ahhh, the life of a diplomatic princess . . .

Why Hide Comments on Shelter Bill Benefiting PETA?

So, this is a curious case of “what the heck …?” Delegate Bobby Orrock is the Virginia delegate who recently introduced a bill that will benefit one organization — PETA. The bill, HB340, undermines a vital piece of animal welfare legislation that was passed last year and it will allow PETA to continue killing thousands of animals a year. Delegate Orrock states on his page that he is not working with PETA and has accepted no money from the Virginia Alliance of Animal Shelters, a group that works very closely with PETA. Which is fine, and very possibly true (though I seriously doubt it). What is curious is his Facebook page.

Delegate Orrock was taking a lot of heat for HB340 on FB, then his page was deactivated. Now it’s back up. He’s still taking heat but I’m wondering if he’s managing it a different way.


These are screen shots of a post Delegate Orrock has on his page regarding HB340. I commented, as did the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. The curious thing is only I and my friends can see my comment, and only people who have “liked” the VFHS FB page can see their comment. I’ve been told by someone who moderates a FB page that one can make certain comments available only to the commenter and friends, and only to people who “like” a page that has commented. He told me he uses this function when he deems a comment to be inappropriate. Fair enough, when someone is being rude or abusive. But respectful, fair comments being hidden from the public? Is that what moderators of Orrock’s page are doing? They don’t like a comment so they hide it from anyone who isn’t friends with the person who wrote it, or people who haven’t “liked” a page? This way the commenter is none the wiser and thinks everyone can see their comment. It’s a lot more subtle than pressing the delete button. Sneaky, even.

Our democracy relies on open, honest dialogue to function. You would think, ideally, an elected representative would welcome this dialogue. It’s the way we ensure we are truly a democracy, that we are truly hearing all voices, all opinions. Only people who try hard to mold a narrative, people who want to hide truth, to distract from issues, to sway with half-truths, hinder this vital dialogue. I can’t prove this is what those working on Delegate Orrock’s page have done, and there are comments from people who do not support HB340. But it’s rather curious that comments from certain people, and certain groups, seem not to be visible to the public. And if this is what is happening, that’s a sad way for an elected representative to run a public forum. Only people who are scared of the truth hide from it.





Picking Apart PETA’s “Humane Euthanasia” Myth

It’s no secret that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals kills thousands of animals each year — in 2014 PETA killed  2,324 of the 2,631 cats and dogs it took in. That statistic is from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as submitted to them by PETA itself, so those numbers are not up for debate. What is up for debate, according to PETA, is the reason their kill rate is so high.

PETA states the reason for such high kill numbers is because they offer free humane euthanasia to the community, and that they are the only shelter in the area offering this.

First, let’s set a few things aside. Let’s set aside the fact that they are not the only shelter in the area offering free humane euthanasia. Lets also set aside the fact that it is considered highly unethical for a shelter to euthanize an animal without first performing its own thorough evaluation process — a shelter following what is considered to be best shelter practices will euthanize because it is warranted, and not because a guardian says it must be done. Let’s also set aside Maya, who PETA stole and killed; the animals who PETA employees killed and whose bodies were dumped in North Carolina; and my own experiences while working for PETA.

So, with those pesky facts put in the naughty corner, let’s hypothetically say that PETA really is a “shelter of last resort,” as they assert. Let’s pretend that Mary Tully, self-proclaimed PETA expert and someone to whom PETA has referred people when they have questions about its shelter, is being honest when she says that PETA’s shelter exists primarily, possibly even “solely,” for the purposes of humane euthanasia.

If you still believe these lies that PETA and its apologists are peddling ask yourself this question: why, if its shelter exists primarily (solely?) for the purposes of offering free humane euthanasia, does PETA even bother to go through the rigmarole of being a licensed private animal shelter? Why not, instead, integrate their free humane euthanasia service into their mobile spay/neuter clinic? Seems like a simple enough solution and it sure would save them a lot of headache and expense — just in lobbyist fees alone. After all, they don’t need to be a shelter in order to provide free humane euthanasia. And they could still adopt out the handful of animals they find homes for each year, private citizens do it all the time — it doesn’t require a license.

