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Indestructible cat puts West Valley City euthanasia policy in question

Published January 3, 2012 4:30 pm

Euthanasia • Animal shelter volunteer urges switch to lethal injections.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

West Valley City is being urged to bag its gas chamber less than three months after its most famous feline survived not one, but two euthanasia attempts by carbon monoxide.

On Tuesday, a concerned volunteer who helps at the city's animal shelter plans to make her case before the City Council that lethal injection is preferable to the "inhumane and expensive" practice of using a carbon monoxide gas chamber. While no formal presentation is scheduled, a public comment period begins at 6:30 p.m. at West Valley City Hall, 3600 S. Constitution Blvd.

Andrea, the stray black cat who burned through two of her nine lives in October — and lived — might disagree.

The cat was put on the death list last fall when no one had adopted her after 30 days at the shelter. Andrea was plopped in the gas chamber to be euthanized but showed signs of life when workers came to retrieve her. They tried again. After gassing Andrea a second time, then finding no vital signs, workers placed the cat in a plastic bag in a cooler.

Later, Andrea was found alive in the bag.

"She's pretty tough, obviously," Janita Coombs, a volunteer with the Community Animal Welfare Society who agreed to take care of Andrea, told The Tribune after the botched euthanasia attempts. "She's definitely got some will to live."

The animal welfare group, which agreed to find a permanent home for Andrea, is seeking information on why the gas chamber failed.

Aaron Crim, West Valley City's director of public relations, said the shelter workers followed proper procedures.







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