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October 23, 2012

Saving Pets in Pennsylvania and Beyond

I’m in Pittsburgh today, and the day started on the CBS television affiliate with me and former Survivor winner and HSUS spokesperson Jenna Morasca talking about animal issues in the community and the nation. Jenna has recorded PSAs for us about the importance of including pets in disaster planning, and we’re hoping to see her at our To the Rescue gala in New York City on Nov. 2.

Staff of the Animal Rescue League in Pittsburgh with Wayne Pacelle and Gizmo
Gizmo with his adopter, Wayne Pacelle, and
representatives from ARL and the mayor's office.

I toured two shelters here in Pittsburgh doing life-saving work—the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center and Animal Friends. These groups and so many others are working hard to drive down euthanasia rates in Allegheny County and the surrounding counties that constitute the biggest human and animal population center of western Pennsylvania.

It is a particularly exciting day to be in Pennsylvania, with Gov. Tom Corbett expected to sign an HSUS-backed bill today or tomorrow to ban the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for animal euthanasia in the state. I got a chance to see Rep. John Maher, the author of the bill and a stalwart HSUS ally who we named Pennsylvania Humane Legislator of the Year in 2012. He toured the Animal Rescue League shelter with me, where I also met a dog named Gizmo who The HSUS helped rescue from a dogfighting ring in 2011. After care at an emergency shelter from HSUS staff and Hello Bully, the Animal Rescue League (an HSUS Emergency Placement Partner) took Gizmo in and found him a great home.

We all want the day to come soon when no healthy and treatable pets are euthanized in shelters—and that can only be accomplished with an increase in adoptions and spay and neuter surgeries, along with a host of other community-wide programs to save the lives of dogs and cats. But until then, The HSUS is determined to end euthanasia via carbon monoxide gas chambers, which are inhumane, outmoded, and unacceptable. Pennsylvania will be the 20th state to ban these devices. We’ve also supported similar bans in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and other states. To help phase out this method, The HSUS offers training and assistance to shelters committed to switching away from these chambers.

We’re making progress on this issue, and meanwhile shelters like the Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends are helping to get us closer to our broader and more lasting goal: an end of euthanasia and a home for every dog and cat. It’s always inspiring for me to see how many people are working so hard to achieve this goal, which is within our reach if we focus on the goal and make the right moves in the months and years ahead.

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