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PETA’s Bully Tactics — How They Dragged my Family into the Line of Fire

Yesterday I wrote this blog alluding to the fact that PETA was attempting to bully me into silence by attempting to put into jeopardy something sacred to us — the loss of which would do serious harm to my family, to my children. At the time I wrote the blog I was not able to give more details, shortly after I published it I was given the green light to do so. Had I known that was going to happen I would have just written yesterday the blog I will write today. But, not knowing when I would be given the green light, and after talking to my husband about the parameters of what was appropriate to put on my blog in the meantime, I went ahead. Because I believe it is important people know as much as possible about how PETA attempts to bully people who speak the truth about their killing. Today I can write about what happened.

On June 15 an attorney representing PETA wrote a letter to my husband’s boss chock full of false allegations against Eric and against me. They accused him/us of “false and malicious attacks” against PETA, ethics violations, misuse of government property, and attempting to “interfere with PETA’s business,” a violation of Virginia law. As if killing animals is a business. They accused us of using Eric’s position in order to further my “scheme” against PETA. Bottom line, they attempted to jeopardize Eric’s job, our livelihood, in order to get us to shut up about their killing. They put at risk my entire family.

While Eric and I both knew none of these allegations were true it’s still extremely worrisome to have a letter like this sent to one’s boss. This is his job, his career, the way we support our family. Additionally, the oath Eric took when he joined the FS is something he did with respect for our country and for the people he serves — serving with integrity is at the core of that.

Eric contacted an attorney, specifically about the allegations of ethics violations, sending him both the letter and a link to my blog. The attorney looked everything over and responded that there was nothing improper about our actions, no ethics violations had occurred. Which we knew but it was calming to hear that from an attorney.

As for the allegations of “misuse of government property” it was also determined that he did nothing wrong. Eric is allowed, by his employer, our government, on his breaks, to use his computer for limited personal use of social media. In other words, he can make a comment as a private citizen on a FB post about PETA while he’s taking a coffee break.

More attorneys were contacted and they agreed with the initial assessments. They also stated that Eric and I were acting within our rights, as private citizens. We have first amendment rights and those are not signed away when you work for the government or when you are married to someone who does. Additionally, they stated no libel or slander had occurred as long as everything we’ve stated is true. Which it is. Honestly, would PETA be trying this hard to shut us up if we were lying? Their not scared of lies, they’re scared of the truth.

There are other things they stated about me that were laughable, really, and not even worth my time. But the last thing I want to address is PETA’s assertion that I am using my position as a Foreign Service spouse to further my efforts to expose them. In order to back up this assertion they cited a few things. First, that in my letters to members of the Virginia General Assembly, I stated that Eric is a diplomat currently serving at our embassy in Honduras. Yes, I did write that. Let’s put it into context, this is what I wrote:

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 not abroad have I ever seen a shelter with kill numbers as high as PETA’s. It’s unheard of.

Context is important. You can read the entire letter here.

Second, they cited the “About Me” section of my blog where I state that I am a Foreign Service spouse. Um, yeah. When I started this blog I did it, in part, with the intent of documenting our lives as nomads, specifically as a Foreign Service family. I am a Foreign Service blogger, I belong to a community of Foreign Service bloggers. Our blogs are resources for members of our community, for people considering joining the FS, and for expats. Need to know what the schools are like in Ghana or Ireland? We can hook you up. Looking for lists of the pros and cons of various posts? We’ve got your back. People search for our blogs because they need information — I’ve been contacted countless time by folks who have been looking for info on various posts, see that we’ve been to one or two of them, and have questions. And by people new to the FS, or considering the FS, with questions about raising kids in the FS, moving animals internationally, or just generally “what’s it like?” Finally, as a Foreign Service blogger, I am obligated to state on my blog that the opinions and views I express are mine alone and do not belong to my FS husband or his employer. Which leads to the other purpose of my blog — to express my personal opinions and beliefs. Mine and mine alone. ‘Nuff said.

They also seem to have a problem with my statement that “we serve,” they even added an emphasis to the word “we.” One of the things we try hard to instill in our children is the responsibility they have as Americans living overseas and, specifically, as Americans officially representing our country. They, we, have a responsibility to conduct ourselves in a way that shows respect to our host country and to represent our nation in the best way we can. We signed up for this together, as a family unit. We all make the sacrifices this life entails, we all reap the benefits. So, yes, we serve. We are a Foreign Service family. And added that emphasis.

