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Dog survives gas chamber

by Therese on July 24, 2006

in Animals in the News, Pets, Random Thoughts, Rants

I absolutely hate the idea of euthanasia, but I hate the idea of it being done with a gas chamber even more. This story shows clearly why this form of euthanasia should not be used to euthanize animals.

A Savannah, Georgia dog survived a gas chamber meant to kill her, after breathing in carbon dioxide for 30 minutes. When workers opened the door, they were shocked to see this dog still alive, although in very bad shape. The dog, named Amazing Grace by shelter workers, was rushed to the a local veterinarian and is being cared for now.

As a result, the shelter has decided to stop using the gas chamber and plans to change to lethal injection instead.

Read more about Amazing Grace.


The fact that animals are put down, euthanized, killed every day is something that we, as pet owners, are to blame for. The irresponsible actions of people with pets are what cause dogs and cats like Amazing Grace to be thrown away like a piece of garbage. The bottom line is whether or not we choose to keep them from breeding…PERIOD!! That might mean having them spayed or neutered, or simply ensuring that they don’t get with other pets when in heat. The only way we can turn things around is to take responsibility…something many pet owners refuse to do.

It’s not the Liberty Humane Shelter that operates the gas chamber, it’s the local animal control that does. The two organizations share building space but nothing more. Liberty Humane Shelter is a no-kill shelter.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Lewis July 27, 2006 at 10:51 am

“The only way we can turn things around is to take responsibility…something many pet owners refuse to do.”

You are so very, very right. I have been involved with rescue for over a decade and its sad.


M. O'Connor July 27, 2006 at 12:12 pm

The gas chamber could be used for humans who have committed unspeakable crimes — but should NEVER be used to kill innocent, helpless animals who have done nothing to deserve such a horrible fate.


Lana Dixon July 27, 2006 at 12:14 pm

The hypocracy of this shelter disgusts me. How can they be so glad that this dog is doing well when they are the ones that were trying to kill her???They have worked harder in the last 24 hours to care for Grace than they have in the last few weeks to find her a home. Where are their priorities?


Therese July 27, 2006 at 12:24 pm

I honestly can’t think of any good reason to use the gas chamber, no matter how bad the crime. We’re talking pets here though, and there is simply no reason for this to have happened. It’s barbaric and when there are other alternatives available it seems to me like it should be a thing of the past.

Lana, I thought the same thing when I read this story the first time. I don’t quite understand why they didn’t euthanize the dog right then and there. At that point it seems like it would have been eaiser on the poor dog.

This story makes me wonder how often this happens and then the animal is just shoved back into the gas chamber and gassed until they do die. I don’t know how gas chambers work so I don’t know if it’s as easy as that but I certainly wouldn’t be suprised if it did happen!


Andi July 27, 2006 at 1:24 pm

I work in rescue and agree that gas chambers are deplorable. I want to address Lana’s comment though. This shelter is made up of people who probably love animals. They aren’t hypocrites and they don’t enjoy euthanizing animals. They aren’t “trying to kill her.” It is society and the lack of responsibility that is to blame for this dog’s death (or attempt thereof), not a shelter that is only carrying out an ill-fated and unfair sentence placed upon an innocent victim by a society that doesn’t care enough to change. The shelters have to do society’s dirty work. They don’t put the dogs there- they just clean up after the mess made by a culture of people that would rather support pet stores and breeders than rescue; a culture that thinks it will be “cute” to have their children watch puppies grow up; and a culture that is selfish enough to let their actions and their lack of action affect millions of dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals just like this one every day.


Cindy July 27, 2006 at 1:33 pm

What is going to happen to this poor dog now? I hope someone will adopt it after this nightmare????


Stephen July 27, 2006 at 1:35 pm

Folks, I agree with most all of the comments. However, you must read a journalists account to understand the heartbreak of the employees of the animal control shelter in Georgia. I did and was not suprised to see how much they hate what they have to do every day. Here’s a link to the story at WTOC TV:



Therese July 27, 2006 at 1:40 pm

Stephen, thanks for posting this follow-up. I had planned to check to see if there were any new reports out there on Grace but haven’t had the chance yet.

Perhaps Grace’s name is more fitting than the shelter folks realized when they named her. It seems that her misfortune may actually bring some help to many other pets who’s fate may have otherwise been the gas chamber.


