“Yes, I Gas Dogs and Cats for a Living. I’m an Animal Control officer in a very small town in central North Carolina. I’m in my mid thirties, and have been working for the town in different positions since high school.
There is not much work here, and working for the county provides good pay and benefits for a person like me without a higher education. I’m the person you all write about how horrible I am.
I’m the one that gasses the dogs and cats and makes them suffer. I’m the one that pulls their dead corpses out smelling of Carbon Monoxide and throws them into green plastic bags. But I’m also the one that hates my job and hates what I have to do.
The shelter usually gasses on Friday morning.
Friday’s are the day that most people look forward to, this is the day that I hate, and wish that time will stand still on Thursday night. Thursday night, late, after nobody’s around, my friend and I go through a fast food line, and buy 50 dollars worth of cheeseburgers and fries, and chicken. I’m not allowed to feed the dogs on Thursday, for I’m told that they will make a mess in the gas chamber, and why waste the food.
So, Thursday night, with the lights still closed, I go into the saddest room that anyone can every imagine, and let all the doomed dogs out out their cages.
I have never been bit, and in all my years doing this, the dogs have never fought over the food. My buddy and I, open each wrapper of cheeseburger and chicken sandwich, and feed them to the skinny, starving dogs.
They swallow the food so fast, that I don’t believe they even taste it. There tails are wagging, and some don’t even go for the food, they roll on their backs wanting a scratch on their bellys. They start running, jumping and kissing me and my buddy. They go back to their food, and come back to us. All their eyes are on us with such trust and hope, and their tails wag so fast, that I have come out with black and blues on my thighs.. They devour the food, then it’s time for them to devour some love and peace. My buddy and I sit down on the dirty, pee stained concrete floor, and we let the dogs jump on us. They lick us, they put their butts in the air to play, and they play with each other. Some lick each other, but most are glued on me and my buddy.
I look into the eyes of each dog. I give each dog a name.
They will not die without a name.
I give each dog 5 minutes of unconditional love and touch.
I talk to them, and tell them that I’m so sorry that tomorrow they will die a gruesome, long, torturous death at the hands of me in the gas chamber.
Some tilt their heads to try to understand.
I tell them, that they will be in a better place, and I beg them not to hate me.
I tell them that I know I’m going to hell, but they will all be playing with all the dogs and cats in heaven.
After about 30 minutes, I take each dog individually, into their feces filled concrete jail cell, and pet them and scratch them under their chins. Some give me their paw, and I just want to die. I just want to die. I close the jail cell on each dog, and ask them to forgive me. As my buddy and I are walking out, we watch as every dog is smiling at us and them don’t even move their heads. They will sleep, with a full belly, and a false sense of security.
As we walk out of the doomed dog room, my buddy and I go to the cat room.
We take our box, and put the very friendly kittens and pregnant cats in our box. The shelter doesn’t keep tabs on the cats, like they do the dogs.
As I hand pick which cats are going to make it out, I feel like I’m playing God, deciding whose going to live and die.
We take the cats into my truck, and put them on blankets in the back.
Usually, as soon as we start to drive away, there are purring cats sitting on our necks or rubbing against us.
My buddy and I take our one way two hour trip to a county that is very wealthy and they use injection to kill animals.
We go to exclusive neighborhoods, and let one or two cats out at a time.
They don’t want to run, they want to stay with us. We shoo them away, which makes me feel sad.
I tell them that these rich people will adopt them, and if worse comes to worse and they do get put down, they will be put down with a painless needle being cradled by a loving veterinarian. After the last cat is free, we drive back to our town.
It’s about 5 in the morning now, about two hours until I have to gas my best friends.
I go home, take a shower, take my 4 anti-anxiety pills and drive to work.. I don’t eat, I can’t eat. It’s now time, to put these animals in the gas chamber. I put my ear plugs in, and when I go to the collect the dogs, the dogs are so excited to see me, that they jump up to kiss me and think they are going to play.
I put them in the rolling cage and take them to the gas chamber. They know. They just know. They can smell the death.. They can smell the fear. They start whimpering, the second I put them in the box. The boss tells me to squeeze in as many as I can to save on gas. He watches. He knows I hate him, he knows I hate my job. I do as I’m told. He watches until all the dogs, and cats (thrown in together) are fighting and screaming. The sounds is very muffled to me because of my ear plugs. He walks out, I turn the gas on, and walk out.
I walk out as fast as I can. I walk into the bathroom, and I take a pin and draw blood from my hand. Why? The pain and blood takes my brain off of what I just did.
In 40 minutes, I have to go back and unload the dead animals. I pray that none survived, which happens when I overstuff the chamber. I pull them out with thick gloves, and the smell of carbon monoxide makes me sick. So does the vomit and blood, and all the bowel movements. I pull them out, put them in plastic bags.
They are in heaven now, I tell myself. I then start cleaning up the mess, the mess, that YOU PEOPLE are creating by not spay or neutering your animals. The mess that YOU PEOPLE are creating by not demanding that a vet come in and do this humanely. You ARE THE TAXPAYERS, DEMAND that this practice STOP!
So, don’t call me the monster, the devil, the gasser, call the politicians, the shelter directors, and the county people the devil. Heck, call the governor, tell him to make it stop.
As usual, I will take sleeping pills tonight to drown out the screams I heard in the past, before I discovered the ear plugs. I will jump and twitch in my sleep, and I believe I’m starting to hallucinate.
This is my life. Don’t judge me. Believe me, I judge myself enough”.