Proposed legislation would ban gas chambers to euthanize pets in Utah

Jan 19, 2023, 3:28 PM | Updated: 3:34 pm

Proposed bill to end gas chambers as a method of euthanizing animals....

Katherine Heigl and Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, speak at a press conference about gas chamber euthanasia of animals in shelters at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. Heigl, a longtime animal advocate, wants to see the end of gas chambers in Utah. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY  —  Utah is one of three states that allow for the use of gas chambers as a method to euthanize pets. Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, has proposed legislation to ban the use of gas chambers in Utah.

On Wednesday, actress and Utah resident, Katherine Heigl spoke at the Utah Capitol in support of McKell’s bill. 

“I am a proud Utah resident,” Heigl said.  “I love it here and (am) grateful to call this place my home. In my opinion, this is a bit of a black mark on this incredibly sacred place.” 

Heigl is a founder of the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, which promotes better care for animals in shelters around the US. It also provides information about practices it believes are inhumane when euthanizing animals. 


Utah’s image is one of the reasons McKell has sponsored this bill. “We don’t want to be the last state to eliminate gas chambers for our animals,” McKell told KSL NewsRadios’ Dave and Dujanovic. 

A similar bill proposed in 2022 did not pass. McKell said that lawmakers ran out of time.

“We started early this year, the bill is out,” said McKell. He said he is confident that lawmakers will have progress with it this year.

“That’s really expensive to do something really tragic,” McKell said when talking about the cost of end-of-life care for pets. He told Dave and Dujanovic that he is focused on the issue and that he is working with Heigl to find better options for Utahns going through the heartache of an aging or sick pet. 

Thankfully, only a handful of shelters still use this method in Utah. McKell says the practice is “not that common” but he still sees it as a problem that “should be eliminated.”

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Proposed legislation would ban gas chambers to euthanize pets in Utah