An update on Bennettsville Animal Shelter: Gas chamber destroyed and pets going to rescues

This is an update on the animal shelter neglect situation taking place at Bennettsville Animal Shelter located in Marlboro County, South Carolina. Please read the October 28 PoC article that tells how the outcry on social media brought this rural shelter into the spotlight. Thanks to the quick action of animal advocates, a gas chamber has been destroyed and neglected shelter pets (except for one, rest in peace) are on their way to a forever home.

Dogs being prepped for rescue from Bennettsville Animal Shelter
Dogs being prepped for rescue from Bennettsville Animal Shelter
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

President of the Marlboro County Humane Society, Jennifer Hyduke, along with a veterinarian, Marlboro County Humane Society volunteers, and even Mayor Heath Harpe were on hand to start the animals at Bennettsville Animal Shelter on their way to a forever home.

Getting ready for rescue
Getting ready for rescue

At the time of the social media outcry, two kittens were housed at the shelter. One is said to have been returned to the owner and the other was/is being rescued. Jennifer said her team has had problems with the shelter in the past, but now it’s time for a change. The former way of doing things apparently hindered dog and cat rescues from getting the animals out of the shelter and into a new home. Part of this stems from the shelter not allowing photos to be taken of the available dogs and cats.

Gas chamber being removed
Gas chamber being removed

The 17 dogs at the shelter were examined by Dr. Terry Eades of Marlboro Veterinary Services, given their rabies vaccinations, and checked for heartworms and other diseases. Two of the dogs were sick, with one being humanely euthanized. Jennifer told Animal Control

“We made it very clear with the animal control officer and I’ve spoken to the mayor numerous times, they can’t bring any other animals into this shelter unless they’re vaccinated and quarantined away from the one’s we’re vetting tonight.”

While the dogs were being vetted, county Animal Control assisted city Animal Control with cleaning and bleaching the kennels inside the shelter. Mayor Harpe stated

“We’re working with the county animal control guy and we’re gonna use his protocols going forward.There should be a standard arrangement on each dog going forward.”

Good riddance!
Good riddance!

Part of this standard means vaccinating and photographing each animal on intake, because without healthy animals and photos of healthy animals, rescues won’t know which animals they’d like to take. The current paperwork was in such a shambles that volunteers had to guess at the age of each animal because no one had taken the time to fill out current and accurate information.



Mayor Harpe said the city is planning to renovate the current shelter once all the dogs are gone. The first step in the Bennettsville Animal Shelter reform was the tearing out of the gas chamber. It’s GONE! The Humane Society of the United States-South Carolina posted the news November 2 on their Facebook page

“BREAKING NEWS: The gas chamber at the City of Bennettsville Animal Shelter has finally been removed! Congratulations to the city for dismantling this terrible device and many thanks to Mayor Harpe for personally overseeing its removal!”


This story shows the impact animal advocates can make when they speak up about what is a potentially a harmful situation for dogs and cats being housed in a shelter environment. Without social media intervention, I feel sure this shelter would have continued to do what they’ve always done. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, speak up! Post on social media. There’s always someone watching Facebook who will know the best course of action to get the help needed.

A video can be seen by clicking here.


Source 1

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

8 thoughts on “An update on Bennettsville Animal Shelter: Gas chamber destroyed and pets going to rescues”

  1. Too bad the “gas chamber” was destroyed, as that is an even more humane way for any living thing to die than lethal injection. Go watch the video from BBC’s “Horizon” series – “The Science of Killing” to educate yourselves on this subject. Now you have condemned all animals that MUST be put-down to die by less humane methods. How “humane” and caring of you all. But then ignorance is as ignorance does. Spread some more of your ignorance around so even more animals have to die by less humane ways. Your roads to hell have been clearly paved.

  2. Such a happy story. Thanks, Elisa. I’ll bet rescue groups and others were about crazy because this shelter hindered animal rescues. Not allowing pics to be taken sends up a big, red flag.

  3. To be perfectly honest I had no idea anyone was still using gas to kill shelter animals. Animals in shelters should be afforded the same method of euthanasia as we demand for our beloved pets when the time comes. Even as kill shelters become fewer there has to be something to protect animals from being tortured just because they are unwanted.

    1. I’m very glad the gas chamber was destroyed! But just because they are killed by a method other than gas chambers, doesn’t mean it’s not painful or that it’s done correctly. Some shelters use heart sticks which are very painful, etc. Some shelters underdose with kill serum according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, which results in prolonged length of time to die.

      1. It’s a long standing problem. I don’t know if there is a viable reason for a heart stick. My best guess is it should be illegal.

    2. A gas-chamber is even more humane than the method that you demand your vet to use. Educate yourself on how inert non-toxic gases are used to induce hypoxia — loss of oxygen in the blood. Any living sentient thing passes away in a state of complete bliss, never even knowing they are facing death. This holds true for humans too, and has even earned the name “Rapture of the Deep” for deep-sea divers who get into that precarious situation. The experience is so blissful that they don’t even want to stop it. Should I ever be forced to choose how to die I would gladly choose death by hypoxia.

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