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Iredell animal shelter removes gas chamber

Iredell County officials said Friday they have removed the carbon monoxide gas chamber from their animal shelter.

Animal Services Director Brad Gates said removing the chamber, which had been used to euthanize dogs and cats, “is another step in the right direction.”

Iredell County’s Animal Services division came under fire from some residents earlier this year, after reports surfaced of alleged mistreatment of animals at the shelter. The division’s former director resigned in April.

In announcing that the gas chamber had been removed from the shelter, Gates said Iredell County Animal Services “has made tremendous strides recently with increasing adoptions and working with rescue organizations.”

North Carolina law allows government agencies to use gas chambers to euthanize shelter animals, but the practice is strongly opposed by the Humane Society of the United States. A number of counties in North Carolina have replaced gas chambers with chemical injections to euthanize animals. That is the practice Iredell County will adopt, Gates said.

However, he added, “Our goal is to eventually have every adoptable animal leave the shelter to a new home.

“We need the public to help, by choosing adoption over purchasing, and by controlling unintended breeding by spaying and neutering their pets.”

Gates said the shelter received about 6,500 animals annually. The shelter, on 430 Bristol Drive in Statesville, is open from 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.

Steve Lyttle: 704-358-6107 Twitter: @slyttle
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