Dog Euthanization Methods Discussed At Athens Forum

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Animal lovers and activists came together for a town hall meeting at Ohio University's Walter Hall  in Athens last night, to discuss local euthanization procedures.

Athens County euthanizes dogs through a controversial gas chamber method.

It is one of only 13 Ohio counties that still do so.

Athens Friends of Shelter Dogs member Sara Hartman supports euthanasia by injection for dogs, which she says is a more humane method of putting them down.

“All dogs, no matter what their temperament, deserve to be safely euthanized in a humane manner,” Hartman says. “As is done in 75 of the 88 counties in Ohio. There is no reason why Athens County can't be one of those.”

Supporters of euthanasia by injection argue that gassing procedures can take up to a half hour and are painful for the dogs.

The EBI process, in contrast, only takes a few minutes.

Athens County Commissioner Lenny Eliason was also at the town hall meeting.

He says animal euthanization in the county isn't perfect, but it's getting better.

“Several years ago we killed 1100 dogs a year. Through the friends of the shelter and other adoption programs and the efforts by various organizations over time, that has gotten a lot better,” Eliason says. “We'd like to get all the way there. Whether we get there or not, we're going to try.”

According to the Athens County Animal Advocates, there were about 160 dogs euthanized last year in the county.

Some media reports estimate that number much lower.