So, if it’s true that they exist primarily for the purposes of humane euthanasia, and if it’s a viable option for them to no longer be a shelter and still provide this service, why do they continue to spend so much money, and undergo such public scrutiny and backlash, in order to be a licensed private animal shelter? It doesn’t make any sense. And that’s because the shelter that exists for the primary purposes of free humane euthanasia is all part of the facade.

The vast majority of animals surrendered to PETA are not given to them by guardians for the purpose of humane euthanasia but for the purpose of rehoming. The vast majority of animals PETA takes in aren’t terminally ill, or hopelessly aggressive, or aged and suffering — they are healthy and adoptable. This was exactly the case with a mother cat and her two kittens a veterinarian handed over to PETA employees who told him they would try to find them homes — rather than do that they killed them in the PETA van. During my employment with PETA I was instructed to say whatever needed to be said in order to get guardians to surrender their animals to me. And being able to tell people that they run a private licensed animal shelter makes it so much easier to convince guardians that new homes will be found. After all, a shelter run by the world’s leading animal rights group should be the safest place in the world for an animal needing a new life. At least that’s what trusting guardians are led to believe. In actuality, it’s a death trap.

*A note to Virginians about what you can do to stop PETA’s killing. PETA is attempting to undermine important animal welfare legislation that would help prevent them from killing the vast majority of animals they take in. For more information about this please go here. It is so important for us to keep contacting our legislators to tell them we want PETA’s killing to stop. For more information about how you can help please see this action alert from No Kill Hampton Roads. UPDATE: Please see this new action alert from No Kill Hampton Roads. We have more time to contact legislators, we need to seize that!

A Long Awaited Trip to El Salvador

Ever since I was a girl I’ve wanted to go to El Salvador. Probably not for the same reasons other kids wanted to go places — or even the same reasons I wanted to go other places.

In 1980 four American Catholic women were raped and murdered in El Salvador by members of the National Guard.

The victims were 49-year-old Maura Clarke, and 40-year-old Ita Ford, Maryknoll sisters from New York; Dorothy Kazel, a 40-year-old Ursuline nun from Cleveland; and Jean Donovan, a 27-year old lay missionary who was engaged to be married, also from Cleveland.

These were women who were working with people who feared for their lives every day, people who were targeted by their own government because they were fighting for a better future for their children. As a child I was appalled that women who wanted nothing other than to help people had been raped and murdered by men who should have been protecting them. I found out that my own government was funding those men, funding the government that was targeting its people, and that knowledge sparked what became a longtime involvement in seeking social justice in Central America.

When we first started our journey in the Foreign Service the country we really wanted to serve in was Guatemala — it was a country I’d been to as a girl and one I’d completely fallen in love with, as I’ve blogged about before. But, as with all things Foreign Service, it wasn’t up to us and we ended up in Guinea, a first post that brought us both joy and profound loss but taught us a lot about who we are.

Fast forward to now, to Honduras. I loved living in Costa Rica but it didn’t feel like the Central America I remembered from my childhood. But Honduras? I’ve fallen in love with this region all over again and love that we can easily travel within it. I’ve just discovered that I neglected to blog about the trip we took to Guatemala, where we stayed in the lovely village of Flores and where we were able to introduce our children to the majesty of the Mayan world when we took them to Tikal. Their shouts of excitement when they first spotted the ruins as we walked through the jungle brought a huge smile to my face because the first time I saw those ruins I was just a girl — and I remember that awe I felt at the hugeness of the pyramids. I remember how amazing it was to me that I was walking in the footsteps of an ancient people. And I saw that same amazement on the faces of our children. Being able to share that with them was such a gift. I need to blog about that trip.

Anyway — El Salvador. A few weeks ago we rented a house on Playa El Cuco, El Salvador. The children were giggling at me as we neared the border of El Salvador because I was squealing with delight while repeating “I can’t believe I’m finally going to El Salvador!” We crossed the border with ease and, by looking around, you never would have guessed you were in a country that had relatively recently experienced a brutal civil war.

We spent the next few days in a state of relaxation — mornings swimming in the ocean, afternoons lounging in hammocks with books or playing football in the pool, evenings with local beer and beautiful sunsets. I think sometimes our children forget they don’t need the internet and video games in order to be entertained and seeing them spend hours curled up with books was so nice. And Playa Cuco is absolutely beautiful!

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View of our house from the beach

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Playa El Cuco

The kids had so much fun playing in the ocean and the pool, being able to just step out the back door and have the ocean right there was amazing!

