Along with several other dogs doomed to the same fate, a 5-year-old stray Beagle was placed inside the gas chamber at an Alabama animal shelter 10 years ago.
An animal control officer turned on the gas and then returned 17 minutes later to remove the bodies of dogs who’d just suffered horrible deaths.
When he opened the door, imagine his surprise when the Beagle wobbled out, wagging his tail.
Instead of having to return to the gas chamber, the miracle dog was named Daniel, after the Bible figure who escaped the lion’s den. He was flown by the rescue organization Pilots N Paws to Eleventh Hour Rescue in New Jersey, where he had a better chance of being adopted.
It didn’t take long for the friendly Beagle to find a loving forever home. He was adopted by the Dwyer family, who cared for Daniel for nearly a decade. Last month, Daniel was diagnosed with the cancer hemangiosarcoma, which had spread to his lungs. Sadly, there was no miracle for Daniel this time around. He died on June 29.
But what an amazing 10 years that lucky dog had! I wrote about many amazing animals for i Love Dogs, and Daniel was one of my favorites. Not only did he become a celebrity, appearing on many TV shows and on a float in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade, but he also became a “spokesdog” against the cruelty of using gas chambers to euthanize shelter animals.
At the time that Daniel was adopted, these torture chambers were used in 31 states. In 2014, gas chambers were banned in Pennsylvania thanks to “Daniel’s Law,” named in his honor. As of 2020, gas chambers were still actively used in only four states: Missouri, Ohio, Utah and Wyoming.
Fortunately, legislation to outlaw gas chambers is currently being considered in Utah and Wyoming. Two weeks before Daniel died, the last remaining gas chamber in Ohio was dismantled.
Gas chambers, which use carbon monoxide to painfully kill unwanted shelter animals, are considered inhumane by most animal welfare groups and, I would hope, anyone with a conscience.
“Animals are placed into a small, dark box, one that’s sometimes full of the smells of the animals who came before them — many of whom may have urinated or defecated before they died,” notes the Humane Society of the United States. “For several minutes, they may be in the box, terrified, clawing and calling for a way out. They may struggle for air or begin convulsing before finally losing consciousness.”
If you want to honor Daniel’s life, please consider making a donation to Eleventh Hour Rescue, Pilots N Paws, or your local animal shelter or rescue group. If you live in Wyoming or Utah, contact your representatives and urge them to pass laws banning the use gas chambers in animal shelters.
“After getting his second chance, Daniel was a little Beagle with a big mission to help save the lives of other homeless animals,” Eleventh Hour Rescue wrote on its Facebook page June 29. “His life truly was spared for a greater purpose and our rescue was honored to play a part in his story.” Amen.