On Tuesday, at the Gallipolis Municipal Court, dog warden, Paul L. Simmers, assistant dog warden, Jason Harris, and former dog warden, Jean Daniels pleaded not guilty to inhumanely killing dogs at Ohio's Gallia County Animal Shelter reported wchstv.com.
Simmers has been charged with injecting sodium pentobarbital into the shoulder and hip areas of the dogs to euthanize them. The procedure is called "heart stick euthanasia" and is not allowed in Ohio without the use of sedation. Experts state those injections cause excruciating pain to the animals when injected into muscles and is considered an "unacceptable practice."
An investigation began on Valentine's Day when Jason Harris killed 11 adoptable dogs the volunteer group, Friends of the Gallia County Animal Shelter, had planned to relocate out of the overcrowded shelter over the weekend.
When the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals launched their own investigation into the deaths of the dogs and about rumors of the dogs being killed by agonizing deaths, the bodies of several of the dogs were sent to Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. According to SPCA Director Teresa Landon:
"At this point in our investigation, we believe these dogs suffered a horrifying and painful death. A past witness to the procedure has stated that the dogs are pinned against a wall with a wire gate and then a needle with the fatal solution is jabbed into the chest. No sedation was ever used and many times dogs were stabbed with a needle more than once. Dogs would often stagger about the room for up to 30 minutes until they died."
The necropsy reports came back stating the dogs suffered agonizing deaths, confirming that several of the dogs had been injected a barbituate into their hearts or nearby organs. Reports also stated two of the dogs sustained blunt force trauma; one sustaining a blow to the dog's head.
The three defendants are due back in court on April 1.
For the good news, however coming out of the shelter, a post on the Friends of the Gallia County's Animals Facebook page stated excellent reforms now being considered by the commissioners:
"Another commissioners meeting down. One of the most encouraging things to come out of this so far is a change in policy: "except in extreme circumstances all dogs euthanized in Gallia County will be performed by a licensed veterinarian."
Such a simple change can make such a big difference in how we sleep at night.
Also cameras are being installed inside and outside the shelter, in today's world, I can't see any reason for anyone to argue with that!"
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