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Lorain County Dog Kennel
301 Hadaway St.
Elyria, Ohio 44035
(440) 326-5995
ELYRIA — Lorain County commissioners Ted Kalo and Lori Kokoski voted yesterday to eliminate the use of a gas chamber at the Lorain County Dog Kennel and will instead euthanize unadoptable dogs by lethal injection, which animal activists said is more humane.

The decision to eliminate the gas chamber came following presentations by Dr. Tom Wood, of the Lorain Animal Clinic, and Rick LaLonde, executive director of United for Animal Justice, a countywide animal activist organization.

LaLonde pointed out the strides the Lorain County Dog Kennel has made to become more humane, such as quickly finding homes for the dogs and reducing viruses such as kennel cough and parvo. However, the kennel still needs work — such as the methods of which an unadoptable dog, such as a pit bull, are put down in the county.

LaLonde said while the organization does not believe in the euthanization of any kind, the most humane way a dog can be put down is by lethal injection, which is done at a local veterinarian’s office. The animal is then cremated, Wood said.

Kokoski, a self-proclaimed animal lover and dog owner, said she has visited the Lorain County Dog Kennel many times and recently watched a dog be euthanized through the gas chamber in order to research how it was being done locally. She expressed concern on whether the dogs felt “nervous” when they are in the gas chamber, and LaLonde said he believed the fact three to four dogs were being euthanized at one time was wrong.

LaLonde also said nine states have statewide bans on using a gas chamber and seven states have bans in shelters only, while there aren’t any states which ban a lethal injection. He also said the lifespan of the chamber is short and the county would save money in the end by switching to the more humane method.

Kalo said he agreed with LaLonde and said the dog kennel has taken great measures to reduce the number of euthanizations — the kennel has reduced the number of euthanizations by roughly 500 dogs in the past five years, he said.

When the commissioners approved the plan, several audience members touting yellow animal support shirts burst into applause.

Commissioners also approved a plan to spay and neuter the animals before they are adopted, which will decrease the general pet population and traffic into the kennel. Currently, individuals who adopt the dogs are given a voucher to take the animal to an approved veterinarian, however, only roughly 20 percent of those are redeemed, according to Kokoski.

The funds to perform the procedures will come from a animal medical fund, which is supported by donation.
 

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