Utah lawmaker pushes to end gas chamber euthanasia in animal shelters

Jan 18, 2023, 5:22 PM
Katherine Heigl of Jason Debus Heigl Foundation and Sen. Mike McKell at Wednesday's press conferenc...
Katherine Heigl of Jason Debus Heigl Foundation and Sen. Mike McKell at Wednesday's press conference (KSL-TV's Michael Houck)
(KSL-TV's Michael Houck)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah County senator has introduced legislation to ban the use of gas chambers in animal shelters.

On Wednesday, Sen. Mike McKell said he is moving SB 108 Animal Shelter Revisions to the Senate Rules Committee for approval.

“S.B. 108 is a compassionate approach to euthanasia,” McKell said in a press release. “Not only are gas chambers more expensive, but they also unnecessarily place staff members at higher risk of injury or death from carbon monoxide gas. Other forms of euthanasia are more humane, cost-effective, and safe. Switching to injections just makes sense.”

Katherine Heigl, a Utah resident and founder of the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, an organization dedicated to animal welfare, is also supporting the bill.

“The sign of a civilized society is marked by how we treat the voiceless and innocent,” Heigl said. “We cannot continue the inhumane practice of using gas chambers for animals.

According to McKell, Utah is one of three states that continues to use gas chambers for euthanasia in animal shelters. Out of the 3,500 shelters in the United States, only five shelters still use this method. Three are in Utah.

“One is too many,” McKell said at the press conference. “If we are going to ban it across the country for really good reasons, to be the last state not to ban them, to me, it’s not the Utah way. We are better than that in the state of Utah.”

A similar bill was introduced in 2022 but was voted down after opposition from groups like the Utah Sherriff’s Association. However, McKell believes he has worked out the issues between them for this bill to pass.

“The word opposition to me is probably the wrong word. I think we need to educate. People have questions, they have concerns, there is often a lack of understanding,” McKell explained.

Heigl added that there are better ways to euthanase animals, like with ejections.

“Now, our dogs in the shelters and our cats in the shelters are not getting a loving vet, not getting a loving person by their side, but they can have the ejections, which is much faster,” Heigl said. “If you had to put any animal to sleep, you have seen it, it’s fast, it’s painless, it’s peaceful.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Students at Juan Diego Catholic School (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Private schools celebrate state funding, expect ‘significant uptick in enrollment’

Utah’s private schools are celebrating that they’ll receive state funding for the first time through a new school choice program.
1 day ago
Michael Houck

Passenger dead after attempting to move crashed truck on SR-89

A passenger was fatally hit by a trailer after a car crashed into it Friday night, according to Utah Highway Patrol
1 day ago
One the of climbers in the training camp climbing a wall. (KSL-TV's Alex Cabrero)...
Alex Cabrero

USA Climbing Camp for Paris 2024 begins in Salt Lake City

As the Summer 2024 Olympic Games draws closer, those athletes looking to participate begin their training. 
1 day ago
The large herd of about 60 elk near the mouth of Parley's Canyon on Thursday. (Utah Department of W...
Michael Houck

DWR officials warn of migrating elk entering Salt Lake City

A migrating herd of approximately 60 elk is causing problems for residents and drivers near the mouth of Parley's Canyon.
1 day ago
Former longtime Murray Mayor Dan Snarr is photographed on Dec. 13, 2013. Snarr, 73, was charged Thu...
Pat Reavy

Former Murray mayor accused of spitting in driver’s face in road rage case

The former longtime mayor of Murray has been charged with spitting in the face of another driver during a road rage incident.
1 day ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Sandy man threatened to kill parents after shooting TVs, police say

A Sandy man was charged Friday with shooting two televisions and threatening to kill his parents and go on a killing spree.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Utah lawmaker pushes to end gas chamber euthanasia in animal shelters