ahhh, the life of a diplomatic princess . . .

My Response to the Haters

Shill, hack, only doing it for attention, only doing it for money, naive, liar, full of shit, crackpot, coward, reeking of dishonesty, on and on. These are the fun-filled comments that are coming my way. Thankfully, the positive ones still outweigh them.

I was messaging with one of my best friends this morning and I told her that I was being accused of doing this for money, which is funny because I’ve been offered money for the publication of my blog in a journal, I replied that he should feel free to use the blog but that I don’t want the money. My friend responded with “Remember, they can’t discredit your words, all they have left is to try to discredit you.” This will be my mantra (thank you, R, I love you!).

Everyone who knows me knows my reasons for speaking the truth about my experiences at PeTA. And they know why it’s taken me this long to do it. I am not trying to “take PeTA down,” as has been the accusation. PeTA has done groundbreaking, revolutionary work in animal rights and none of what I’m saying is meant to detract from that. But I think it’s important to know that’s not the full story. And I think it’s important for the full story to be out there for a lot of reasons.

I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to respond to the people slinging these accusations at me. I’m sure they’re hoping that they will insult me into submission and I’ll go slinking off to the sidelines licking my wounds. That won’t happen, and not because I’m itching for a fight (I’m really, really not, this whole thing is time consuming and energy draining) but because I stand by what I’ve written.

I look at this kind of like a long run (those of you who know me knew this was coming sooner or later). The first few miles are tough, intimidating, or just tiresome. Then you get two or three miles in and you’re cruising along, pumped up, feeling like you can conquer the world. At around the eight mile mark you start to feel tired, your muscles ache, you just want to stop because eight miles is enough, right? At the ten mile mark you refuse to quit, because you’ve given it so much already and you cannot back down now, you have to see it through. We’re at the ten mile mark, and I never give up on a run.


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24 thoughts on “My Response to the Haters

  1. What the haters think of you is their karma, not yours. You did good. ❤

  2. There are more people who are with you than you know. Not all of them respond in writing. As I’ve said many times, PETA lost my support when they wanted to kill the Vick dogs. I agree that the organization has done amazing work in animal welfare. But they have lost their way in regards to companion animals. They need to focus on livestock, fur, and animal experimentation. Leave the companion animals to those of us who believe that we can end the killing of healthy dogs and cats in shelters. It just takes a lot of work from a lot of people. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. It means a lot, and it was obviously written from the heart.

    • I am so appreciative of people who are standing with me, I would not be able to do this alone. I agree completely, those are the things that should be their focus. There are great shelters and rescue organizations in Hampton Roads, leave the companion animals to them. Also, I can’t look at your avatar without getting the biggest smile on my face, I wish I could kiss that nose! Thank you!

      • he is incredible: AKC Canine Good Citizen, canine ambassador and all around amazing dog. It hurts my heart to know that if Ingrid had won the day in the court case, he would have been euthanized instead of having a wonderful life. Tomorrow we are flying to SD. He will walk through the airport, meet new people, and fly curled at my feet. No, he will never be able to have dog friends…he is too damaged for that. But he has a role making a difference for dogs all across the country.

      • He is now an Ambassador for a misunderstood breed, that’s incredibly important, he’s breaking all those undeserved stereotypes. Our little guy is a former street dog, street dogs are really looked down on in this region. When we tell people his story they’re shocked because he’s so calm, loving, and beautiful. Love these guys who have been through so much and go on to give so much back just by being them!

  3. Delete. We have that option for a reason. Use it, and enjoy your run!

    • I figure I’ll just let them type themselves silly, haha! Though deleting their comments might make them even more nuts, which would be satisfying. And thank you, all I have to do is run the nastiness off, it all evaporates in the run!

  4. I think you are amazing for finally coming forward with this. In your time it was the best time. I really hope good things about Peta can be changed. To have the trust of so many people and while they do admit to putting some animals down I am disappointed they are not honest about what you are talking about. It makes the rest of the rescues and groups fight a battle they shouldnt have to. Standing up and standing by a belief system needs to be evident in their every day operation of dealing with animals. How heartbreaking. I am so glad you have the courage to tell people about your experience. IT needs to be known. Things can not be fixed. They are broken. I guess with everything has its consequences if that is even the right word… you shouldnt have them. But you are strong enough to be able to handle it. ANd the more they try to get you to go away and you continue to stay strong without changing your story it will only continue to discredit them.

