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Pilots N Paws

Dog Survives Gas Chamber in Alabama and is Sent to New Jersey for Adoption!

Rockaway group take’s in ‘miracle’  Alabama stray that survives pounds’ gas chamber!

By Ryan Hudgins/The Star Ledger

Photos: Aristide Economoupolis/The Star Ledger

Morris County: The animal-control officer loaded the dogs, one by one, into the death chamber. Four or five were facing their final moments of life as Cody Berry did what he had to do.

“It’s the toughest part of the job,” said Berry, who has spent the last five months working for the Animal Control Department in Florence, Ala.

Berry turned the key and pressed a button. A light came on, and carbon monoxide seeped into the chamber.

The 21-year-old officer walked away as the fumes overtook the animals that day last month. He spoke to a man who had come in hoping to adopt a beagle. A beagle just like the one dying in the other room.

A few minutes passed before Berry returned to the room. He turned the key and the light went off. Then something moved inside the chamber.

Berry was startled. Could a dog really have survived?

 “I opened the door, he stood right up and walked right out,” Berry said. “He was fine.”

Daniel sitting on tarmac at the airport

It was the beagle, scared but unharmed by the chemicals that were supposed to kill him. There was no going back to the gallows for the miracle dog, destined, it turned out, for the Garden State. Volunteers at the pound took him, brought him to a veterinarian and then put word out to rescue groups around the country — to a little-known network of animal lovers.

Pilot Scott Messingers Pilots N Paws plane arrives!

Eventually the story of the stray that cheated death came to New Jersey. And on Wednesday, the 20-pound beagle mix, a sweet and calm guy now named Daniel, followed his legend north.

“He’s one in a million,” said Linda Schiller, the founder of Rockaway-based Eleventh Hour Rescue, a network of volunteers who took Daniel in. “This doesn’t happen. They don’t survive.”

It’s not unheard of, but Daniel does join a rare group of animals to make it out of the death chamber unharmed. He’s also the next “poster child” for those fighting to end the use of gas as a form of animal euthanasia.

Daniel greets volunteer Roger with Eleventh Hour Rescue

The practice has been banned in some states, New Jersey included. It becomes illegal in Alabama next year under a law named for Beckham, another dog who survived a brush with it. But across the country, many pounds still use the chambers instead of lethal injection.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, whose guidelines on euthanasia are set to be updated soon, says carbon monoxide is heavier than air so some animals could raise their heads above it. The group says the chambers are acceptable for putting down dogs.

But the American Humane Association, which has been lobbying to end the use of gas chambers for years, maintains the procedure can cost more than injections and can be painful for the animals. The group’s members prefer adoptions, but sometimes animals have to be put down.

“If they have to be, then we want them to have a good death, without struggle,” said Patricia Olson, the association’s chief veterinary adviser.

Daniel, conversely, is going to have a good life, Eleventh Hour Rescue members say.

On Wednesday, he was taken to Jackson, Tenn., where he joined 11 other rescued dogs in a cramped, single-engine airplane. Scott Messinger, a volunteer with the group Pilots N Paws, flew the dogs north, making several stops before arriving at the Essex County Airport in Fairfield. Messinger, a Philadelphia resident, and other pilots with the organization provide transport for animal-rescue groups.

Volunteers and Pilot Scott Messinger say hello to Daniel

As soon as Daniel was on the ground, his tail started wagging. The dog, about 5 years old, seemed to have affection for everyone who came near him. For now, he’ll stay with Jill Pavlik, a volunteer who fosters animals for Eleventh Hour. He’s likely to be adopted soon, the group said.

Daniel meets foster mom Jill at the Essex County Airport

But Daniel isn’t going to fade from the limelight, said Roger Keyser, another volunteer.

“This dog has got to have some destiny,” he said.

Daniel the poster child for NO GASSING campaign

For updates on Daniel’s progress, go to ehrdogs.org

The Birmingham News of Alabama contributed to this report.

More from Pilot Scott Messinger, one of Daniel’s Heroes:
We started in Jackson, Tenn at 7am, where we met Daniel, and 11 other dogs for their trip up north to their waiting rescue groups.
First stop was the 3 hour leg to  Greenville, NC where we dropped off 2 beagles to Ann from Sandhill Beagles.
Next stop up the coast was Easton, MD and Tammy, where we dropped off our 2 puggles.
Last stop- Caldwell, NJ,  where we landed with Daniel, our Gas Chamber Survivor beagle.
Daniels entire fan club was present, including 2 TV news cameras, and 2 newspapers, and about 20 or more people who couldn’t wait to make his acquaintence.
Daniel will now be a celebrity, and his gas chamber survival ordeal will serve to highlight the horrors of gassing dogs.
Here are 2 pics. 
The first is Daniel, moments after surviving the gas chamber ordeal.

Daniel shortly after surviving the gas chamber.....

The 2nd shot is a much happier Daniel.  It shows Daniel and I having a “moment” just before takeoff.

