By CJ Cassidy
STEELE, MO (KFVS) - Many pet owners struggle with the concept of euthanasia because they consider their dogs or cats part of the family.
So you can only imagine how tough it would be to find out your pet may have suffered an especially agonizing death after you made the decision to euthanize your animal.
Police say their investigation revolves around a man the City of Steele entrusted to take care of their animals.
As it turns out, investigators now want to make sure what allegedly went on at the shelter, never happens again.
Police are still investigating and so far no charges have been filed.
"It would be more kind to an animal to shoot it in the head than give it this drug," said Karol Wilcox with the Caruthersville Humane Society.
Experts say the drug in question - succinylcholine - is a paralyzing agent. It's often used by anesthesiologist during surgeries, but used alone it can be deadly.
Now investigators accuse the former animal control officer in Steele of using the drug to put dogs down.
"First of all you have to be certified to euthanize in the State of Missouri, you have to be certified to have the drug," Wilcox said.
"We have witnesses who described the death, and we spoke with veterinary experts who explained what the drug does. It paralyzes you. You feel everything. There's no anesthesia to it, you just suffocate, feeling everything, and then finally quit breathing."
"Personally I almost vomited, because I knew what the drug was," said Captain Beverly Alexander with the Steele Police.
She says she noticed vials like of the drug inside the animal shelter. Now she needs your help as she works on building her case.
"If they had contact with Anthony Norman in reference to their animal perhaps hit by a car or something, or went to him to have an animal euthanized we would like to speak with them," she said.
In the meantime, shelter workers in Caruthersville work on treating several pit bull puppies they allegedly rescued from Anthony Norman's home. They point out the pups all suffered from ringworm and hookworm, and had to be treated immediately.
Volunteers say they only wish they could have stepped in a long time ago.
"The most disturbing fact is how many dogs before we got to the bottom, got it stopped, how many dogs did we not save from that kind of a death?" Wilcox said.
Norman does not face any charges at this time and police are still investigating this case.
They say people often took their dogs to the shelter to have them euthanized to avoid paying a large vet bill.