  5. I am sorry you are getting hate mail. I support PETA’s work in many areas, but have no direct contact with them. I neither believe or disbelieve you. Your story is part of the picture. As it appears on the internet and you are unknown, I take a wait and see attitude toward this. I feel like a juror, considering all the testimony but keeping an open mind until it is all in. And the “evidence” may never all be in for me nor might I pay attention enough to recognize it, but one thing I do not want is for animal activists to fight each other. I hope each of us, individually, can make that vow, that regardless of how we feel about PETA, we will not aim to thwart their activities that should be supported. Animals first and their welfare…that should be the bandwagon we all jump aboard on. There are people who will use your blog for a full out attack on PETA to discredit all of PETA’s work. That goes with the territory. Perhaps a blog about what you like about PETA’s work, would be useful. I see various comments about it from you, but for balance and a sense of journalistic objectivity, I hope you do so. You are not a journalist per se as a blogger, but I hope you will consider this.

  6. Are you involved with any vegan outreach in addition to your advocacy for shelter animals? You seem to be drawing so much attention it would be a shame to not use your notoriety/platform to speak for all the animals.

  7. Patricia Browne on said:

    I support your efforts to bring this very disturbing side of Peta into the light of day. It takes courage to speak your mind and to follow your conscience. I can only hope that this information coming out will be the beginning of change in both the public’s perception of Peta and the organization’s realization that the euthanizing of healthy, adoptable animals is wrong. I have always disagreed with their policies on TNR for feral cats (more like trap and kill) but, had no idea (until lately) they were also euthanizing pets. Thank you for doing the right thing and informing us!

  8. Tanya Whelan on said:

    Again Heather, thank you so much for exposing the culture of killing at PETA. I knew the hate would come at you hard but I’m actually surprised it hasn’t been worse. People get really rattled when you shake up their world view and for many well meaning animal lovers the idea that PETA does good for animal welfare but also has a philosophy about pet euthanasia that is wrong is too much cognitive dissidence for them to handle. Thank you a million times for letting your truth be heard and for being a whistle blower. There are many people standing behind you who grateful to you as well and I hope others with similar experiences will also come out and know that there is support for them.

  9. davydsmith on said:

    You Rock . Your article on PETA is of extreme importance. regardless of any work they do that is positive, they have to get out of the homeless pet activities they participate in. I hope you have the effect on this conversation that I hope you do. Support you on holding your ground.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story!! It was inspiring, and really sheds a light on what happens behind closed doors, so many people have no clue that such things happen in a place that is supposedly dedicated to the ethical treatment of animals. I’m sure your story will make more of a difference than you realize! Never compromise your morals.

  11. Keep staying strong. So many of us are behind you.

  12. Your story was so heartfelt and touching to read for so many reasons. I have known about Peta for a long time sadly. But hearing about Black Boy and your struggle to forgive yourself was what left me in tears. I have two dogs I feel like I failed in my life. One named Woody, who I never met but desperately tried to save and couldn’t. The other I still can’t talk about but I pray and beg for her to forgive me every day. I wrote about Woody once, maybe I’ll write about Lady now someday after seeing your courage. I am sure all our furbabies are at the Rainbow Bridge and hopefully we will see them again one day. Stay strong, you have no idea how many people are behind you! And thank you again!

    • Thank you so much! I think forgiving ourselves is so important, treating ourselves with the same grace and wiggle room we give others that we love is sometimes a struggle but it’s very necessary. I’m sure when you’re ready to talk or write about Lady you will, I hope it brings you healing.

  13. Not long ago I probably wouldn’t have believed this about PeTA. I’m not a member, I’m not even that much of a supporter, but I always thought they were good people helping all animals in need. I have never eaten veal because of PeTA, I have never worn fur because of PeTA. I would have never guessed that they would euthanize any animal, much less one that is adoptable.

    However, I have learned more about shelters than I have ever wanted to know. The moral superiority many feel over other people they deem as less dedicated to animal rights. And also the fund raising practices and misappropriation of funds to the directors’ pockets rather than the welfare of the animals in their care.

    I have a friend who raises pet pigs. She is a GOOD person and a responsible breeder. She does not make her living off of her pigs. She raises them because she loves them and knows how wonderful they can be as pets.

    Long story short, one ended up at the Humane Society of Missouri, through no fault of my friend or the piggy’s. She has been in a fight with them ever since to get her piggy home. The only reason they won’t return this little neutered once happy pig to her is that she is his breeder. She has no intention of selling him. She wants only to give him a pillow by the fire and a very wonderful life with his big brother Patrick.

