At the Animal Control Department in Florence, Alabama, a beagle recently survived a carbon monoxide-filled gas chamber, which is part of the animal control protocol in the state.
He emerged frightened, but unscathed, wagging his tail. Now, the pooch is being hailed as a "miracle dog" and has been given the name "Daniel" after the biblical figure who survived the lion's den.
City officials have also invoked the name of God to credit the dog's survival after their attempted killing. "Maybe God just had a better plan for this one," said city spokesman Phil Stevenson.
Only three animals have survived the gas chamber at the Animal Control facility in Florence in the past 12 years. For surviving the attempt on his life by animal control officers, Daniel has been given fresh start in New Jersey, where he was flown on Wednesday by the nonprofit Eleventh Hour Rescue group and placed with volunteer Jill Pavlik until he can be adopted.
"He's absolutely fabulous," says Pavlik, a hairdresser who works and lives in northern New Jersey, said on Friday. "He walked in the house like he had always lived there. He's very sweet, happy and outgoing." Unlike the folks in Alabama, Pavlik did not try to kill Daniel or test God's grace.
Linda Schiller, Eleventh Hour Rescue's founder and president, said the facility has already received about 100 applications from people around the country seeking to adopt Daniel, but oddly, about half said they weren't interested in adopting another dog if the 20-pound Daniel wasn't available.
"Maybe we'll get a cosmetic surgeon to make all our dogs look like Daniel," Schiller said jokingly. She added that Daniel, while thin, hadn't shown any residual effects of his ordeal.
Mindy Gilbert, Alabama director for the Humane Society of the United States, said Daniel's story explains why the group pushed the Alabama Legislature to ban gas chambers for euthanizing dogs, effective December 31.
At least 15 states, including New Jersey and New York, have banned carbon monoxide for euthanizing shelter animals. In Alabama it is still legal for the state to kill animals in this manner until 2012.