ahhh, the life of a diplomatic princess . . .

My Letter to Virginia Delegates

Tomorrow I will be e-mailing all one hundred Virginia House members, asking them to vote yes on SB 1381. The following is the letter I’ve written to them — I wanted to share it on my blog as well. I’m giving my perspective not just as a former PETA employee but as someone who has experienced animal rescue overseas, and someone who has seen how shelters and rescuers have done so much with so little in order to help the sickest animals I’ve ever seen. Keeping that in mind, I know PETA, with its incredible resources, is capable of more — SB 1381 would require them to rise to that.

Dear Delegate,

I am writing today to ask you to please pass SB 1381. As a former PETA employee who worked in the Community Animal Project (the division that does field and shelter work), I know from firsthand experience that this bill is needed in order to protect the animals taken in by PETA.

In the eight months I worked for CAP the vast majority of dogs and cats who were killed were healthy, adoptable animals. They were not gravely ill, injured, elderly, aggressive, or otherwise unadoptable, as PETA is claiming. While my employment for PETA was fifteen years ago, I firmly believe, based on their own report of how many animals were killed in 2014, that they still hold a policy where killing animals they bring in is not a last resort — as it should be in a shelter — but a first response.

I was told to kill entire litters of healthy, adoptable puppies and kittens, cats who had been kept exclusively inside all their lives, dogs who would have been adopted in a heartbeat in other shelters. And I was told this by Ingrid Newkirk herself, the President of PETA.

My husband is a diplomat, currently with the American Embassy in Honduras, and over the course of our various postings I have volunteered for shelters and rescue groups in developing nations. Their efforts on behalf of animals put Ingrid Newkirk’s to shame. I have also worked in a small shelter in Montana, and volunteered at another shelter in Virginia. Neither in America nor abroad have I ever seen a shelter with kill numbers as high as PETA’s. It’s unheard of.

And I have never worked with another organization that has anywhere near PETA’s wealth. I volunteered in a shelter in San Jose, Costa Rica, for instance — the only conventional shelter in the area — and it operated on a shoe string budget. It did free and low-cost spay and neuter; it had vaccination clinics; it ran a veterinary clinic that helped some of the most destitute and neglected animals I have ever seen. They also took weekends where they would go into the most impoverished communities in the country and provide free care for animals. They never turned an animal away, and they only performed humane euthanasia (meaning they only euthanized an animal if he/she was suffering and could not be helped).

In the three years I lived in Costa Rica, euthanasia at that shelter was so rare that, when it had to happen, it was something the director and I talked about at length because it weighed on her. This is a shelter that sees some of the sickest, most neglected animals you can imagine: malnourished street dogs, abused dogs kept outside who are attacked by other dogs, cats with severe infections, wildlife attacked with machetes, etc. — and euthanasia is rare there. Consider this: if an underfunded shelter that routinely sees animals in such distress can provide them with what they need, then why can’t PETA?

PETA can do better, and this law would require them to do better. They know this, which is why they are lobbying so hard to defeat this bill.

Note that other shelters in Virginia support this law — PETA is the lone voice against this necessary legislation. Please do what is right for animals, and what is right for your constituents, of which I am one: I remain a Virginia taxpayer. I am sure that the great majority of Virginians do not agree with PETA’s “kill first” philosophy, and would urge you to vote in favor of SB 1381.

Thank you for your consideration,

Heather Harper-Troje

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28 thoughts on “My Letter to Virginia Delegates

  1. Reblogged this on SiameseCatTwins4Ever and commented:

  2. Jackson on said:

    That’s incredibly powerful testimony Heather. Thank you for writing to your delegates and all the reps. Thank you.

  3. Rose Guieb on said:

    I have a problem with Peta not only because they kill any animal they can get their hands on, but they want extinction of domesticated animals, and that I am also not OK with. Peta needs to go away NOW!

  4. Great Letter, Heather and thank you for sharing it with us. I hope the vote goes for the animals and not PETA>

  5. Excellent letter. Thank you.

  6. Excellent letter! Thank you for writing and sending it out.

  7. Reblogged this on An Animal Advocate and commented:

  8. Jackson on said:

    PETA is outright LYING on their FB page about the bill. They are saying it will limit “services” to sick, aggressive and un adoptable animals. Please go to their FB page and say what the bill really says, that private animal shelters in VA will be required to attempt to find homes for adoptable animals and facilitate other life saving outcomes. It does not outlaw euthanasia but will limit PETA’s killing of adoptable animals.

    • It’s unbelievable how they are lying, it’s such a betrayal of the people who put their trust in them (again). I, unfortunately, have been banned from their FB page because I asked why they were deleting comments from people who were disagreeing with them. Typical–they mold the narrative to suit their needs.

      • Kim Moses on said:

        Same thing happened to me. Blocked from commenting !!! Please anyone who can do this, go to their FB page and let their blind followers know the truth !!! They are calling all VA residents and asking them to sign a a Petition to throw this Bill out !!! I’m pleading if you can post on their page please do it. I’m so worried that they might win this fight being the last two votes have been so close :(. Praying from Boston Ma

      • I agree, Kim. If this bill passes it will be due to their lying to their followers and spending big bucks on a lobbyist.

      • jackson on said:

        Sorry Heather, didn’t mean you since obviously no one has done more to speak out against them publicly about their personal experience working with them. Meant anybody reading this who supports SB 1381.

      • I wish I could still post. I pointed out, before they banned me, that I have kept up all pro-PeTA comments on my blog posts. They’re scared of the truth.

  9. Jenny Barkley on said:

    Thank you. shared.

  10. karen tiner on said:

    I left a comment explaining what the bill was about and that it would simply require PETA to do what all the other shelters in virginia were already doing, which is simply to try and get adoptable healthy pets rehomed before resorting to euthanasia…they deleted my comment and blocked me..they are blatantly blocking and deleting comments that tell the truth…charity navigator gives them a bad rating, time for them to just be shut down..

  11. Typo: It ‘s SB 1381 not SB 3181… 🙂

  12. I love this. SO love how you have the right way to say what needs to be said. Great job again Heather

  13. Evreyone, please “vote” in the Virginian pilot on-line poll to say you want PETA’s euthanasia rate reduced. PETA has probably artificially effected the poll with fake votes to make it look like it’s evenly split. It’s a small thing, but who knows if delegates are paying attention to such things before the vote at 11am. GO VOTE NOW! it’s on the left hand side of the article

  14. IT PASSED 95 to 2!!!!!

  15. It passed in part because of your coming forward Heather. I hope you know that.

  16. Thank you for speaking out, Heather. I’m very happy that the bill passed. I wonder what PETA will do next…

  17. The Expatriate Runner on said:

    Thank you so much for writing this. It broke my heart; I had no idea. If I were a Virginia voter, I would have written a similar letter. I’m so glad the bill passed. Your posts on this issue have made me smother my rescue pup with so many hugs and kisses that she went to another room. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for reading! This who thing is heartbreaking, now that I’ve really started to dig into what happened to Maya I have about a billion questions I can’t find answers for. And I do the same with our rescue pup, sometimes he barely tolerates me, haha! 🙂

  18. Pingback: PETA’s Bully Tactics — How They Dragged my Family into the Line of Fire | mom2nomads

  19. Pingback: PETA threatens whistleblower’s family. | DC: Infowarrior

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