Thursday night Malden City Council members conducted an informal meeting to discuss the recent controversy of their animal control department and gas chamber, and the services they provide to surrounding communities for animal euthanasia.

City councilwoman Donna Prenger spoke on behalf of the animals, and citizens who advocate for them, opening the eyes of other council members and the city’s administrator to the public’s ill feeling of providing such services.

During discussion council members addressed the recent outcry of Bootheel citizens over the frequent use of Malden’s gas chamber to euthanize animals from surrounding communities. City administrator, Ted Bellers, had already made the decision earlier in the week that Malden would no longer offer gassing euthanasia services to surrounding communities. A letter was sent out to area city administrators on Wednesday, informing them of the decision. No animals from surrounding communities will be gassed at the Malden facility after Monday, August 11, 2014.

Documents showing the number of animals coming in from Kennett for gassing had been released to the public Wednesday evening. Kennett Humane Department and their supporters were claiming the numbers were false. In order to clear the air, Donna Prenger agreed to obtain further documentation from the city offices on Friday to set the record straight. Those documents were published late Friday evening.

In addition, the city council members agreed to consider allowing a group of local volunteers to come into Malden’s animal control department to help clean up the shelter and to increase the visibility of the animals housed there. Such steps would enable volunteers to find rescues willing to pull Malden’s animals from the pound for relocation and reduce the need for the city to gas its own animals. The city council is currently looking into the legalities of allowing volunteers to perform such services.

Councilwoman Prenger is currently working on a plan with animal advocate Cindy Lester to introduce the volunteer group at Malden. It is their hope that they can reduce the number of animals housed at Malden and therefore rendering the Malden gas chamber obsolete, and encourage a more humane form of euthanasia for what few, extremely ill, or dangerous animals might remain.

To show your support or to send words of encouragement for enacting these changes, please contact Malden City Administrator, Ted Bellers, at 201 South Madison, Malden, MO 63863. Correspondence may also be sent to

(This article was originally published by Gila Todd on, August 9, 2014)