By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's animal shelter moves closer to a policy change that limits using a gas chamber to euthanize stray animals.

As of this week, the city has all of the animal control staff trained to use lethal injection and has removed one the gas chambers from the animal shelter. It's a change towards what's considered a more humane way to kill animals.

Every day the City of Tulsa euthanizes animals no one wants. A table replaced one of the two gas chambers the city has used for years. Tulsa's animal shelter is moving from gas to lethal injection, in almost all cases.

"We would like to get to that point, there are special circumstances, I believe that will still require the gas chamber," said Jean Letcher, who is the Animal Welfare manager.

The change was prompted in part by a report completed last year by the Humane Society. Using lethal injection is also a trend in the industry because it's easier on the animals and the staff.

Letcher says there will always be a need for gas, with difficult or large injured animals.

"And sometimes in that case, to hold that animal and euthanize it, no matter what we do, is going to be incredibly stressful. And in those cases, we would still use the gas chamber, but we want to use lethal injection whenever possible," said Letcher.

Tulsa city councilors ask for regular updates on the operation of the shelter, especially since learning Tulsa was euthanizing animals from other cities and subsidizing the service. The mayor stopped that practice two months ago.

"We are at the point where a request must be made to the mayor of Tulsa to continue to bring animals to us and we've only had one request," said Letcher.

Most of the dogs which are euthanized get lethal injections now and the shelter will start using it on cats next week. With a daily average of 40 animals euthanized, it's a major change for Tulsa.

The old gas chamber has been sent to city surplus for auction. The shelter manager says another town has already expressed an interest in it, though she would not identify which one.