MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) -- Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin said in a letter to the Cobb County animal shelter that the facility is illegally using a gas chamber to euthanize unwanted pets.
The Department of Agriculture oversees shelter licensing and inspections and had previously approved the facility at an inspection in May. The letter tells the shelter to, "begin taking whatever steps are necessary to make arrangements for alternative means of euthanizing" the animals.
Cobb officials say the licensing of the gas chamber was a state issue that dealt with how the department viewed a 1990 requirement that new or refitted shelters in counties of more than 25,000 switch to lethal injection. Cobb's shelter was built in 1995.
The letter comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed against the Agriculture Department for allegedly allowing some shelters in the state to continue using gas although they should have converted to lethal injection.
A Superior Court judge held the Agriculture Department in contempt for allowing Cobb County to continue using the gas chamber.
The letter to Cobb County, written Monday, was included in an Agriculture Department pleading yesterday, seeking to have the contempt citation lifted.
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