Green River Animal Control Will Not Purchase New Euthanasia Equipment

Green River Animal Control Will Not Purchase New Euthanasia Equipment

Green River Chief of Police Tom Jarvie addresses the Green River City Council about the purchase of new euthanasia equipment. Zoom photo

GREEN RIVER — The Green River Animal Control will not be purchasing new euthanasia equipment after the Green River City Council failed to second the motion, resulting in the motion dying.

Currently, Green River Animal Control uses carbon monoxide through gas cylinders for euthanasia of animals.

“It’s in a manner that’s consistent with the National Veterinarian Association’s guidelines for euthanasia,” Green River Police Chief Tom Jarvie said.

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Out of the approximate 900 animals the shelter gets every year, about 10 percent have to be euthanized for different reasons such as the animal being vicious, sick, or otherwise unable to adopt out. According to Jarvie, the majority of the animals euthanized are wild animals, while feral cats also make up a large portion. He said very few pets have to be euthanized.

Chief Jarvie also said that with 90 percent of animals being returned to their owners or being adopted out, the shelter is classified as a no-kill shelter.

However, Jarvie said that parts are no longer made for the current euthanasia equipment so if it starts malfunctioning, it will not be able to be replaced. Additionally, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offered the City $5,000 to go towards the purchase of new euthanasia equipment, as long as the City commits to dismantling the current carbon-monoxide euthanasia equipment and cease its use. The argument in favor of injections over gas is that it is considered more humane, according to Jarvie.

The total cost of the equipment was about $6,000, so that would leave the City with a $1,000 expenditure. The new equipment would have consisted of a cage that holds the animal, auto-injecting sticks for euthanasia injections, and tables that would raise the animal up, according to Jarvie.

The Council’s Reluctancy

The Council met the request for the purchase of the equipment with reluctancy.

“The reason I’m reluctant and not going to second this and probably not going to vote for it… is I don’t see in any way, shape, or form how having our animal control officers handle this animal that they’re going to put down in this way is safer for the animal control officer than the [gas] chamber,” Councilman Robert Berg said.

Chief Jarvie said the equipment will not necessarily make it safer for the officer over the gas method of euthanasia, but it will make injections safer for the officers. He said there is concern that the current equipment could leak, which present hazard for the staff, and that repairs can’t be done since the parts are no longer being made.

“Once that equipment is no longer functional, this has to be done anyways,” Jarvie said.

Councilman George Jost said he also would not support this request as he spoke to Tracy Wyant, the Green River Animal Shelter Director, and he said she expressed concerns over the new equipment.

“She felt it’s more hazardous and more emotional for the people doing it than it is the way they do it now,” Jost claimed.

Jarvie did say there is an emotional burden that accompanies the injections, which the animal control officers have expressed concern over.

“I think the most difficult thing our animal control officers have to deal with, with this, is being closer to the animal at the time it passes away,” Jarvie said. “And that is a very difficult thing and it’s something they’ve been concerned about over the years.”

Mayor Pete Rust pointed out that whether they approve the request or not, euthanasia at Green River Animal Control will continue to happen.

“The animals will continue to be euthanized, they will just be by the current method which everyone else is eliminating except for two in the state,” Rust said.

After all the discussion, the Council failed to second the motion and thus Green River Animal Control will continue using the gas method for euthanasia.