Shelter Using Gas Chambers to Euthanize Dogs Sparks Outrage in Viral Video

A protest against gas chamber euthanasia at animal shelters in Utah was captured on video Thursday. Although just about a dozen advocates showed up, the footage has been watched over 1 million times.

Samery Moras, who shared the viral video on TikTok and owns three dogs herself, felt "a huge amount of sadness" that euthanasia through gas chambers remained legal in her state, she told Newsweek.

The procedure involves placing an animal in a small enclosure while carbon monoxide is released. It is considered by the Humane Society of the United States to be less humane than lethal injection because the death is significantly slower, taking up to 30 minutes.

Nonetheless, gas chamber euthanasia is still actively used at animal shelters in Utah, Ohio, Wyoming and Missouri, while only 28 states have passed full or partial bans on the practice, according to the Humane Society.

Shelter Using Gas Chambers to Euthanize Dogs
A protest against gas chambers at animal shelters in the state of Utah was captured on video Thursday. Although just about a dozen animal advocates showed up, the footage has been watched over 1 million times. China Photos / Stringer/Getty Images AsiaPac

In Moras' video, protestors held up signs with pictures of a dog named Penguin. "This is Penguin, a friendly 3-year-old husky who had an adopter who wanted to take him," Moras wrote in text overlay on a photo of the tongue-wagging, happy-looking dog.

Penguin was euthanized at North Utah Valley Animal Shelter earlier this month. Heather Smith, who runs her own dog rescue in Michigan, told local news station KSTU-TV that she arranged for her mom to adopt Penguin—only to discover that he was killed in a gas chamber before he could reach his new home.

The shelter claimed that Penguin had started to act aggressive, Smith told the local station. As someone who worked with dogs herself, she was skeptical about a dog suddenly becoming aggressive out of nowhere.

In her video, Moras described gas chamber euthanasia in graphic detail.

"They cry out and try desperately to find a way out," she wrote in text overlay. "Some animals even break their own claws as they try in vain to dig their way out of the chamber."

In the comments section, thousands of viewers shared her horror and asked what they could do to help eliminate the procedure.

"This is cruelty. There is no justification. Where can I sign a petition or what can be done to prevent this from happening again?" asked one commenter.

"If it isn't suitable for humans it isn't suitable for animals," added another. "It's already horrible the things these animals go through just getting to the shelter."

Last August, the shelter committed to transitioning to euthanasia by injection, according to KSTU-TV. Directors also confirmed in a board meeting last month that they had met the requirements for purchasing the equipment and substances needed for lethal injection.

Newsweek reached out to the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter for comment.