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Walking to the beach

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The children waiting on the waves


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Ry body surfing

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Liam and Aisleen playing in the waves

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Eric and Aisleen headed back to the house

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The pool was a fantastic place to escape the heat of the day

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As were the hammocks

Once the heat of the day was over the beach was the perfect place for football!

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Ry waiting on the football

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Liam catching the football

And the sunset from our house, through the palm trees, was gorgeous!

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Mornings on Playa El Cuco are equally gorgeous

We spent a lot of time at Playa Intipuca, the next beach over from Playa El Cuco and at La Tortuga Verde, a hotel that also has a fantastic restaurant with so many vegetarian options — our kids were in heaven. And, this …

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Surfboards for rent, $10/per hour or $30 for the day!

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A refresher course, our kids did an all day surf camp when we lived in Costa Rica

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Ry takes it into shore with his instructor cheering him on

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Aisleen up on the board

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Liam on the board

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Because carrying a surfboard increases your cool factor by, like, a zillion

And because they had so much fun we went back in the afternoon and rented boards

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This was a nice way to spend our last night in El Salvador

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Did I mention the sunsets are amazing?

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The next morning we had one last breakfast at La Tortuga Verde and said goodbye to Playa El Cuco and Play Intipuca. But only for a little while because we’re going back as soon as possible!

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La Tortuga Verde

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Playa Intipuca



PETA Equals Death

There is a new law in Virginia, one countless people fought hard for. It solidifies that a private animal shelter is “a facility operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals.” Nothing terribly revolutionary about that, right? It’s pretty much the definition of a shelter. So why did Virginia need this law? Why did it pass the House and the Senate with overwhelming support? Why did animal welfare advocates breathe a collective sigh of relief when this happened? Because People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia and, at those headquarters, they kill thousands of animal each year.

In 2014 PETA received 2,631 animals — 2,324 of them ended up dead. Let that number sink in for a minute. 2,324 animals dead at the hands of PETA in one year. PETA fought hard against SB1381, the now law that defines what an animal shelter is, because it’s a law that can put a serious kink into its killing practices. Despite PETA’s best efforts the law passed — nobody in their right mind thinks it’s acceptable for an organization to kill thousands of animals a year. Slaughterhouses do that but slaughterhouses don’t pretend to be animal rescuers. PETA does that. You can draw your own parallels.

An organization called The Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters (VAAS), long believed to be in bed with PETA, has hired five lobbyists, presumably to help push through new proposed legislation that would undermine SB1381, and PETA appears to have two more lobbyists waiting in the wings (ever wonder what your PETA donation dollars pay for? Now you know). The proposed legislation, three bills introduced by Delegate Bobby Orrock, would undermine completely SB1381 — the existence of which is threatening to PETA because their “shelter” does not exist to find permanent homes, their “shelter” exists as a front for the killing of animals.

So, we have a new battle ahead and we each have a vital role to play. Because, without each of us, PETA will continue to get away with murder. Here’s what you can do:

1. If you are a Virginia voter contact your representatives, if you are unsure about who your representatives are you can find them here. Please let them respectfully know that you oppose HB157, HB340, and HB156. These are the bills that will undermine SB1381, for a very good outline about what each one does you can go here. Your representatives listened last time, when we were fighting so hard for SB1381, and they will listen again but only if you raise your voice so, please, do send those emails.

2. Wherever you vote, you can pop on over to the FB page of Delegate Bobby Orrock, he’s the person responsible for each one of those proposals. He calls himself an animal advocate, though I’m unsure what kind of advocate believes shelters are for killing animals rather than protecting and rehoming animals. He claims he has no connection to PETA — honestly, does anyone really believe that? You can let Delegate Orrock know what you think about his introduction of legislation that undermines a vital animal welfare law, maybe ask him what his connection to VAAS and PETA is. It’s a fair question.

3.  There has been a group formed specifically to fight this new legislation. It is made up of dedicated animal welfare advocates who will be working hard to ensure SB1381 stays intact — and they need your help. PETA Equals Death is the name of the group, you can find them on Facebook here. Please “like” the page so you will be kept in the loop about the proposed legislation, the fight against it, and what you can do. They can also be found on Twitter. Social media is such an effective vehicle in battles like this, keep an eye out for the hashtags PETA Equals Death is using so you can use them as well. The more we share information, the more we Tweet the truth about PETA, the stronger our fight is.

