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Dog survived gas chamber, up for adoption in N.J.

- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2011

ROCKAWAY, N.J. — A stray beagle mix that cheated death in an Alabama dog pound's gas chamber is up for adoption in New Jersey.

Volunteers began looking for a new home for the dog known as Daniel after the animal walked out unscathed from the carbon monoxide administered by the Animal Control Department in Florence, Ala., on Oct. 3.

The nonprofit Eleventh Hour Rescue group arranged to have the dog flown to New Jersey, where it is awaiting adoption at its shelter in Rockaway.

Volunteer Roger Keyser told the Star-Ledger of Newark the dog "has got to have some destiny."

Phil Stevenson, a Florence city spokesman, said Friday that no one is sure why Daniel was the lone survivor.

"It may be that his breathing was shallow because of a cold or something. Or maybe God just had a better plan for this one," Stevenson said.

Stevenson said the gas chamber is a stainless-steel box that's roughly the size of a pickup truck bed. A computer-controlled pump slowly feeds carbon monoxide into the chamber once it's sealed, and an operator presses a button.

"It sort of rocks them to sleep slowly. It's like the cases you hear about where people are overcome by carbon monoxide in their home and just never wake up," he said.

A new operator placed the dog into the chamber with other animals and started the machine, Stevenson said, although it's unclear how many animals were in the chamber in all, or what species.

Three animals have survived the gas chamber in the last 12 years or so, and every effort is made to find new homes for any that do survive, Stevenson said.

Alabama lawmakers passed a law in June to ban the use of gas chambers effective Dec. 31. At the time, Florence was one of only two places in the state using the chambers.

Associated Press writer Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala., contributed to this report.

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