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Backlash Over Shawnee Animal Shelter Gas Chamber

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New urgency in the fight for change inside the Shawnee animal shelter. New urgency in the fight for change inside the Shawnee animal shelter.
SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

An area rescue group leads the effort to not only stop gassing animals, but make Shawnee a no-kill zone.

The gas chamber has been talked about for years. But what has one rescue group fired up is every Friday, they rescue dogs at the Shawnee Animal shelter.

Friday morning, they claim three dogs were gassed.

“We’re shocked, and we do not know why these three dogs were gassed this morning,” said Amber Magalassi, member of area rescue, “Friends of Shawnee.”

These dogs only receive 48 hours of holding time. It pushes the group, “Friends of Shawnee Animals” to get them out as quickly as they can.

Since May, Magalassi said no dog has been left behind, until now.

“And they know that we have that record, and for them to destroy these animals like they did this morning is not acceptable,” said Magalassi.

For years, The American Humane Association as well as PETA has stood against the use of gas chambers. But Oklahoma is one of eight states that still use them, including the City of Shawnee.

City leaders say a plan is in the works to change that.

“We would be going from the gas chamber to lethal injection,” said Shawnee City Manager, Justin Erickson.

But not soon enough for area rescues and they're asking for a "No kill" shelter. 

“We are not able to transition to no kill at this time,” said Erickson during Monday’s city council meeting.

Erickson said the city is actively working with about 50 rescue organizations.

“There’s always another way,” said Susan Brittingham. “There’s a lot of really good people that are working really hard to rehome them, even if it’s a temporary home, get them to where they are safe.”

Susan Brittingham is a volunteer.

“They’re working feverishly. That’s all they do practically. I don’t know how they do anything else,” said Brittingham.

“It’s the process of the gas chamber that we understand is horrific, and we just do not feel like it’s a humane way to go for these animals,” said Magalassi.

The city manager said he plans to update the city council on the transition from using a gas chamber, to lethal injection early next year.

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