Ohio County Animal Euthanization Dispute

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"What I found was kind of a horror story."

When Ben Blunt visited the Ohio County Animal Shelter's gas chamber, he was shocked to see the way animals are euthanized.

Blunt says, "It's just needless suffering. They have the same feelings as we do. We don't put animals above people, but they have the same feelings as we do. They feel the same pain. They feel the same fear. They feel hot. They feel cold. They have a lot of the same emotions as we have."

Many of Kentucky's counties use a lethal injection method to euthanize animals. It is considered to be more humane, but it also costs more.

Judge Executive of Ohio County, Wayne Hunsaker says, "I would prefer that we do it by another method. When we get to where we can afford it, we will. But until that time comes, we plan to stay right where we are."

Blunt says that's not a good enough reason. "I understand that public officials are made to feel that they have to perform this task in as cheap a way as possible, but this is just horrible. There's just too much suffering involved."

Last month alone, Ohio County had to euthanize 187 of the 216 animals taken into the shelter.

Judge Hunsaker says, "We're going to do what we have to do, according to state law. And according to what we feel like is the right way for us to take care of our animals. And make it the best shelter that we can. We don't need PETA or anyone else telling us how to do it."

The gas chamber method of euthanization has been outlawed in three states.

Blunt says, "I think it should be outlawed everywhere."

But for now, it is the most cost effective way to euthanize animals for some counties.