The most inhumane methods of animal euthanasia are now outlawed in Indiana thanks to House Bill 1615, which Governor Holcomb just signed into law.

Approved unanimously in the house, the bill deals with how animal shelters euthanize animals, approving only the use of sodium pentobarbital or similar drugs to painlessly send animals to sleep

Methods such as gas chambers, freezing, electrocution, and using carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide are now banned; anyone caught killing an animal using electrocution can now be charged with a level 6 felony and face up to two and a half years in prison. The laws apply to all animal control programs, humane societies, or government entities operating animal shelters.

As barbaric as it may seem, archaic euthanasia methods are still used in some shelters in the U.S. Animals killed using gas chambers experience convulsions and muscle spasms as they die a slow and traumatic death. Those who are electrocuted suffer horrifically in the seconds before they die.

The new legislation comes less than a year after an Indiana shelter was accused of freezing kittens to death. Although no charges were filed, the shelter was shut down in late 2018.

The bill also expands and clarifies some definitions of animal cruelty, ensuring more protections for abused animals.

Initially, HB1615 attempted to increase the penalties for abuse or neglect resulting in death from a misdemeanor to a felony, but sadly it was stripped back considerably in order to pass.

“This legislation is not everything I would have liked, but it does take significant steps toward sending a clear message that if you choose to abuse animals, you will pay for it,” said bill author Ryan Hatfield (D-Evansville).

We applaud the passage of this bill, but urge Indiana legislators to continue the push to make animal cruelty a felony in the state.