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Important Information on Virginia’s SB 1381: No Time to Waste

The following is a piece By Douglas Anthony Cooper that was just published in the Huffington Post about Virginia Senate Bill 1381.  You can find it here but I’ve put the entire piece in my blog because this is so important and so timely. We don’t have any time to lose, the vote is tomorrow. Lobbyists, and the large organizations they work for, should not get to dictate what becomes law in our democracy, the only way to prevent this is to act. Please, if you are a Virginia voter, contact your representative and tell ask them to vote in favor of SB 1381, the contact information you need is in Mr. Cooper’s piece. The time is now.

“PETA would like you to believe that tomorrow’s crucial vote in Virginia isn’t about them. It’s about all those shelters that open their doors to dogs and cats, and then kill almost every single one. Never mind that PETA is the sole “shelter” that fits this description.

No, the bill isn’t about them.

That’s why PETA is the only group to have hired a lobbyist to quash this bill. That’s why PETA is the only group screaming about just how terrible this bill will be for innocent creatures.

Their lobbyist, Stephan Haner, is good. I mean that: he’s a pro. Note how he opens this letter to the delegates who will be voting: “Okay, we get it — people dislike my client PETA, for a whole bunch of reasons. But base your opinion on the truth, not a pack of lies.”

Nice, huh? Yes, these are lousy people, but you and I — adults — are capable of rising above such sentiments, and judging wisely. And, predictably, the next paragraph introduces… well, a pack of lies.

Bill 1381 “seeks to prevent any private shelter from practicing euthanasia.” Sayeth our lobbyist. Which is an interesting opinion, if you find rank garbage interesting.

Nobody is trying to prevent the practice of euthanasia. The bill does not oppose euthanasia, and neither does any advocate that I’ve ever met or heard of — including those that describe themselves as “No Kill.” Euthanasia means mercifully ending the life of an animal who is sick and beyond cure: generally in pain. Killing — as opposed to euthanasia — means ending the life of an animal just because it happens to be alive. The bill would deter shelters from doing the latter.

And don’t kid yourself: this bill is aimed at one shelter in particular. It aims to shut down PETA’s grotesque slaughterhouse: their “shelter,” which has killed over 33,000 pets. Yes, lots of shelters in American kill unnecessarily, but PETA’s kill rate puts them in a special category. They are a machine.

“So, let’s talk about it,” says their lobbyist. Okay, I’m all for that. Let’s talk.
“Of the 3017 animals it accepted in 2014, almost 2868 were surrendered by their owners.” Right. I have no reason to disbelieve this. It’s probably correct — or mostly correct. What is almost certainly not correct is this: that all of those owners wanted those pets put to death.

People surrender animals to shelters hoping, for the most part, that they will be re-homed. Often they explicitly request this. PETA kills these pets anyway.

Don’t believe me? We have abundant information, including the recent testimony of a whistleblower, who worked at PETA fifteen years ago: “I was told regularly to say whatever I had to say in order to get people to surrender animals to me: lying was not only acceptable, it was encouraged.” And often what was said was this: that PETA would be adopting these animals out.

This courageous whistleblower, Heather Harper-Troje, recounts one litter of puppies: “They were surrendered by their owner — I picked them up. We were supposed to find them homes, but they were all euthanized.” And this is simply one anecdote: “I never had an owner tell me they wanted their animal killed.”

Perhaps that testimony is too old for comfort? Perhaps PETA has reformed its vicious ways? Well, you’re welcome to conclude this, except that an employee was videotaped recently — just this November — stealing a perfectly health pet from a porch in Virginia: a little girl’s dog, which was killed almost immediately afterward. PETA’s lobbyist describes this as “a terrible mistake.” I’d certainly agree with the “terrible” bit. Theft is rarely a “mistake.”

Frankly, nobody decent could possibly conclude that PETA has become a more reputable outfit — not after reading this fully documented report: “PETA’s Secret Slaughter of Kittens and Puppies.” (Warning: the photographic evidence will turn your stomach.)

So, I’m glad we’ve had this little talk, Mr. Lobbyist. And I am truly impressed by your rhetoric. What worries me is that the delegates representing the people of Virginia will be equally impressed. And that would be a disaster for animals.

If you’re a Virginia resident, contact your delegate. The vote is tomorrow. You can find out who represents you on this page: “An Urgent List for Virginia Voters.”

You can arm yourself with the actual facts here: “SB1381: David and Goliath scenario to protect Virginia’s dogs and cats.”

Tell your delegate that you’re on the side of David. That you agree with Virginia’s elected senators, who have already passed this bill on your behalf. That you’ve done some reading, and spent some time with your beloved animals, and have decided that Goliath and its lobbyist don’t speak for you.”

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5 thoughts on “Important Information on Virginia’s SB 1381: No Time to Waste

  1. Sandy S. on said:

    Have emailed my reps and all the delegates, fingers crossed and thank you to you Heather for all you’ve done to help this bill pass.

  2. I am not from Virginia but am seriously hoping those that are will actually call their representatives. I also hope the representatives will see that the only people trying to kill this bill is PETA themselves. If it was such a horrible bill the other rescues would be trying to kill it as well. I hate PETA and all that it stands for. I wish you luck Virginians.

  3. I’m still researching the issue and I have this one hard question. If a private animal shelter is unable to find homes for all of its cats, and they are no longer allowed to euthanize them, due to SB 1381, will they not start turning them away? This concerns me, because multiple times over the years, helpless kittens have been dropped off in the road in front of my property to starve or be eaten. I know, it’s hard to believe, but this is how some people get rid of unwanted cats.

    • The bill does not outlaw euthanasia. It simply asserts that the primary purpose of a private shelter should be to find adoptive homes for animals or other life saving outcomes. Most shelters already do this so PETA is really the only “shelter” that will be effected because they have a kill rate of 90% and don’t try to finds homes for animals. This bill also only effects private shelters so animal control facilities are not effected. Take a look at the local shelter stats and you’ll see that most private shelters do operate primarily to find homes and facilitate life saving outcomes already (i.e., the private shelters have save rates above 50%).

    • Hi Robert, I will echo what Baker posted. This bill does not address the issue of euthanasia, it is merely solidifying the purpose of a shelter. In 2014 PETA killed 95.64% of the cats it brought in and nearly 77% of dogs. To my knowledge, no other private shelters are fighting this bill, their purpose already is finding adoptive homes or other life saving outcomes (permanent foster, for instance, is something that small rescues who work with elderly animals might do). The assertion by PETA that this bill places animals into danger because it means shelters will have to turn them away is false, it’s a straw man meant to distract from the real issue–that this bill would prevent PETA from maintaining the high kill rate they currently have. I’ve worked in a small humane society, I’ve volunteered in other shelters, including a small private shelter in Costa Rica with very limited resources who never turn an animal away. I’ve never seen a shelter, even shelters who take in very sick animals, with a kill rate like PETA’s, it’s unprecedented and completely unnecessary and this bill would prevent it continuing.

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