For Rock Springs Mayor Timothy Kaumo, the decision to stop using the euthanizing gas chamber at the Rock Springs Animal Control Shelter was an easy one.
“The city uses the chamber very little in the first place and only in cases of diseased (or) feral cats or cases where an animal is extremely vicious, injured or sick and the safety of the employees is a factor,” Kaumo said.
“I am pleased and very happy to cease the gas chamber in Rock Springs,” local protestor Madhu Anderson said.
Anderson is known for protesting euthanizing gas chambers not only in Rock Springs, but across Wyoming.
She had questions about how the gas chamber would be closed. Kaumo addressed many of these questions in an interview with SweetwaterNOW.
“I also am an animal lover and feel we need to do what we can to ensure the most humane process for cases where euthanasia is necessary,” Kaumo said.
To ensure the animal control employees’ safety, Kaumo said they will continue trainings on how to properly administer euthanasia injections. He said injections are less stressful for the animal and the employee.
“Euthanasia injections have been a part of the city’s procedures for many years and is the method of choice when it comes to an animal that is not vicious and may be just seriously injured or ill.” Kaumo said.
“Lethal injection is not new to us at the City, contrary to what has been told. We also have an aggressive spay (and) neuter program,” Kaumo said.
As for shutting down the gas chamber completely, only time will tell. “There have been and will be times where we have a large number of diseased feral cats, skunks or other wild animals that need to be euthanized in large numbers where lethal injection is just not possible due to the safety of the employees,” he said.
Many residents aren’t aware that the Rock Springs’ facility also receives animals found in the county, outside of city limits. This also contributes to employee safety concerns.
Kaumo said it will take about a year to get to the level they’d like to be at with the lethal injection program.