    We have done much research on this organization since this started almost a month ago. We have learned more than we ever wanted to know. The organization has other pigs in their facility, many have been there for years. They don’t try very hard to adopt them out. Yet, they won’t allow one to go to a very loving home. It makes no sense.

    While Randy has been trapped at Longmeadow Ranch, a division of Humane Society of Missouri, Dawn has been able to find homes for several other pigs that came to her attention because of people learning of her due to her fight for Randy. All while Longmeadow with all of their resources haven’t been able to find homes for the pigs they have. No fees were exchanged, Dawn just found new homes for pets in need.

    Please, go learn about Dawn, Randy and their fight at and there you will find a link to sign a petition at

    More information can also be found at

    • Becky, I just came across your comment, a little late, but I’m glad I found it. Your message is an extremely important one, that ALL rescue and shelter organizations need to hear and take to heart. Today we have the benefit of much more information on why animals end up in shelters, and it’s time the zealots and preachers stop working with old information, and most importantly, outdated OPINIONS that vilify animal breeders based on the behavior of a teeny tiny minority of bad actors. It’s understandable, in a way, because rescue and shelter workers can be overwhelmed, and get angry, and even burn out from not only the disasters they deal with on a daily basis, but from their own powerlessness and frustrations. I get it. But really, do burn-outs and people filled with hatred make good advocates for animals? And how about the people they are so angry with – how does all this anger benefit other animals? I suggest not at all. I’m a dog trainer, for awhile a pro, who also volunteered for a couple of shelters to help get some unruly dogs some manners to help them fit into a new home. So they didn’t get returned – or worse, taken to another shelter or let go on the street because the people weren’t able to deal with the dog. This is an all too common story.

      Don’t want to get into a debate here, it’s not my space, but I hope a lot of people read your story about the pig breeder and realize that there is no place for more hatred, it doesn’t help the animals.

      I have a similar experience via my veterinarian, who tried to adopt an older dog, spayed female – with HEART WORM – that had been at the shelter for quite a long time. No one wanted a sick dog, but my vet knew she would be able to give this dog the best of care possible, take her home to the farm. A pretty nice life till the end of her days, sure beat hanging out in a concrete and wire shelter run without much personal attention and spotty vet care. You’d think. When my vet filled out an application to give this sick dog a great home, the shelter workers said “No!” Why? Their stated reason was that my vet is a canine reproduction specialist. She breeds and shows her dogs, and of course has intact dogs at home. Remember, this shelter dog with heart worms is spayed . . . This is just crazy, this hatred for breeders!

      There are dozens of media and social media stories happening right now about private rescue groups refusing to return animals to their rightful owners, it’s an epidemic of vigilante-style groups running amok, like your story of Randy the Pig. It’s everywhere, and people seem to be getting bolder every month, even stealing animals “under color of law”, like the attempted theft of a litter of bulldog puppies in Waukegan, IL this past Christmas. (The puppies were returned to the breeder, the police officer was fired, and the rescue group is under investigation by the sheriff, but the puppies’ owner still has many thousands of dollars in legal bills to pay.)

      There are many shelters that lack common sense regarding their adoption requirements. Some are loosey goosey, some are ridiculously strict. Before people slam dog breeders, make sure your shelter/rescue program is clean as a whistle, practices what they preach, and is willing to follow at least the minimum standards that breeders are expected to follow. Stop making “Perfect” the enemy of “Good”. There is no such thing as a perfect home, a perfect animal, a perfect person . . . give the animals a chance before you end up killing them with your good intentions.

      PETA has killed a lot of animals with “good intentions”, what a terrible shame.

  14. Malcolm on said:

    I’m very proud to know you, Heather….

  15. I know this is horribly draining and frustrating, but you can take heart from all this negativity and hatred. It’s proof of your strength and power. Straw man, ad hominem, killing the messenger – all typical responses of the desperate, the beaten, the last resort, the lost argument. A very long time ago I learned to live truth. Honesty in all matters is the key to emotional health, regardless of how painful it might be to relive some things from our past. Redemption is only possible if we are honest. Living in truth means you don’t have to worry about keeping your stories straight. wink wink That’s the thing about Haters – they have it all backwards, blaming everyone else for their own misery. Truth is freedom, life can be enjoyed, your family and friends matter a lot more than random hate-mongers on the internet. No one will remember the hateful things PETA says about you, but I guarantee that a great many people will never forget what you have started here.

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