The effort to ban the gassing of stray animals gathered another supporter in U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta. The Republican congressman from Hazleton and pet owner introduced a non-binding resolution Thursday on the practice with the intent of bringing attention to “this cruel manner of euthanizing an animal.” In a press release, Barletta said he would like to see states such as Pennsylvania that permit the practice to take action to make it illegal. Barletta, whose family has a dog and two cats, decried the lack of restrictions to prevent an official who is unable to locate an animal’s owner from taking it to a facility to be gassed. “This is unconscionable in the United States in the 21st century,” he said. Prior to his resolution, the state Senate addressed the issue with a bill to ban the use of carbon dioxide chambers. It was referred to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee in March. Senate Bill 1329 has the support of the Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania, said Cindy Stark, vice president of the organization’s executive board. Starke, who also is the shelter manager of the SPCA of Luzerne County in Plains Township, said gassing is used on a very limited basis. “Intravenous injection is the recommended method,” she added, and is used at the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Last month, the shelter, which serves the entire county, received more than 600 animals. “We take all the animals that don’t have any other place to go,” Starke said. Pet owners can take a few simple steps, she explained, to reduce the number going to shelters and prevent overpopulation: make sure pets have identification, spay and neuter them and keep them under control. “This is such a preventable problem,” Starke said. She suggested anyone with questions about the programs and services offered at the SPCA contact it at 570 825-4111.