House committee passes bill concerning pet euthanasia

Posted at 11:52 AM, Feb 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-28 13:52:14-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill that would add restrictions to how animals are put down is making its way through the Utah Legislature.

House Bill 150prohibits, with certain exceptions, from using carbon monoxide to euthanize animals. It asks shelters to think about more humane options.

The bill would call for shelters to use lethal injection to put animals to sleep. However if an animal is in distress or is dangerous, shelters can use gas chambers, which many see as a controversial method.

A vet testified to lawmakers Thursday that it is acceptable and humane to use gas chambers. Supports of the bill said limiting the use of gas chambers is the best compromise.

"Nobody wants to put an animal down, everyone wants to make sure we have animals adopted, but there are situations and times where an animal has to be euthanized, and so the most humane way is by lethal injection," said  Rep. Angela Romero, (D) Salt Lake City. "But there are situations in which an animal might fall into an exception category and be euthanized by carbon monoxide gas."

Additionally, shelters would be required to hold an unidentified or unclaimed stray animal in safe and humane custody for a minimum of five business days.

The bill passed a House committee and is headed to the House floor for debate. They could take the issue up as early as next week.