I’ve been speaking out about PETA for just shy of a year now and what I’ve learned is that it’s a slog. It is ingrained in the minds of animal advocates that PETA can’t possibly be killing animals because who wants to believe that they’ve been lied to all these years? Who wants to believe PETA betrays in the worst possible way not only the public trust but those they have vowed to protect? It’s a tough reality to absorb. But each person — each person — who knows the truth is one more person who will raise their voice and stand up. PETA’s revenue was down by $7 million in 2015 — I think we’re making a difference. So don’t be discouraged with the slog, embrace it as the slow, but vital, march for change that it is.

Animal rescue work is a privilege and each person who considers themselves to be a rescuer — in whatever capacity — has a responsibility to make sure rescue is carried out to the highest standard. PETA falls very short of that standard. They think the only way to prevent cruelty and neglect is to kill animals, it’s a profoundly distorted form of preventative medicine. And they are arrogant. They don’t believe, really, that anyone can stand in their way of carrying out the twisted philosophy of rescue work that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of animals. They don’t believe we can stop them. They are very wrong.

PETA’s Predictable Smearing of Maya’s Family

A few days ago I blogged about Maya, a tiny chihuahua who was stolen off her porch and then killed by animal rights giant, PETA. Maya’s family, the Zarate family, is now suing PETA. If you’d like to read the lawsuit (which is very enlightening) you can find it here.

Of course, true to form, PETA has already started its smear campaign against the Zarate family — because that’s what they do when people dare to stand up to them. Here is the statement by PETA’s general counsel, Jeffery Kerr:

It’s a money grab against a charity that had been called in to help a community, did its best, and made one tragic mistake for which it has tried hard to make amends. Those efforts have been refused. PETA will mount a vigorous and aggressive defense.

Let’s look at these two statements:

  • The theft and killing of Maya was a tragic mistake. It was tragic but it wasn’t a mistake — it was PETA Standard Operating Procedure. From the people who were targeted (low-income families) to actions taken by PETA workers in order to gain the trust of trailer park residents (telling them PETA would find good homes for any animals who were taken from the park, offering to provide medical care for residents’ animals), to the theft and killing of Maya. PETA claims it only euthanizes animals who are too sick or old or aggressive but within 24 hours Maya — a healthy, well socialized, young dog– was dead. In 2014 PETA took in 2,631 animals and killed 2,324. Killing is SOP for PETA. Killing healthy, adoptable animals is SOP for PETA. I know this because I worked there. I don’t know why PETA targeted Maya but I suspect folks at PETA, and folks who buy into their better off dead philosophy, believed that Maya was better off dead than living in a trailer park.
  • PETA has tried hard to make amends for stealing and killing Maya. How? By bringing a fruit basket and an empty apology to Maya’s family? And the Zarate family is just supposed to say thank you and not hold PETA accountable for their actions. And when that doesn’t happen PETA begins to smear the Zarate family, painting them as money hungry grifters. PETA stole and killed their dog. They went onto Mr. Zarate’s property, stole Maya, and killed her. Even in their apology PETA pointed fingers at the Zarate family, stating Maya was “collarless and without any indicia of ownership.” Except for the fact that she was sitting on her porch and the women who stole her knew she belonged to the Zarate family. But Mr. Zarate is not supposed to try to find justice for Maya, or stand up for what’s right, or hold PETA accountable for the pain his daughter has endured because her dog was killed. He’s just supposed to shrug and walk away. And PETA is outraged that he won’t do just that.

I find PETA’s treatment of Mr. Zarate deplorable and patronizing. I believe they thought they could walk all over him because of where he makes his home and the fact that he’s an immigrant whose second language is English. And they, therefore, saw him as someone who doesn’t have the resources or wherewithal to fight them — PETA’s behavior is offensive. And they were way off the mark in thinking the Zarate family wouldn’t fight them. Because they’re doing exactly that. #JusticeForMaya


I Stand With Maya — and With the Family Seeking Justice for Her

Maya, a tiny slip of a dog, and a family who loves her may just be the ones finally able to shed light into the darkness of PETA. Just over a year ago Maya was stolen off her porch and killed. Not by dog fighters or a person who enjoys harming animals, or any other of the usual suspects, but by the largest animal rights group in the world — PETA. And now Maya’s family is suing PETA, and the two women who stole and killed Maya, for upwards of $9.7 million dollars.