Nicole July 27, 2006 at 2:04 pm

The incident actually occured at a Hinesville, GA shelter, not the Savannah, GA shelter. Hinesville is located about 30 minutes from Savannah, GA.

As the mom of 2 rescued animals, and with 17 in my immediate family I completely agree with the comments being made.

The workers at the Hinesville/Liberty County shelter WANT things to change! read on….http://savannah.craigslist.org/vnn/?displayMode=printFriendly

Savannah, GA


Stephen July 27, 2006 at 2:10 pm

Hi Therese,

Yep, this dog may just save the suffering of many, many of her furry little friends in these gas chambers. And so everyone knows, I’ve donated more money than I probably should have over the years to no-kill shelters just to see them go out of business for lack of funds and over-crowding and then have to turn their charges over to a kill shelter.

I make it a point to visit the physical location of any charity that I donate to and I can tell you this: without exception the workers in these places, both no-kill and kill, are the sweetest, most loving, most humane people I’ve ever met. I sometimes wish that our human care givers would hold themselves to the same high standards as our pet’s care gives do.

Another thing that we should remember to address here is that it’s just darn hard to get a job, let alone make a reasonable wage in so many parts of this country. When I was in Florida and Lousiana after Katrina, I met with RN’s (yes, registered nurses) taking care of pets left behind and distress. So there you go. Best, Stephen


Jill July 27, 2006 at 4:54 pm

Sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for the kill shelter workers. They could get another job. I’d work 18 hour days at some fast food restaurant before I’d cause that kind of suffering to an animal. Nobody seems to care that hundreds of other animals suffered in that gas chamber before they died.

Quote from shelter worker: “It is very hard. I would never do it again,” says Wendy Thompson, who worked as an animal control officer for three months. She says long before Amazing Grace showed up, she probably put several hundred dogs and cats to death in the same cages: “Having to put an animal down, I actually did cry several times. I had to walk off and do what I need to do, get through it.”

What a humanitarian, she cried several times! Oh please. She’s got some tolerance level. 30 minutes in a gas chamber, I’d be crying and screaming my head off every time. I’d sabotage the gas chamber if I worked there.

I’d be writing to my city council demanding lethal injection or some other painless, quick death. I’d be standing outside of city hall protesting Nazi death methods for innocent animals.

It’s bull sh!t to talk about who’s fault it is, it doesn’t change anything. DO SOMETHING, don’t just talk about it.


Therese July 27, 2006 at 5:15 pm

Fortunately, for Grace, this awful story has a happy ending. She is doing much better from the looks of it, although I haven’t read anything that says what type of problems she may be having as a result of the ordeal. CNN has a video of the dog and the worker who pulled her out of the gas chamber.

Amazing Grace Video

Jill, I don’t think it’s fair to lump all shelters into one category. All 3 of my dogs were throw-aways, and one of them came from Town Lake Animal Center here in Austin. TLAC has problems like most other shelters, but I can tell you that I talked with some very caring, kind people when I adopted her.

I am absolutely positive when I say that there are many shelter workers who are there because they want to see animals die, but because they want to be part of the solution rather than the problem. Granted, there are undoubtedly people who work at kill shelters simply because it’s a job and don’t give a rat’s ass about the animals, but can you imagine what shape our shelters would be in if those were the only people who worked there?

The more I read about Grace and the workers who found her, the less I want to lash out at them. Like Andi said, these people are doing our dirty work and like Stephen said, unfortunately there are times for some people, when a job is a job. Personally, I couldn’t work in a shelter that killed animals. When I was a kid and worked for vets, it was hard enough for me to see them euthanize old and terminally ill pets. There’s no way I could handle putting down healthy animals.


Kerry July 27, 2006 at 6:01 pm

I remember here in Augusta-Richmond County some years ago, dozens of dogs were put in a gas chamber. Their remains were then put in the landfill. Hours later they regained consciousness and crawled out of the landfill. There were some major issues after that. But, here in AR county 26,000 dogs and cats are still euthanzed annually.

I feel like breeding dogs should be illegal. It is hard to get SOME people to neuter/spay their pets, a lot of rural and poor folks. Also, a lot of other folks as well.


