Warning: This story may disturb some readers.
Veterinarian Bill Baber euthanizes animals for the Sumner County Animal Shelter in Gallatin, Tennessee, but the method of how he euthanizes cats and dogs is illegal and cruel and has even been documented on videotape.
Normally, the euthanasia method is made to be as painless as possible. A shot is given to sedate the animal, and then a lethal injection is administered to a vein which leads to the animal’s quiet death.
In the tape, dogs were brought in and Baber lethally injected the animals right into the heart with no sedation. Veterinarians call this method a heart shot, and this method is prohibited by state law from administering it unless the animal is heavily sedated or comatose.
The Sumner County Animal Shelter bans the heart shot which is also known as intracardiac euthansia.
The tape also shows doctors stepping on animals to help control them and then administering the shot. Animals were brought in sometimes as often as once a minute, and in one case, 60 animals were put down in one day.
â€œIt’s so quick-paced. It’s just pop, pop, pop. It’s all about the money,â€ a trustee for the Sumner County Animal Shelter said.
Baber is paid $9 by the county for each animal he euthanizes. Last year, he was paid more than $22,000 for euthanizing animals.
In response to what he did on the video, Baber didn’t deny what he is doing and said he isn’t doing anything wrong. Although there are euthanasia guidelines set by law for veterinary technicians to follow, it’s unclear if that also applies to veterinarians.
Baber added, “There’s a difference between shelter medicine and veterinary medicine. It ain’t pretty. I do a difficult job to the best of my ability.â€
Sumner County Executive Hank Thompson, who hired Baber, said that the county has received previous complaints about Baber and told him to stop.
But he also said Baber isn’t to blame for this controversy. He said the problem starts with irresponsible pet owners who don’t spay and neuter their animals and dump dogs and cats in rural areas.
Thompson said he will continue to employ Baber to euthanize animals for the county.
A Gallatin resident hopes to organize a protest against Baber and wants to present evidence against him to the state veterinary board.