Feb 7, 2013 8:34 PM by Chris Welty

Animal Shelter Employees Cope with Euthanizing

A new state law means changes for animal shelters across the state and how they euthanize animals who aren't adopted.

As of January first, the new law requires that animals be put down using injections, rather than putting multiple animals in gas chambers. Injections cost more money for shelters with already tight budgets.

The new mandate makes an emotional part of the job even more difficult.

The Lafayette Animal Shelter houses roughly 150 animals everyday and euthanize more than they adopt. Shelter employees often receive a bad rap from the public for a job which isn't easy.

"People say well how can you do this job. There's one thing that we mandate here. The days the animals are here, they're going to be taken care of," said Lafayette Animal Shelter employee Virginia Lee.

Troy Venable has worked for the animal shelter nearly 21 years. He says this job can be rewarding, but it's an emotional roller-coaster because injecting animals to euthanize them is even harder than when they gassed them.

"You physically have to hold the animal and it dies in your hands. It's a living creature that's passing away with you. If you have any compassion, it's very hard and it takes a toll on a person."

Employees wish more people would adopt. One of the main reasons they have to euthanize is because of over population.

"It's heart wrenching to us not because we have to perform it this way, but because it is performed," said Virginia Lee.

Troy Venable says, "The animals that come through here, you get attached to them and then five days later you have to make a decision."

All employees agree it takes a special person to work at the shelter.

"You feed the dog, give it water and it's not that simple. it's far from being simple," said Venable.

Many animal rescue groups support the new law saying it's a more humane way to put animals down. They say educating the public on controlling the pet population is one of the best ways to prevent killing animals.

"It's so important with the over population to spay and neuter because with over population something has to be done because we can't save them all," said Amber Prejean with Cajun Paws Rescue.

Chris Welty



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