Jill July 27, 2006 at 7:14 pm

The reporter from WTOC in Ga. just replied to my email. I’m going to find out what euthanasia method they use where I live. If they use gas, I’m going to do something about it, get involved. I thought gas chambers were no longer in use. Must be cheaper than injection. (That’s what Hitler said, too.)

From reporter:
“I talked with the county administrator, and they’ve put the gas chamber on hold while they figure out what to do next – they apparently want to switch to lethal injection, but are working out the details.

I don’t know how to find out about your local shelter – I would suggest finding the closest no-kill humane shelter and ask them. They’re usually pretty enthusiastic about things like this.



Debra July 27, 2006 at 7:29 pm

i am just heartbroken about what i have just read…………..that is not humane…………how dare we make animals suffer that way…….we have not right……….i just put my cat down of 12 years and did it in the most humane way i thought……she had cancer…….i never dreamnt we did that to animals …….i am appalled……..and want to stop this……….tell me how i can………this sickens me……….thank you


Therese July 27, 2006 at 10:33 pm

Out of curiosity, I did a quick search on Google for “dog survives gas chamber” and I did indeed find references to other dogs who have survived this horrible ordeal. Here’s one. . .

The Miracle Dog, by Randy Grim, is a book about a Besenji-mix, named Quentin, who survived a St. Louis gas chamber.

Hopefully the plight of Grace and Quentin will be able to wake people up enough to do what they can to turn the gas chamber into a thing of the past. People need to make their voices known, like Jill is doing. Good for you, Jill for taking some action. Please come back and let us know what you find out!


Michele July 27, 2006 at 11:20 pm

So sad.


jan July 28, 2006 at 2:27 pm

This is such a great story and a sad story. The good part of it is that it seems that any dog who has an amazing story like this becomes a media celebrity and a lot of people want to adopt them. It’s too bad all unwanted dogs can’t become media darlings. I do hope though that the shelter workers are careful about the motives of people who adopt celebrity dogs.


Anna July 28, 2006 at 8:09 pm

I heard about this the other day and can’t believe this happened. I don’t understand why they even use gas when they can euthanize animals with a quick shot. It’s so sad, and makes no sense to me at all.


Amber July 30, 2006 at 8:08 am

I cannot think of a more stupid comment than that of the person
who talks about using the gas chamber for people who commits whatever
acts and then posing as a “humane” person concerned for animals. That
was the way Hitler and movement which spawned him thought. It gives a
very bad smell to the humane movement overall, all that you do is to
convince those who have not been educated that we are a bunch of crazy
fanatics. Taking a life is taking a life, whether you like that life or not.


Ken holladay July 31, 2006 at 10:41 am

It’s my understanding as of July 31, 2006 that city pound is still using the gas chamber and has no firm plans to change. If anyone wants the responsible officials office phone numbers, please let me know.


Ken July 31, 2006 at 10:50 am

Thank you for taking the time to write. However, there are a few inaccuracies in the news broadcast that we need to set straight. We are a nonprofit, no kill shelter who only shares building space with Animal Control – not philosophies. They are the ones who gas animals. We NEVER put down animals unless there is a major medical reason and then it is done humanely by lethal injection at vet’s office. We try and save as many animals from Animal Control as possible, but we have a small building and are very limited in space. Being a military town there is a steady stream of “people” turning in their family pets whenever they move or their husbands deploy.

We, at the shelter, have tried unsuccessfully for years to get Animal Control to stop using that horrible death chamber, but we are up against the “good ol’ boy network” here in Georgia. We have been told time and time again that there isn’t enough money in the budget, blah blah. We even collected thousands of signatures from concerned citizens, presented them to a council meeting, all to no avail.

I also want to clarify something else: MOST of the animal control officers who have to do this heinous act as part of their job hate it. They work tirelessly in their off times to try and find as many rescue groups as they can to place as many unwanted animals as possible. They, like us at the shelter, have many, many pets of their own.

Would you mind contacting the city officials? With the publicity of little Amazing Grace’s story they need to know that people want to have this barbaric practice ended immediately.

