ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (CBS4/AP) — Some Wyoming residents are trying to end the use of a gas chamber for euthanasia at an animal shelter. Animal welfare advocates say gas chambers are cruel because death often doesn’t happen quickly.

The Rock Springs Rocket-Miner reports Madhu Anderson and Eve Waggoner have been protesting the use of gas at the Rock Springs animal shelter.

Anderson says lethal injection is more humane and not difficult to implement.

The Human Society of the United States website states that “gas chambers cannot provide humane euthanasia for shelter populations.”

“When shelters find themselves in the position of having to euthanize an animal, it is incumbent upon them to ensure that the death is as humane as possible,” the website states.

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The HSUS says a direct injection of approved euthanasia drugs is the most humane method of euthanasia currently available.

“[A] gentle, painless sleep induced by a trained technician is one of the kindest gifts we can offer a suffering animal. When an animal is injected with proper euthanasia drugs, they lose consciousness in as little as three to five seconds,” the HSUS website states.

“Under the best circumstances, it takes minutes before an animal loses consciousness inside a gas chamber. But if the chamber is old or not well-calibrated—a frequent issue for under-resourced shelters—or if the animal is very young, very old, ill, injured or stressed, it can take much longer,” the HSUS stated. “In the worst cases, the animal is still conscious while its vital organs begin to shut down.”

“Lesser alternatives like carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas chambers (gas chambers), which can virtually never provide a stress and pain free death, must therefore never be used in shelter settings.”

Rock Springs Police Chief Dwane Pacheco says the shelter only euthanizes feral cats and aggressive dogs and has one of Wyoming’s few free spay-and-neuter programs.

The Humane Society of the U.S. says Wyoming is one of just four states where shelters still use gas chambers rather than lethal injection to euthanize animals; the others are Missouri, Ohio and Utah.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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