Charles says:

    In this day and age there’s no excuse for gassing whatsoever. Yet the reason it continues in some shelters is greedy and corrupt pulic officials andor lazy shelter staff. Once confronted about it they always cry it’s not cruel. Yet if gassing isnt that bad then why not show the entire procedure from loading to unloading to the general public on the 6pm news? They’ve put injection on TV many times before. Its sad but usually quick with no signs of suffering. If gassing is really so painless and humane why so secretive about it? Obviously even the people who make those claims don’t really believe them.

  • rojo says:

    direct action “horrific enemy equal to the Nazis” equal? From the statement of Hans Stark registrar of new arrivals Auschwitz Klee 255 At another later gassing also in autumn 1941 Grabner ordered me to pour Zyklon B into the opening because only one medical orderly had shown up. During a gassing Zyklon B had to be poured through both openings of the gaschamber room at the same time. This gassing was also a transport of 200250 Jews once again men women and children. As the Zyklon B as already mentioned was in granular form it trickled down over the people as it was being poured in. They then started to cry out terribly for they now knew what was happening to them. I did not look through the opening because it had to be closed as soon as the Zyklon B had been poured in. After a few minutes there was silence. After some time had passed it may have been ten to fifteen minutes the gas chamber was opened. The dead lay higgledypiggedly all over the place. It was a dreadful sight. Maximillian Grabner Head of Political Department Auschwitz get a grip similar method different reasons.

  • Michele says:

    Gee Mars I’m sure their LAWYERS didn’t think of checking the LAWS thoroughly before they went ahead and filed their lawsuit. Quick write to them and tell them that you “probably” know more than they do about the LAW! No doubt they will appreciate your valuable advice… NOT To all of the people involved in this lawsuit congratulations! Yet another victory for the animals!

  • Anonymous says:

    ‘If the “chamber” is relatively comfortable I believe it would be a better way than injections as it takes more training and their is more room for error with injection’ Well Dr Cochran perhaps you should go to your local veterinarian and suggest that they use this method for the average house pet who has come to the end of their life since its so much more humane than injection. They’ll look at you like you’re out of your damned mind and rightfully so. Or maybe when you’re at the end of your own life how about you request this particular method for ending your life? Bet you’d prefer a morphine overdose given the choice right? But I guess I shouldn’t expect much from an MD who basically said Zyklon B was humane since nobody ‘really’ suffered. Since you’re so up on the tactics of genocide its strange that you don’t remember the name of the gas in question So I shouldn’t be surprised that you wouldn’t demand better treatment of animals if you can so easily rationalize abject cruelty to humans. An MD behind your name doesn’t occlude the blatant ignorance that your post exemplifies.

  • Anonymous says:

    from what I saw on the video it took around 15 seconds for the animals to die. the handlers were not cruel to the animals and did not seem to enjoy the process. if euthenasia is an “unfortunate necessity” then I challenge peta to find fault in the video. the shelter did not seem like it had the best of funds and with so many animals abandoned they can’t afford to keep them. how many of those animals were sick I have seen what parvo does or injured? yes injection is better but there was no blatant cruelty. what I witnessed was sad but it could not be classified as animal cruelty. no one was trying to harm those dogs just kill them with the only humane option available. if I had seen footage of people beating dogs to death or if took several minutes for the animals to die I could see a case for animal cruelty. there should more focus on abuse and less focus on humane euthenasia. if you wanted to save an animal get one from the shelter and make it your own but wait peta doesnt condone companion animals or support a no kill shelter which even peta says isnt feasible and even kills animals at their shelter go after criminals like mike vick.

  • Ana says:

    kelly So true!!!! The AVMA still supports declawing for cats and tried unsuccessfully in court to overturn the ban on declawing cats in Hollywood. The AVMA is all about money. Of course I still rescue declawed cats from the streets but the vets got their money and the cats got a lot of pain for it.

