A Law With Unintended Consequences for Dogs, Cats?

A state law that prevents the use of an anesthetic for the pre-euthanasia of animals at animal control agencies or animal shelters has some animal rights advocates in Montgomery County concerned, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle.

In 2009, Tennessee legislators barred the use of ketamine, an anesthetic, by technicians at animal control agencies and animal shelters in the use of pre-euthanasia. According to Tennessee Code Annotated 63-12-141, “The only drugs approved by the Board for the pre-euthanasia of animals by a certified animal euthanasia technician in a certified animal control agency shall be acepromazine and xylazine.”
Originally, shelters used a drug called ketamine mixed with xylazineto completely anesthetize an animal before euthanasia, said Elaine Weil, an animal advocate and former Animal Control Board member. But now, only licensed veterinarians are allowed to administer the drug.
…Because Howard hasn’t witnessed a euthanasia using just xylazine, he could not comment on how humane the procedure was.
“Was it better before? Yes. But it’s one of those things. It’s a class-3 narcotic, so it has to have special handling,” he said.
But Weil believes the lack of ketamine administered before euthanasia means the animals are not being treated humanely and thinks something can be done about it.
“It’s a controlled substance and should be controlled, but in a situation where we have all the technology in the world to give a humane death, why isn’t it happening in Clarksville for crying out loud?” she said. “What do we have to do to give them a humane death? We owe that to them at least.”

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