Even as much as I know about Maya and what happened to her I learned new things from reading the suit, which you can read here.

  • On the same day PETA stole and killed Maya, who belonged to the Zarate family, they also appear to have stolen and killed a dog who belonged to Mr. Zarate’s niece.
  • While I suspected the women who stole and killed Maya were the same women who had been working to gain the trust of the Zarate family and others at the trailer park where they lived the lawsuit confirms it: “Carey and Wood came to the Park and began to ingratiate themselves with the residents in order to build trust with the residents.” PETA has claimed that Maya’s theft and death were the result of mistaken identity, that the women thought she was a different dog. These women who spent time gaining the trust of the Zarate family, who spent time with Maya, didn’t realize that the dog they first tried to lure off the Zarate porch and then snatched off the porch, was Maya? It’s utterly ridiculous and now we know that these these women knew Maya, they knew the Zarate family, I assume they knew Cynthia, the little girl who adored Maya. And after grooming this family in order to gain their trust, much the way human predators groom their prey, they stole and killed their dog.
  • Carey and Wood “told residents that they would be trying to find good homes for the dogs they captured.” Which is exactly what PETA says in order to gain custody of the animals they then kill. They don’t say this because they honestly are going to attempt to re-home animals, they say this because they know nobody will hand over animals if they know the animals will be immediately killed. That’s the pattern of behavior. It’s what I was told to do when I worked for PETA, it’s what PETA employees are still doing. By any means necessary.
  • Mr. Zarate, who had installed a security camera on his porch that ended up capturing Maya’s theft, believes that when PETA representatives came to his house to apologize for killing his dog they had ulterior motives. “During the visit, the PETA representatives asked about the video and were visually searching for the camera. It was apparent to Wilber that the real purpose of the visit was for PETA to ascertain the location of the security camera and to learn the extent to which PETA’s illegal actions had been captured on video.” This makes perfect sense — they weren’t actually sorry for stealing and killing Maya, they were assessing how much damage control would be required.
  • “PETA believed that given the socio-economic status of the residents, PETA could take the pets and kill them without any repercusssion to PETA.” Absolutely. There is a reason they target people who don’t have a lot of resources — because those are the people less able to fight back.

As a mother this is the part of the lawsuit that pulled at me: “Cynthia experienced extensive and severe emotional distress. Among other things, she cried for weeks, became lethargic, lost sleep, refrained from eating and lost weight.” I have watched my children grieve for both animals and humans, I have watched one of my children experience the trauma of being badly bullied, I have watched my children as they say goodbye to people they know they will likely never see again. All of this hurts, all of it makes me want to wrap my children in my arms and shield them from any further pain and suffering. After reading Cynthia’s reaction to Maya being stolen and killed I felt myself relating to Mr. Zarate on a different level — not just as someone who knows he’s speaking the truth but as a parent who has watched her children suffer. And my heart just hurts for him, and for Cynthia.

This family who PETA thought would never be able to fight them is doing what few people have the courage to do — they are standing up to a Goliath of an organization that is known to sink to the lowest depths in order to stop anyone who dares to speak the truth about them, they are standing up for a beloved family member, they are standing up for the pain a child has had inflicted upon her. I hope that this lawsuit will finally convince other past employees to come forward to add their voices to the truth the Zarate family is speaking. I know there must be former employees who are also parents — think of what it would mean to you if someone hurt your child as badly as Cynthia has been hurt. Wouldn’t you do absolutely everything you could in order to fight for your child? Wouldn’t you hope others who could help in that fight would stand by you? They are battling a powerful opponent who has deep pockets and wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone who knows the truth about PETA spoke out in support of this family? I, for one, will continue to do that. I will continue to stand for Maya, for Cynthia, for a father who has had to watch his child grieve a terrible betrayal and loss, and for Black Boy. You have my full support and admiration, Mr. Zarate, and you are an example to my children of what it means to do the right thing even when it’s the difficult thing. Thank you.