  • jdodds says:

    Why is it ok to kill Muslims? I don’t agree with how cats and dogs are euthanized in a gas chamber but why is it ok to kill those who have a different religion. Killing people and animals is just morally reprehensible.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    Susannah Thank you for your polite tone. I find it very distasteful that that animals are euthanized as well. Rest assured though that CO intoxication is a painless death. Injection is neither instant or painless and it takes a specially trained operator to get it exactly right. In those little puppies for instance IV access would be challenging and IM shots are painful. The animals were not screaming in pain they were screaming in fear. If the chamber were comfortable the gassing would be extremely humane. Ana There you go again wishing death upon your fellow man. You are some kind of warrior. Have you ever had to euthanize a companion animal? It really is anguishing but you do it when you have to to make sure it’s done correctly out of love for your pet. I doubt you have the fortitude for such an endeavor. What does your loving god think about all this hatred you harbor? Pray for forgiveness burn a candle confess then bring on the hate all over again. I hope you find peace in your troubled soul. Have a great weekend and save another

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    What would be more humane than to drift off into permanent sleep? kelly You hate everyone. Men Old People Veterinarians Rural Southerners. Hate Hate Hate. I hope you are able to find some peace someday. I am glad I don’t have to live up to your standards because I am not sure they are attainable. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the members of the AVMA are not all evil old white bastards who only interested in farming and have no progressive ideas. You are a suspicious paranoid person and I am glad people like you are such an insignificant minority.

  • Direct Action says:

    17yrs for the law. There is a much faster way. How many innocent victims are tortured to death while we wait for laws and then for the laws to be enforced? No that is not acceptable. This is just more proof that there is only one way that really works and is required against a horrific enemy equal to the Nazis and that is Direct Action just as had to be taken against the Nazis of WWII.

  • carolyn says:

    when I look at my rescued shelter cats stories like this upset me there is no excuse for breeders and pet shops there are so many loving animals waiting to be adopted in shelters.

  • Hayley Ruff says:

    Oh my God I can’t believe what I have just seen and this is in the good ol US of A. Do these people who “work” at this “shelter” actually have pets of their own?? Jesus Christ get proper jobs why don’t you kill some Muslims instead of animals

  • Susannah S says:

    Dr. Cochran I beg to differ. Gassing is NOT a humane way to euthanize animals. It takes quite a few minutes for the animals to die for one thing whereas injection is instant and painless. Many shelters in the deep South are very poor and gassing is more economical for them than individual injection but it’s much harder on the animals. I don’t think this is done out of malice or contempt for the law as much as it’s done because there’s just no money and not even enough personnel to help. Many northeastern rescues for example take dogs from Georgia and from the South all the time trying to find homes for them. I have worked with one such organization Homeward Bound and they tell me that the southern shelters were grateful to have the help that they wanted to see the dogs placed but they’re overrun with dogs and no money. Many of these poor dogs are ill with heartworm parvo and other serious diseases and the rescues end up treating them before they can be placed for adoption. It’s a dire situation and while some of the shelters are callous horrendous places many many more are quite caring but poor. Maybe this is something that PETA could help with? Or call attention to?

  • shu shang says:

    is this all what humanity has reserved for dogs and cats gas chambers! i’m deeply shocked about this report because it unveals once again a human stain! instead of putting these creatures to death in such a horrible way they should be loved and respected above all because they do much for humans but the human creature quickly forgets all the benedictions received from the animal kingdom! all dogs and cats are to be adopted by animal loving people! just if an animal has become too dangerous or too ill because of bad treatment there should be found a humane form of euthanasia and i’m sure that PETA does the necessary things in that direction! thank you PETA once more for exposing this scandal in public!

  • octopus says:

    freshman cochran your exposee is telling as always and quickly you are at hand with your sooooo wellmeant advice! you are the perfect horse of troy!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Sickening and this goes on millions of times each year. What a waste of life. There would be no need for “humane” types of euthanasia or facilities in the first place if animals were diligently spayed and neutered and the problem thereby avoided. An ounce of prevention… A. B. C.

  • liliana says:

    Can somebody tell me this happen in all Georgia in all the shelters? Poor animals I can not believe all the animal cruelty in this world

  • Beth says:

    It isn’t a matter of lack of money. Cobb county is not some little area in the middle of the state. Cobb county actually contains parts of ATLANTA. Cobb county is one of the richest in the state of Georgia.

  • Carolyn Barnes says:

    Hooray for the animals and Hooray against Tommy Irvin. Everything I ever read about Tommy Irvin makes me sick. Why don’t they just get rid of him because he is clearly not for the the animals? I think the last gas chamber act should be putting his sorry ass in there.

