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Animal euthanasia by carbon monoxide creates a lot of controversy, but recent changes at a local animal shelter hope to calm the debate there.

As of Feb. 1, the Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center in New Bern eliminated euthanasia by carbon monoxide for dogs and cats. Over the past several years, dogs and cats without proof of ownership stayed at Animal Services for a period of time until they are adopted or put to sleep in a gas chamber at the facility.

Now, euthanasia by injection will be used there, a process the Animal Shelter has been moving toward for quite some time, not only to save money but also change to a procedure that many people see as more humane.

"We are an open facility, meaning we have to take everything that comes in our front door. And we don't have the option of turning anything away," said Trinity Smith, Animal Control Supervisor at the Craven-Pamlico Animal Services Center.

Smith says the Animal Services facility takes in anywhere from 125 to 150 animals a week. That can be tough on the facility, which doesn't have a lot of room.

We're told that one small gas chamber will remain at the shelter. It will be used for euthanizing wildlife only.

There is little difference in costs between lethal injection and the gas chamber, but the injection is seen as more staff-intensive. Injections are also seen as less stressful and less painful for the animals.