The Thread That Binds for PETA: Death

PETA is still in very hot water over its support of Breed Specific Legislation and is trying mightily to spin the truth. But the truth is the truth, we must keep our focus on it. And this is the truth — when you dig deep into the way their actions impact companion animals you can see that they have one common thread — animals end up dead.

Let’s just get some facts out there.

First Fact: During the months of July, August, and September, PETA took in 630 animals and 490 of those animals were killed. You can find a statement by Virginia Senator Bill Stanley about those numbers here. Sadly, these are typical numbers for PETA. In 2014 they took in 2,631 animals and killed 2,324. You can find more information about their shockingly high kill rate here.

Second Fact: PETA kills adoptable animals without ever trying to rehome them. I know this from my firsthand experience as a PETA field worker. We know this because of Maya, the dog they killed shortly after stealing her from her home. We know this because of the animals in North Carolina who were killed in a PETA van and whose bodies were dumped like trash. Patrick Proctor, a veterinarian who asked PETA to find homes for a mother cat and her kittens, stated of their deaths

This is ethical? I don’t think so.

PETA states that its kill rate is so high because they provide a free humane euthanasia service for people whose animals are suffering. Was Maya suffering? Were the mother and babies suffering? Were all the animals found in the dumpster suffering? Are people still naive enough to believe that?

Third Fact: PETA advocated for all dogs seized from Michael Vick to be killed, stating that saving them was not “a good use of money” or time. Now, I may be missing something but last time I checked the purpose of animal rescue was to rescue animals, not to write them off as a waste.

Fourth fact: PETA supports Breed Specific Legislation, they have for years. Since recently partnering with some vehemently anti-pit bull groups — and Daxter’s Friends to name two — PETA has been getting hammered on social media sites. Their feeds on Facebook and Twitter are full of people who are rightly outraged that an “animal rights group” has decided to align itself with organizations who have as their main objective the annihilation of any dog with a certain appearance. Let’s get this straight, you cannot call yourself an animal rights group and work with people who refer to dead pit bulls as “pit bull dog meat” or who write diatribes about the different ways to kill pit bull type dogs. And you cannot call yourself ethical when you partner with people who assert that folks who have pit bulls only do so for the purposes of fighting and bestiality. You can see examples of those statements here. These are some real winners PETA has chosen as friends.

Fifth Fact: BSL is BSL no matter how you spin it. In what I can only assume is an attempt at damage control, PETA has decided to stop using the term “Breed Specific Legislation” and start using the term “Breed Specific Protection.” But we’re just going to keep calling what they’re endorsing what it actually is — Breed Specific Legislation. In order to defend their support of BSL PETA has stated that their actual objective is to promote the spaying and neutering of pit bulls. The problem is that BSL and the promotion of spaying and neutering aren’t the same thing — they may overlap in that spaying and neutering can be a tiny part of BSL but BSL is so much bigger. Spaying and neutering saves lives, BSL results in death — just look to Colorado as an example of this. PETA asserts they support BSL because it is in the best interest of dogs. If that were true why are they the only major animal welfare/rights organization supporting it? The National Canine Research Council has an extensive list of groups who oppose BSL, as well as research that proves it is not effective in reducing dog bites.

What is the common thread that binds all of these facts? Killing. It sounds harsh, especially when we’re talking about a group that is considered to be one of the staunchest defenders of the lives of animals. But ultimately, when all those facts are boiled down to their bare bones, the common thread is killing. Dogs who were tortured and forced to fight are called a waste of resources. Maya, a healthy and loved chihuahua, was stolen and killed. Thousands upon thousands of animals have died at the hands of PETA employees. And we’re to believe that they were all too ill or old or aggressive to save? Seriously? Does any of that reflect an organization that values life? No — it reflects an organization who believes animals are better off dead than living with humans and that is a supremely twisted philosophy.

The Twisted Logic of “1984”

Another awesome blog piece from Ray’s mom about the dangers of, and fallacies surrounding, Breed Specific Legislation. And why PETA’s “logic” about supporting BSL is so wrong.

Ray the Vicktory Dog


I think what I find most disturbing about PeTA’s pit bull stance is they shroud the truth in a wrapping of twisted logic.  To an animal lover who is not up on what’s going on in the real world, their policy seems loving and humane.  To those of us who have seen the group in action, and have actually worked our way through the misdirection, the ugly truth is evident.