So that’s what happened. PETA tried to put our livelihood at risk in order to get us to stop telling the truth about the thousands of animals they have killed, and about the countless animals who are at risk in the present and future. Eric’s response to PETA is at the end of this blog. Here’s my response to PETA: If you ever drag my family into this again, if you ever again attempt to put at risk my children, I will dig in deeper, I will push back harder, I will stand up taller. I am not scared of you.

Eric’s response:

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54 thoughts on “PETA’s Bully Tactics — How They Dragged my Family into the Line of Fire

  1. Hi Heather. I have been following your blog regarding PETA since u began writing about them, yet have never commented before. I want to commend you for your bravery and honesty regarding Petas high kill rate. Prior to reading about ” Black Boy, ” I had been a financial supporter of PETA . Well that stopped immediately upon reading your story about him.
    I just want to Thank you for exposing the truth about their high kill rate. It truly breaks my heart that an organization that can and does do a lot for animals would put anyone in a position to euthanize these helpless animals just because it is ” easier,” for them. My heart breaks at the thought.
    Just know that I support you and your families efforts in continuing to expose the truth ! God bless u and your family ! ❤️❤️ Elaine

    • Hi Elaine, thank you for your kind words, we very much appreciate your support. Sometimes I feel like we — I and all those who are working tirelessly to expose PETA’s killing — aren’t making a dent and I start to feel hopeless. But to know we are reaching people, and people are paying attention, means the world. All the best to you. ~Heather

  2. Rosemary on said:

    Heather – Wow. That organization just looks worse and worse. A letter to your husband’s boss? They must be very worried. Obviously, you have cleared the way for others to come forward which I hope they will.

  3. Unbelievable. Just when I think PETA can’t possible stoop any lower, they do.

    I do think that since they have stooped this low and have gone to considerably lengths to try to shut you up, that you are having an effect. You are making a difference. Try to remember that when the going gets tough. I try to when I am fighting the high kill “shelters” in my community who slaughter 80,000 pets every single year.

  4. Victorena Minchew on said:

    Heather…you have my utmost admiration for your willingness to speak out and confront head on the terroristic, bullying tactics of PETA. You ARE going to make a difference, as more people come to realize that the fuzzy, warm image they have of PETA as “animal lovers saving animal lives” is diametrically opposite to what goes on behind the scenes. Thank you, your husband and your family for your service, not only to our country, but to exposing the PETA agenda.

  5. Leslie on said:

    I admire you for standing up to PETA and you are not alone! I am starting to see more of stories like yours about PETA! I am no longer a believer or supporter! They need to come clean and quit lying about what they are really doing and stop hiding behind their lawyers. If they didn’t have anything to hide then they would lay it all out on the table for all to see!!! Keep fighting and standing up for yourself and all the innocent animals who don’t have a voice!!

    • I agree, if there was nothing for them to hide none of this would be happening. I am always happy to hear that more people are learning the truth about their killing, thank you!

  6. jbsibley01 on said:

    You’re my f’in hero.

  7. Lucy Van Pelt on said:

    Gee, this sounds oh so familiar…..Probably right down to the same Schyster Lawyers used (Dewey, Cheatham and Howe). HAhah

    Lord Ingrid, you are a pathetic creepy old bat….RETIRE already and do the world a favor.

  8. As someone who had the distinct honor of sharing my life with one of the Vick dogs, who PeTA lobbied to have killed, I haven’t been able to support them in a very long time. I am surprised that they would use donated dollars to try and silence a former employee. Those are the tactics of a desperate (and guilty) organization.

    • First, please let me say that I am so sorry for Ray’s passing. My heart just aches for your loss. The wisdom in his beautiful face in infinite and I know our world is a better place for having had him in it. Second, the fact that PETA would advocate for something so heinous is very telling about them. And, absolutely, if I were someone who gave money to PETA I would be very angry that my dollars were going to lawyers sending out acts of desperation instead of towards helping animals.

      • I agree… the peoples’ money donated in good faith to help animals is being used to torment people that divulge PETA’s horrible practices. How is that getting by auditors? Does no one question where the money goes? My biggest question is why is that murderous director still in charge?

  9. Suzanna Bailey on said:

    Thank you!

    • Tina Harris on said:

      PETA should be shut down and charged with animal cruelty, inhumane slaughter of animals, and for all the death threats to numerous of people over the years.
      Your blog is amazing don’t let these monsters bully you.

