Barks, cheers and howls filled the air Sunday at Thorncroft Equestrian Center, where about 200 community members and their dogs gathered for state Sen. Andy Dinniman's Rally To Support Daniel's Law.
Over the din, Dinniman shouted, "The dogs know gassing is wrong, and they're barking it out! Now it's time for us to give words to those barks."
Daniel's Law, Senate Bill 1329, would outlaw carbon monoxide gassing of animals in Pennsylvania and require licensing for "euthanasia technicians." Currently, gassing is a permissible form of animal euthanasia in Pennsylvania. Dinniman's bill would ensure that the injection of sodium pentobarbital or a deriative would be the only legal method of animal euthanasia in the state.
Speakers at the weekend event included Chester County SPCA President Conrad Muhly, Main Line Animal Rescue member Lisa Fischer, veterinarian Ilana Reisner, CEO of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County Dolly Wideman-Scott and State Rep. Curt Schroder.
The bill is named after a five-year-old beagle named Daniel, who survived gassing at an Alabama animal shelter on Oct. 3. Daniel has gained national recognition for surviving the gassing and been called a "miracle dog." He is named after the biblical character of Daniel, who survived the lion's den.
The pup was present at the rally on Sunday, along with Linda Schiller, one of Daniel's rescuers and the president of Eleventh Hour Rescue, a New Jersey-based organization that works to speed the adoptions of pets that will be euthanized if they don't find a home.
"There is a message in our culture that we euthanize only sick, hurt or suffering animals and those with behavioral problems, when every day, we kill thousands of highly adoptable animals," Schiller said, while petting a happy Daniel.
"His tail was wagging when he came out of the gas chamber, his tail was wagging the day I picked him up, and it hasn't stopped wagging since," Schiller said.
It can take more than 20 minutes for an animal to die by gassing.
"Gassing is always painful—always. One hundred percent of the time," Main Line Animal Rescue member Lisa Fischer told the crowd.
Dinniman encouraged community members to write, email and call their representatives to support the bill, and specifically state Sen. Elder Vogel, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
"[Pets] are such a precious and valuable aspect of our society. And remember … a rally is one thing. You should leave here feeling good, but you have to act," Dinniman said.