Beagle Escapes Death, Draws Attention to Inhumane Euthanasia Practice

What is being considered by many to be nothing short of a miracle could very well be the necessary push for animal rights across the country. Daniel, a 20-pound five year-old stray beagle, was one of 18 dogs unable to find a home in Florence, Alabama, and because of this, scheduled to be put down.  However, unlike the other animals, with which he entered a gas chamber on October 3, Daniel was able to survive.

After the scheduled extermination, one animal control worker was shocked to find the little beagle left alive and well amidst the bodies of the other dogs. Since word came out about this “miracle dog,” charitable groups across the country have reached out to help Daniel. Upon hearing about the lucky pup, Karen Rudolph (with Schnauzer Savers Rescue and temporary adopted parent of the dog) began calling him Daniel after the Biblical story of the man who was able to walk out of a lion’s den completely unscathed. Rudolph explains that what happened with Daniel is truly nothing short of a miracle, “Amazingly, not only did he survive the gas chamber which is very rare…he was not sick.”  Rudolph commented further on the dog’s condition: “It was almost as though angels pulled him out of there and he didn’t even breathe the gas.”

And this is not the first time something like this has happened.  In August of 2003, a Basenji mix was found alive in a St. Louis gas chamber.  The dog earned the name Quentin, in reference to California’s San Quentin prison.  Daniel and Quentin are the rare exception amid the estimated four million cats and dogs that are killed each year in the United States.

The use of gas chambers as a euthanasia technique has been around since World War II.  According to National Geographic, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) considers poisoning by carbon monoxide gas an “acceptable” method of euthanasia.  The method takes around 25 minutes to complete and begins with numerous animals (dependent on the size) in a sealed-off chamber where the gas is released.  An expert on animal-euthanasia, Doug Fakkema, explains that although gassing animals may have good intentions, the results are nothing less than tragic.  “The animal is in a warm or hot box, usually with other animals.  They don’t know what’s going on,” Fakkema explains, “The hiss of the gas is going on inside.  They get dizzy, and they panic.”

While many animal shelters use sodium pentobarbital, a much more humane method that involves injecting the lethal compound into an animal’s veins—and the only method accepted by the American Humane Association (AHA)—there are still those that have stuck with the carbon monoxide chambers…such as the shelter where Daniel was retrieved. 

Animal rights groups, like Change.org and AHA, who have been working to get gas chamber euthanasia methods banned across the country have yet another name to draw on to help their cause. Daniel, who has now been moved to New Jersey to be adopted, is doing great according to Jill Pavlik of the Eleventh Hour Rescue who is caring for the dog for the time being, while the more than one hundred adoption applications can be carefully sifted through and reviewed. “He’s absolutely fabulous,” she contends, “He walked in the house like he had always lived there. He’s very sweet, happy and outgoing”—and perhaps the luckiest dog on Earth.

The fight for Daniel’s life is now over, but another still remains with Daniel taking another starring role. His message now echoes that of all animals and animal rights groups—the need for humane treatment.  To help give these animals a voice and to stop carbon monoxide gas chambers in animal shelters, voice your opinion…and sign the petition here.

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