If you would like to voice your complaint against the gas chamber, you can call:
Joey Brown, County Administrator
Bob Sprinkel, Asst. County Commissioner, both at 912-876-2164
Also, Randy Durrence, supervisor of Animal Control at 912-876-8020

By the way, Amazing Grace is still under a vet’s watchful eye. She was found to have full-blown heartworms (all the more amazing for her to have survived the gas), but the doctor feels that she will weather her treatments just fine. She still hasn’t exhibited any lasting effects of the gas, but we remain hopeful that this precious girl will be just fine.

Thank you for your concern,
Liberty Humane Shelter
PO Box 1481
Hinesville, GA 31310
http://www.myspace.com/libertyhumaneshelter You can read more about our efforts on the blogs on this site. Again, thank you for expressing your rage on behalf of all the suffering animals not only in our city, but in cities across this country who are still using this barbaric method of killing.


Therese July 31, 2006 at 11:43 am


Thank you so much for your message, and your information! I know the information will be helpful to our readers. I did find a story on July 28, by WSAV that clarified that it was animal control rather than the shelter, and I posted that info in another blog entry. Thank you though, for coming on and giving us the info though. It’s helpful to have it right from the source!

I’m sorry that you (meaning the folks at the shelter) are getting so much backlash on this. Hopefully people will see who’s responsible though and put enough pressure on them to see that it doesn’t continue. I for one will be sure to call the numbers you gave, and encourage everyone else to do the same.

And thanks for letting us know how Grace is doing. I’m so happy to hear she’s getting the care she needs, and I hope she keeps improving! 


michele turner August 2, 2006 at 7:16 pm

Is there some sort of petition to stop the use of the gas chamber ? Also
very glad to hear Grace is doing well.


cynth August 4, 2006 at 10:48 pm

michele, there might be a petition online somewhere, it’s good idea. but, scroll up a few messages and you’ll see contact numbers for the animal control in GA. that’s a place to start.



Erica November 10, 2006 at 11:37 am

I just wanted to say that I am honored to now be apart of the family of Grace. My uncle drove from Chicago to Hinesville yesterday to adopt Amazing Grace, he is a really big dog lover. To know that there is a family member who has gone through so much trama and lives to tell her story is so wonderful.


Therese November 10, 2006 at 2:26 pm


Thank you so much for stopping by and giving us the update on Grace. I’m so happy to hear she’s got a new home where she obviously will be loved!! I hope she has a wonderful life with your family.



sarah December 9, 2006 at 1:29 pm

Hi, sadly there are too many stories like this one. We are an online group that rescues dogs from GA high-kill pounds and transports them to the northeast where they are typically adopted to good homes within weeks. We have a team working on ending the use of gas chambers for animals. .. and a spay/neuter team. We could always use more help from anyone who is willing to work on these issues. You can visit our site and forum to see how we work.. thank you for writing about this horrific issue. http://www.savingshelterpets.com


kyler vega April 24, 2007 at 9:22 am

i am the proud owner of amazing graze. We live in barrington Illinois. Amazing grace is the best dog in the world and I am lucky enough to feed her, walk her and help her enjoy her life a wealthy dog. email me if you have any ?’s or ask and ill send pictures with her and the other five amazing rescue dogs


bridget October 29, 2011 at 12:29 am

AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! I am soooo glad you responded and VERY HAPPY to hear Amazing Grace is ok and in a VERY GOOD HOME. You are a terrific person and have just put a smile on my face after reading this story!!!


Sy Campbell July 31, 2007 at 7:07 pm

Kyler Vega, please contact me about this amazing story.
I need to ask you about Amazing Grace.




KARA August 20, 2007 at 9:05 pm



danielle July 23, 2009 at 3:02 pm

i think its just horrible that people do this to puppie and i hope that people who do this find these storys online and read about the poor dogs that have alittle strenght left to make it tho gas chambers and i hope that the people have to look into those poor little dogs eyes and know what they have done has scared that poor puppys life………………………………………….


kasiah March 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm

i think that they should really stop putting down animals there breathing and walking like me and you. An if you are going to do that to an animal why even get one if one you dont know how to take care of it and you have to be smart well if the dog has parvo try to fix it or if you cant then put them down or just let him hurt this happen to my puppy i stayed with him all day all night like 24/7 but i do think they should stop gas chambers why wont someone put the people who do that to animals they should get in one and suffer well thats all i got to say goodbye and if you dont get or hate what im sayn goodbye haters thats all i have to say:))))) STOP GAS CHAMBERS


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