September 21, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
73°F

Cat gas chamber crushed by the dollar

MEDINA — As many as 50 people from all over Ohio donated about $2,500 Saturday afternoon to take a sledgehammer to a gas chamber once used to euthanize Medina County’s stray cats.

Kathy Cofer, 53, of Medina, takes a mighty swing with a sledgehammer at the Medina County Animal Shelter’s cat gas chamber during a fundraiser Saturday sponsored by the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Kathy Cofer, 53, of Medina, takes a mighty swing with a sledgehammer at the Medina County Animal Shelter’s cat gas chamber during a fundraiser Saturday sponsored by the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (ED SUBA JR. / AKRON BEACON JOURNAL)

Stephanie Moore, executive director of the county’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said she was surprised by how much money was raised.

“That’s way more than I was expecting,” Moore said. “We were just taking donations to take a whack at the gas chamber, and people were bidding over $100 at a time to hit it. I expected maybe to raise a couple hundred dollars.”

She said the money wasn’t the goal of the event, though — the purpose was to raise awareness about “cruel” methods of euthanasia, like suffocation that results from gas chambers.

“We put a pretty good dent in that sucker,” she said.

After Saturday’s event, Lodi-based CRD Metals loaded up the chamber to crush it.

The SPCA acquired the gas chamber in December from the county animal shelter, which was one of five shelters in Ohio still using gas chambers for euthanasia.

The animal shelter stopped using the gas chamber after county commissioners contracted with the SPCA to take over the job of handling lost, stray and abandoned non-feral cats.

The commissioners sold the chamber to the SPCA for a dollar after Moore told them an anonymous source would donate $10,000 to the SPCA if the gas chamber was turned over for destruction. The commissioners had planned to put it up for sale on a government website.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.