According to records obtained by the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, U of I trapped and euthanized at least eight stray cats and a raccoon over the summer, with another cat captured and turned over to the large animal surgery unit at the university. Contrary to details in the records, U of I has insisted only seven cats were put down at the university's homemade gas chamber. According to "controlled substance logs" acquired by the Daily News, the animals were killed using Beuthanasia-D Special.
An expert at nearby Washington State University told the Daily News the gas used to euthanize the animals can be "extremely painful as the gas turns to acid as it touches an animal's lungs."
"It causes quite a bit of pain," WSU College of Veterinary Medicine Communications Manager Charlie Powell told the paper.
Gaining access to the records took several months of back-and-forth, with U of I refusing to comply with the request unless the Daily News came up with more than $300, which the paper did.
"The University will not expend the time and resources necessary to identify and gather the responsive records at the risk of taxpayer funds," the university wrote to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News after the newspaper requested to see some public records. "Consequently, you will be required to deliver advance payment in certified funds in the amount of $350.93 prior to the University commencing this process."
In late August, U of I officials confirmed seven feral cats had been trapped and put down by "the University's veterinarian via American Veterinary Medical Association standards." U of I said it had permission, but both the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the city of Moscow denied giving the go-ahead.
Meanwhile a five-member task force, which includes U of I Campus Veterinarian Peter Autenried, has been looking into the U of I "vermin control" program and is expected to pass on its findings and any possible policy recommendations to University of Idaho President Chuck Staben.