ASPCA Honors Rep. Jason Villalba with Freshman Humane Legislator Award

Legislator recognized for his efforts to ban animal gas chambers in Texas
October 25, 2013

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) today honored Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) with a Freshman Humane Legislator Award in recognition of his work on behalf of animals. The award was presented at the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center, located near Rep. Villalba’s hometown district.

In 2013, Rep. Villalba co-sponsored legislation to ban the use of gas chambers for dogs and cats, making Texas the 21st state to pass such a law. Addison Higgins, a young animal advocate, and her mother Amy, who lobbied Rep. Villalba in support of the ban on gas chambers, were on hand at the event, along with shelter dogs from the SPCA of Texas. Additionally, representatives from the ASPCA, the HSUS, and THLN were in attendance to discuss the impact of this new law on animal welfare.

“The ASPCA is proud to present Representative Villalba with this award,” said Deborah Foote, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Southwest region. “It is critically important that when euthanasia is administered, it be done with compassion and care and gas chambers are not a humane option. We thank Representative Villalba for his commitment to passing this legislation.”

“I am honored to be recognized by my friends at the ASPCA and proud to have constituents like Addison Higgins, who care enough to share their views on important issues like the compassionate treatment of animals,” said Rep. Villalba. “I am proud that, as a member of the Texas Legislature, we are able to set responsible and reasonable standards for the humane treatment of all animals.”

“After working for multiple sessions to get gas chambers out of animal shelters, we were thrilled to finally get the Anti Gassing bill passed,” said Cile Holloway, president of the Texas Humane Legislation Network. “Now, no Texas shelters will be employing the use of a gas chamber.”

Prior to the enactment of this legislation, the Texas Humane Euthanasia Act allowed for euthanasia to be administered one of two ways: via a sodium pentobarbital injection, also referred to as euthanasia by injection, or by commercially compressed carbon monoxide gas. This new law will limit the approved methods to injection only, which, when performed properly, is the safest, most humane method, and the least stressful to the animal. The ASPCA and THLN successfully worked together in a joint partnership to help pass this bill this session.

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