Cat survives gas chamber ... twice

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 10:24 AM


WEST VALLEY CITY — A stray cat has survived two trips to a Utah animal shelter’s gas chamber, leading shelter volunteers to seek a switch of its euthanasia method to lethal injection, which they called more humane.

Volunteers with the West Valley City’s animal shelter were expected to appear at a city council meeting Tuesday evening to argue for the switch from carbon monoxide poisoning to injections of sodium pentobarbital.

No one adopted Andrea, a longhaired black cat with white paws and green eyes, in 30 days, so shelter officials tried to put her to death in October. She survived, so they gassed her again.

Shelter officials detected no vital signs and presumed she was dead after the second try, so they put her in a plastic bag in a cooler. But when they checked the bag, they saw she had vomited on herself and had hypothermia, but was alive.

Officials decided to stop trying to kill her.

"It was just one of those things where they thought this cat obviously really wants to live," West Valley City spokesman Aaron Crim told the Salt Lake Tribune ( ). "Let’s give it a chance to find a permanent home."

Volunteers with another shelter who took her in after the ordeal said she was a bit "wobbly." But she was adopted Dec. 11, and her new owners reported she was settling in.

Volunteers say euthanasia by lethal injections of sodium pentobarbital would be more humane than the gas chamber, and also cheaper.

Shelter officials still aren’t sure why the gassing failed to kill Andrea. The other cats with her in the euthanasia chamber that day all died.

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