The most insidious problem with PeTA’s position, is that it pits (pun intended) animal advocates against each other.  In the past week I have found myself arguing vehemently with people I know love and care about animals.  I was forced to argue against mandatory spay/neuter.  I had to address fallacies surrounding “No-Kill” communities.

As an aside…the reason I do NOT support mandatory spay/neuter is two-fold.  One, I always believe that a carrot is more effective than a stick, which means that free/reduced…

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PETA: An Anti-Pit Bull “Animal Rights” Organization

You would think an organization that constantly shouts about being the world’s leading animal rights group — the collective voice of the voiceless — would rise to defend dogs who are misunderstood, abused, tortured, and fought. Dogs about whom myths run rampant. Dogs who desperately need people to have access to correct information and humane education because their lives, literally, depend on it. You would think all of this but you would be very wrong.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has partnered with various other groups to create “National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day,”  a day to “raise awareness of the social and financial costs of pit bull attacks.” Pit bull attacks, or, more accurately, attacks by dogs people think or assume to be pit bulls, or, more accurately, dog attacks. Can you spot the one dog who is a pit bull in that graphic? Yea, neither can I. So many myths, so much misinformation. It’s important to educate ourselves about pit bulls, to focus on facts and not sensational headlines. PETA finds facts pesky though.

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, PETA also fiercely advocated for all of Michael Vick’s dogs to be killed, stating that saving them wasn’t a good use of time or money. Let’s try to wrap our heads around that. PETA, which is supposed to be a champion for abused animals, said it was a waste of resources to save dogs who had lived lives full of torture and death. Aren’t those exactly the animals they should be saving? Best Friends Animal Society fought PETA in court, and they won. Michael Mountain, the founder of Best Friends, stated

It’s really difficult as an animal-rights, animal-protection, animal whatever-you-want-to-call-it organization to explain away the fact that pretty much all the animals you rescue, you kill. It doesn’t make logical sense; it doesn’t make emotional sense.

It doesn’t. Thankfully many people believed that the Vick dogs, that pit bull type dogs, were worth fighting for and those dogs went on to be ambassadors for a misunderstood breed, to be service dogs, to touch and change lives. You can learn about a few of them here.

One of the most passionate and thoughtful advocates for pit bull type dogs is the mom of Ray the Vicktory dog. She just wrote a blog piece about PETA’s most recent betrayal of pit bull type dogs — Why PETA? Why?

Killing a dog because of how he looks is not ethical. Judging a dog by appearance not behavior is not animal welfare. And depriving an animal of a loving home is certainly not Animal Rights.

In my mind that is what is most disturbing and sinister about PETA’s support of the misinformation surrounding pit bull type dogs. People look to PETA to be a beacon for animal rights, to be trailblazers. Instead, when it comes to pit bulls, they are dragging along an outdated, false, belief system that pit bull type dogs are inherently dangerous. Why? To what aim? They claim to approach this from the point of view that pit bulls are at an increased risk for abuse, and that’s why they should be euthanized. But they are propping up lies by partnering with groups who state pit bull type dogs are inherently dangerous.

Here’s my opinion — I believe the folks at PETA know the “pit bulls are inherently dangerous” line is an ancient lie. I believe they know pit bull type dogs, even those who have been forced to fight, can be saved and can go on to be loving, devoted companions. That’s what makes this sinister — they know, but they continue to spread the lies and add their “credibility” as The World’s Leading Animal Rights Organization, to people who would celebrate if pit bull type dogs were extinct. And I believe they do it because it is one step closer to their end game, which is to kill. Killing animals should be counter-intuitive for an animal right’s organization, for PETA it is SOP. It is SOP for them to betray the animals they are supposed to be fighting for. This is just one more battle in their ongoing war, and that battle is easily won if people continue to believe the myths and lies about pit bull type dogs. So educate yourselves and those around you, don’t believe the hype, and fight back against groups who continue to allow these dogs to suffer because of their willful ignorance or ulterior motives.