  • kelly says:

    The AVMA as it stands now is a backwards farm animal vet controlled enterprise that has pretty much refused to address humane issues for dogs cats. Their views are skewed from a FARMING viewpoint and the average age of leadership in the AVMA is elderly and male to say the least. And not attuned to modern ideas. Most veterinarians agree that gas chambers are NOT humane in any way shape or form. The AVMA as it stands now is a dinosaur.

  • Mars says:

    What has a gas chamber in NC got to do with one in Ga.? What victory? Going to Court does not mean you will prevail and they are probaly correct in the “grandfather” clause.

  • animalfriend says:

    Gas chambers aha humanity still got stuck in the same murky pool as always! i’m helpless! i’m just hopeful to let this atrocious planet behind me as soon as possible and never come back never!!!

  • Barbara says:

    We treat conviced murderers and rapists better than this. These innocent animals have done nothing wrong and deserve mopre humane treatment.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    I expect the notion of a “gas chamber” has historical significance and may evoke emotions based on that history but I would like to point out that the Nazis did not use CO carbon monoxide. It is a colorless odorless gas that peacefully induces a hypoxemia that causes a mammal to slip in to sleep and painless death. It doesn’t smell like car exhaust. If the “chamber” is relatively comfortable I believe it would be a better way than injections as it takes more training and their is more room for error with injection. The chamber in the video was very utilitarian and I expect was offensive to some people.

  • Ana says:

    Since it is so painless and humane why don’t you give it a try.

  • V. Soto says:

    Great victory! Thanks PETA and those brave individuals that spoke out against this horrendous atrocity!

  • kelly says:

    This is one of the reasons that pets continue to suffer in the U.S. corruption by local and state officials. In too many states and counties officials simply refuse to enforce things like anticruelty laws or they side with breeders or fighters and refuse to even pass laws. Some of these officials are involved in puppy mill activity or dog fighting themselves or their families are. Others are just incompetent goons picking up a paycheck and refusing to work. In some areas animal control is a corrupt local official who might sell animals to research labs or even a breeder that takes “stock” for their operations and lets the illegal breeding businesses flourish in the area. We ALL need to take a hard look at local and state authorities and root out the corrupt proanimal abuse ones. They are all over this country and it is time to speak up and expose this corruption. We all need to visit our local pounds and see how they are operated. Some people are committing animal abuse and collecting a government paycheck to do it.

  • JT says:

    I saw the footage and it brought tears to my eyes. Hearing the dogs cry in agony inside that chamber is the most horrible sound I have ever heard! And when I thought it was over they put these adorable little puppies in the death box on top of the dead ones to be killed next!!! AND i’m surprised by how emotionless the guy in the video was…HE must hate animals!

  • Carla says:

    I had to stop and think for a momentA Humane Euthanasia Act was introduced in 1990 in Georgia. How the heck did the gas chambers not be taken away and destroyed at that time when they were on city property or were they purchased after the act was introduced? How could this have taked 17yrs to finally be exposed? I’ve watched the video in disbelieve. Even though I don’t agree with Euthanasia in most casesthe sick and the old if they contribute to the over population crisis. But a gas chamber! What did they possibly do to justify that GDA? People kill people everyday and don’t get what those pets got. I seen puppies in there and happy go lucky dogs! It’s better late then never we say at least I can sleep a little better knowing something to this degree will be put to sleep for good in Georgia I can only hope. I’m sorry for the forgotten ones it came too late!

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    In reviewing the 2007 AVMA recommendations on euthanasia CO poisoning is an acceptable form of euthanasia when mass euthanasia is needed such as in the video. The problem with the NC pound was that the chamber was unacceptable obviously. What is the GA chamber like? The AVMA insists on chambers that separate the animals. CO poisoning is a truly humane and painless way to die. Perhaps PETA could help some of these counties undoubtedly suffering limited funds for their shelters to buy some euthanasia chambers that are more humane. If my county spent thousands of dollars on a new gas chamber there would likely be an outcry. How does PETA euthanize the cats and dogs in it’s shelters? See everything I post isn’t antagonistic.

  • Stacy P says:

    Thank you PETA and all the individuals involved to correct this terrible practice. Great news in this big animal rights fight!! Thank you!!!