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Humane Society Advocates Laws To Protect Shelter Pets

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Koda the Malamute, for whom "Koda's Law" is named after.

Koda the Malamute, for whom “Koda’s Law” is named after.

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LANSING (WWJ) – Dog lovers and representatives from the Human Society lobbied lawmakers in Lansing earlier this week. They want legislation designed to make laws more humane toward shelter pets.

Jill Fritz, Michigan Director of the Humane Society, said they are pushing to protect dogs from winding up in research labs with one bill in the package called “Koda’s Bill.”

“Koda’s Bill basically prevents shelter pets from being given to ‘Class B’ dealers who would then sell them to research laboratories,” Fritz said.

The bill is named after a 3-year-old Malamute named Koda, who was surrendered to the Gratiot County Animal Shelter on June 13, 2007. Instead of being placed for adoption, Koda was sold to a “Class B” dealer, also known as an animal broker, on June 19, 2007. The dealer then resold Koda to the University of Michigan, where he was used in the university’s Advanced Trauma Life Support Class, then euthanized.

After public outrage, in addition to a complaint filed by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine regarding practices in the class, the University of Michigan stopped using live pets in the course in February 2009.

Koda’s former family, and many alike, thought that taking pets to a shelter would allow them another opportunity to find a loving home – not knowing they could wind up in research labs.

Although most have pledged against it, Fritz some counties in the state still have contracts with “Class B” dealers.

“The practice is declining rapidly in Michigan. It’s not done hardly at all anymore, but we really need to pass state-wide legislation to ensure that all shelter pets are protected,” Fritz said.

Also introduced were bills to end gas chamber animal euthanasia in Michigan shelters.

The “Humane Euthanasia of Shelter Animals Act” would ensure when the state’s unwanted, sick or unadoptable shelter animals have to be euthanized, the procedure will only be done by injection of sodium pentobarbital, which is considered to be the only acceptable and humane means of euthanasia for shelter pets.

The bill would essentially outlaw the use of carbon dioxide and monoxide chambers, which are currently used by some shelters in Michigan.

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