When Local Media Presents Tales as Facts it Becomes That Much Easier for PETA to Continue Its Killing

Anyone who pays attention to media in Hampton Roads sees clearly that the Virginia Pilot is unabashedly pro-PETA, making it difficult to trust their coverage of the organization.  On Tuesday the published an article that, on the surface, was about the implementation of SB1381. SB1381 is a bill that recently passed in Virginia, what it does is clarify that the “purpose of an animal shelter is to find permanent and adoptive homes for animals.” This is a pretty common sense definition of an animal shelter but the reason it had to be legally solidified is because PETA’s “animal shelter” kills at unprecedented rates, and many in Virginia saw that something had to be done in order to tame their numbers. The Pilot article was framed as being about the implementation of the new law but it read a lot like a fluff piece for PETA.

First, the article asserts that SB1381 was “controversial” — in actuality it passed the Virginia Senate 38/1, the House 95/2, and had overwhelming support from animal advocates in Virginia. It is only controversial because PETA and their defenders want to frame it that way. Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations, asserts that “no other state has a cap or quota regarding euthanasia.” That may be true but no other state has PETA killing thousands of animals within its borders every year.  In 2014, PETA received 2,631 animals and killed 2,324 of those animals. They rehomed 39. Let those numbers sink in. 2,324 animals dead at the hands of PETA employees. 2,324.

PETA would like people to believe that its numbers are so high because it is the only shelter who will accept aggressive, terminal, or suffering animals free of charge but that is simply not true. In the article, in order to support this lie, Ms. Nachminovitch told the story of a woman who had come to them with two aggressive dogs. Nachminovitch claimed the woman had first called the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Control shelter and “was told that they could not accept the dogs to euthanize them.” Which seems rather suspicious — would Virginia Beach AC really turn away aggressive dogs? The reason it seems suspicious is because it only tells a fraction of what likely happened. This is what is stated on their website in regards to surrendering animals for the purposes of euthanasia:

The Animal Care and Adoption Center is an open-admission shelter meaning we will never turn your animal away. You may surrender your animal to us.

If you choose to surrender your animal, the decision to euthanize, adopt, or transfer that animal to another organization rests with our professional staff.

If we determine that euthanasia is the appropriate decision for the animal, certified and trained staff will humanely perform the procedure with the utmost care.

Also noted on their website, there is no charge for surrendering an animal to their shelter. When someone brings an animal to a shelter for the purposes of euthanasia it is imperative that the shelter have its own professional process to determine the health, behavior, and potential adoptability of that animal — to do otherwise is not ethical and could potentially result in the deaths of healthy, adoptable animals. Are there situations where euthanasia is needed? Absolutely. But a shelter must verify that they are doing the right thing for the animal, that is where their responsibility sits — they euthanize because it is warranted, not because an owner says it should be done. If policy was followed, what likely happened is the woman contacted the Virginia Beach AC shelter, was told she could sign ownership of the dogs over to them and they would make their own independent determinations about what should happen to the dogs and, for whatever reason, she chose not to do that. For the record, I did contact Virginia Beach Animal Control for clarification but I have not heard back from them, if I do I will update this blog.

The second claim that was made by Nachminovitch, according to the article, is that the women then contacted a veterinarian and was told the cost for euthanasia for two dogs was estimated at $1,000, which is a mind blowing amount. What the article did not state when it was originally published is that this was the cost for in-home euthanasia and cremation services. This clarification was only made in the article after a few residents of Hampton Roads questioned the reporter about the incident. In fact, the reporter hadn’t even verified Nachminovitch’s story with the owner of the dogs until after being pushed to do so, after the story was published. He took Nachminovitch at her word and relayed a story that was full of half truths and holes. Maybe Nachminovitch only knew that much of the story, and that’s fine. What isn’t fine is that the reporter did not bother to get the entire truth and the version of events that was published was very clearly sympathetic to PETA’s narrative. How is “journalism” like that supposed to be taken seriously? And how are we, the public, supposed to rely on the integrity of news organizations who publish articles with so little regard for fact checking and truth? The reporter should have verified what he had been told — before publishing the story and not after. And a copy editor should have caught that the verification had not been done. It’s a slippery slope to present someone else’s statements as fact, it can also inform the quality of the source if something they say can be easily proven/disproven — as outlined by Reuters here.

In the battle to save animals who are vulnerable to PETA’s kill first policy we are up against not only an immoral behemoth with deep pockets but a very clearly complicit “news” organization that seems to have no problem presenting half truths as fact. It is the responsibility of each of us to ensure we are getting the entire picture, and that we have all the facts, not just snipets presented to us by PETA and those who support them — we owe that to the animals.



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