For the Anne Arundel County Animal control facility in Maryland, euthanasia is a part of the normal routine.
For both animals and employees, a sedative called Ketamine makes the horrible job easier because shelter employees said that the animals are completely out and don’t feel pain when they are given Ketamine.
But Ketamine is not just being used on animals but it is also used on the street as a date rape drug. Because of this, the DEA regulates it. Last July, Anne Arundel Animal Control and other shelters across the state were denied access to Ketamine.
They were told that since they don’t have a full time veterinarian, they can no longer buy Ketamine.
Instead the shelter had to switch to a weaker muscle relaxer called Xylazine.
Shelter Commander Lt. James Richey said, “The animal is still aware of its surroundings. It can still hear things, it can react to sounds and there’s the possibility it could snap at the person handling it.”
Also, this change has made the shelter alter their policy of allowing owners to be back with their pet while they are being euthanized. They don’t want the owners to see their pet possibly jerking or moving before they need to administer the euthanasia drug.
The Department of Agriculture and several other agencies are trying to change the policy so shelters can stockpile and use Ketamine, even if a vet is not there.