COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) -There are only four counties in Michigan with animal gas chambers and Branch County is one of them. There’s a bill in the Michigan Senate that would require animal shelters to use lethal injection when euthanasia is necessary. The sponsor of the measure, Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, says as a former Sheriff who ran an animal shelter, that shots work, they’re humane, and they’re quick. Jones told M-Live “Let’s be known as Pure Michigan where come to take your vacation, not Michigan the doggy gas chamber state”. Jones’ bill, which was unanimously approved this summer by the Senate Agriculture Committee, may come up for consideration by the full Senate this fall.
Branch County Animal Control Officer Ernie Baker says one way or another, the county’s gas chamber will be going way. The machine is about 20-years old and it won’t be cost effective to replace when any major maintenance is needed, which will probably be in less than a year from now. More to the point, Baker says the county’s euthanasia rate continues a marked decline with only six or seven stray dogs being put to sleep over the past two years out of over 500 dogs. That compares to a 50-to-60 percent euthanasia rate five years ago. Baker says the county shelter uses both injections and the carbon monoxide and they closely follow the guidelines of the American Veterinary Association.