Daniel and Scott, think Daniel is saying thank you Scott!



16 thoughts on “Dog Survives Gas Chamber in Alabama and is Sent to New Jersey for Adoption!”

  1. Linda Henning says:

    Tears! Amazing. Such a will to live. How can humans be so cruel as to abandon their pets. I adopted a rescue who was dumped as a baby. Thank you to all the rescue organizations and Pilots and Paws.

  2. Hi, I hope Daniel geta a great family! No more gas chambers for dogs or cats! Let’s think of sanctuaries or maybe group homes for pets without families to adopt them. Eugenia Renskoff

  3. Karen Bauer says:

    I am thrilled to hear there is a group like PilotsNPaws. Thank goodness there are big hearted people like you all in the world! It gives me hope. Bless you, bless you, bless you.

  4. Lin says:

    Gassing is a cruel practice. Anyone, inluding the American Veterinary Association, who thinks gassing is an acceptable way of murdering (yes, murdering) animals needs their heads examined! Watch a video of animals being gassed. You will never be the same. It will break your heart. Thank God Daniel survived.

  5. diane says:

    thank you to scott for picking him up and taking him up north. and to all the animal lovers who help these helpless animals , that dont need to die. god bless you all!!

  6. Melissa Moncada says:

    That’s just cruel to gas those innocent doggies. I am so glad Daniel survived, he is such an adorable little boy. I am horrified by this, just breaks my heart.

  7. amalia stamatelatos says:

    WOW!!! Such a will to live! and, so happy their are no after affects. I just wished they all lived.

  8. Fernanda says:

    OMG! this is an amazing lesson!! from how an animal survival can touch this many subject at once, kuddos to our PILOTS and RESCUES!! and LOVES and HUGS to DANIEL!!!!!

  9. Jane says:

    We need to do more for our fury friends and all of the rescue organizations. Daniel is my poster dog.

  10. Chris Wooten says:

    Thank god for that..I own a beagle and they are the sweetest dogs you can own..Where is that site that you sign to stop the gas of animals?

  11. Terrie Varnado says:

    Thank you to ALL of the people that played a part in Daniel’s rescue, as well as the other 11 dogs whose lives were spared, as a result of this this flight! It truly takes a village to save and move one dog! Most people have no idea of the time, energy and expense!

    Scott M.,our pilot with Pilots n Paws and our angel with wings….you rock, as usual! Without you and your selfless acts of flying the dogs for us …at your expense…we could not save nearly as many as we do! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do continually!!

    Also, a big thanks and high 5 paws to:

    Karen R. with Schnauzer Savers Rescue in TN, who pulled, vetted, and fostered Daniel and the 11 other dogs for the flight.

    Robyn U. with Pet ResQ, Inc.in Tenafly, New Jersey who contacted Linda with 11th Hour to secure rescue for Daniel and eight of the others on the flight.

    Ann R. with Sandhill Beagle Rescue in NC for taking two other Beagles into her rescue from the flight.

    And, Tammy D., of Celebrating Pugs in MD, who accepted two Puggles into her rescue from the flight.

    Without each person doing their particular part in this…none of these dogs would be alive today!!! Our village! :o)

    Kudos! Good job everyone!
    Let’s save some more!
    Terrie Varnado
    OTRA Animal Rescue Transport Coordinator

  12. Carolyn Edwards says:

    Thank you Eleventh Hour Rescue for taking Daniel. You helped to save my Markson 5 years ago and I am forever grateful to have him in my family. I know whoever adopts Daniel will feel the same. He is one very lucky dog! And you are one amazing rescue group!

  13. Chris Wooten says:

    I have saved 4 dogs and 11 cats over the past 2 years. I still have one cat now in my house. I am feeding another feral outside now..hoping to one day capture it to take to vet for shots and surgery. I have tried to weeks to get in contact with Alley Cat.org to loan me a trap cage. Anyone know where in Gaston County North Carolina I can borrow a cage. I would like to take the cat to the vet..but it is a feral and no safe way to do it without the correct trap/cage. This is not to be killed this is to get all its shots..and surgery so it can not product babies.

    Contact me at [email protected]
    Gaston County North Carolina
    Chris Wooten

  14. Chris Wooten says:

    Every one please donate money for this group to help buy their gas. Even if all you can afford is one dollar..just think how fast that would add up.

    I have a beagle name Bailey and he is spoiled rotten. I live in Gastonia North Carolina. They are so sweet. If no one adopts him. Contact me [email protected] maybe they could fly him NC while Scott is traveling this Thursday through NC.

    Chris Wooten
    [email protected]

  15. mary murray says:

    I just read Daniel was Adopted!

  16. Jimbo Leowinski says:

    It is common knowledge that many of the serials that abound in today’s society
    started with the slaughter of innocent
    animals, dogs, cats..
    Maybe the American Veterinary Association
    and the kill shelters should smoke that
    in their pipes..
    Perhaps one day the animal control officer might have the opportunity of meeting one..

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