PA Governor Signs Daniel’s Law to Ban Gas Chambers

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Citizens and animal welfare organizations throughout the Commonwealth and the nation celebrate as Pennsylvania becomes the twentieth state to ban the use of gas chambers in animal shelters and animal control facilities.

Governor Tom Corbett signed Daniel’s Law, HB 2630, into law on Wednesday. The measure received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate and House.

“The citizens of Pennsylvania should be proud of their legislators for coming together to end this barbaric practice,” said Nancy Shilcock of Main Line Animal Rescue.

“This is a victory not only for the dogs and cats of Pennsylvania but for all the people who fought so hard to ban gas chambers in our state,” said Bill Smith (also of MLAR).

Most advocates agree the bill would not have gone through without the support of several key legislators. Senator Andrew Dinniman of Chester County introduced a bill designed to end the use of carbon monoxide chambers in Pennsylvania; guiding the bill through the Senate earlier this year. Representative John Maher representing parts of Allegheny and Washington Counties then used his considerable clout as Chair of the Ag Committee to shepherd legislation through the House of Representatives.

“Both Senator Dinniman and Representative Maher worked tirelessly to make this a reality,” said Jodi Goldberg of All Things Pawsible Animal Rescue. “They deserve the gratitude of every man, woman, and child in Pennsylvania who love animals and want dogs to be treated humanely with respect.”

Both Representative Maher (R) and Senator Dinniman (D) impressed animal advocates by devoting countless hours to the passage of HB 2630 during their election and reelection campaigns for Auditor General and State Senate. Senator Dominic Pileggi of the 9th District representing parts of Chester and Delaware Counties also lent his considerable support to the bill as he did with PA’s new dog laws in 2008. The Republican leader was instrumental in passing legislation designed to improve conditions for dogs in PA’s puppy mills.

Only four or five shelters and animal control facilities in Pennsylvania currently use gas chambers to destroy the dogs and cats in their care. The process can last up to thirty minutes with multiple terrified dogs or cats in the chamber at one time. Pennsylvania joins New York, New Jersey and Delaware in prohibiting the use of gas chambers.

The bill banning gas chambers requires that euthanasia of all pet animals be done by injection of  an approved drug, such as sodium pentobarbital. The injection must be carried out by a euthanasia technician licensed by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine. Veterinarians and animal organizations must disclose their method of euthanasia.

The Pennsylvania bill was named for Daniel, a young beagle who survived a gassing at an Alabama chamber that killed the18 other animals placed in the chamber with him. Daniel lives happily in a forever home today, as his name is lent to efforts promoting shelter adoptions and establishing anti-gassing laws nationwide.

Source, in large part, Main Line Animal Rescue news release.


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