      • Helen rains on said:

        Pets does a great job of protecting animals and spreading the word on animal cruelty. They are known all over the world for fighting for the rights of all helpless animals. I believe they do their best in a world that is just too busy to care. They are a voice for them and work tirelessly to try to help. Plz,,,stop this petty fight,get on the same side and let’s focus on the true reason why all of us do this. For the fur babies that so desperately need us. We all love them and are sickened by the killings but we can’t save them all,we can only try to do our very best and I do believe that peta does. Thier impeccable service speaks for Its self. Thx,,just my point of view but let’s work together is my message. God bless your family and ur hard work as animal activists as well. We’re all doing this for the animals let that be the focus.

      • Hi Helen, yes, we are all fighting for the fur babies.Absolutely. I am asking you to do more research into peta because, as much good as they do in other areas, they are not fighting for the companion animals they take in. This isn’t about overpopulation, or shelters making difficult decisions. This is about an organization that deceives people by telling people they will do their best to find home for their animals and then kills the animal without trying to do so. This is an organization that kills stray animals without following the law of Virginia, which states an animal must be held for 5 days. It’s an organization that steals animals and then kills them. Maya was a loved, healthy chihuahua. Peta workers had sat on her porch with her people, gaining their trust. Then, when they were not in the house, snatched Maya from her porch and killed her. Then, peta hired lawyers to defend their actions. Please believe me, I am not fighting some petty vendetta, my life would be far more pleasant if I weren’t doing this. But I can’t keep silent while peta continues to kill at a rate that is unprecedented in shelters, even shelters who see the worst of the worst. What they do is not rescue work and the animals they take in deserve real rescue work and at least a chance at a loving, forever home. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for the work you do for animals. All the best to you.

      • Tina, I definitely won’t, thank you.

      • Nenzie on said:

        Helen, people have a right to know what their donations support. PeTA treats animals as disposable commodities–they raise money off of them and then kill them because it takes money and time to place them and care for them until adoption. How can we tell someone it’s wrong to kill animals and eat them if we support killing them just because they’re inconvenient?

  10. I am naive enough to keep hoping that these massive national “rescue” groups will someday start using the vast amounts of money they receive from caring people to do good. Just think – PeTA could provide mobile spay/neuter vans for every community in the US – if they provided vaccinations, people would use them. They have the funds to help shelters remodel and create a place where dogs wouldn’t be traumatized, they could help with dogs food and medication for families whose reduced circumstances force them to relinquish their beloved pets.

    Instead, they seem to rejoice in seizing (and killing) dogs from the homeless, in pointing fingers but never getting their hands dirty to solve the problem. As far as I can tell, their expertise in dogs ends at making heartbreaking videos.

    The only way they will ever change is if their supporters demand it, or direct their funds elsewhere. Thank you.

    • I agree, Rita. The resources that they put into killing could be used to help real rescue groups and shelters. I hope people continue to push back at them so we can all make that happen.

  11. Heather, thank you for making your powerful story public. There are lots of us out here who know that PETA is not what they claim to be but don’t have the evidence that your story provides. I was active in pit bull rescue for several years which peaked my interest in no-kill shelters or at least trying to figure out how we could figure out how to kill pit bulls in shelters. So when I discovered PETA’s policy on pit bulls, I was outraged. Anyway, I have been doing everything I can to get the word out about PETA which is why I find your story so invaluable.

    • I agree, their stance on pit bulls is outrageous. Anything that continues misconceptions about an entire breed, and continues to harm those dogs in the process, is unacceptable. Thank you so much for working to get the truth out, we’ve all got to do this together!

  12. Kevin sexton on said:

    Heather, I applaud you and your family. I know it’s an uphill battle fighting PETA and Newkirk with their millions and their army of delusional supporters. Thank you for sharing first hand knowledge of the autrocities PETA continues doing. It is clear to me that Ingrid Newkirk does not love animals, she in facts hates them.

  13. Heather, there are countless thousands of animal lovers who are so very grateful that you are standing firmly for the truth. You and I personally may disagree on some of the principles of the animal rights movement, but it’s clear that we are of one mind on kindness and humane treatment of all living beings – including the people who care for animals. In the end, it’s PETA’s inhumanity that you have exposed, and animals everywhere will be better off for your personal sacrifice. I hope you can inspire more people to come forward, but I don’t expect much. There are few people who can withstand attacks like this – the typical bully tactics. You have my respect.

    • Kindness and humane treatment for all beings, including humans. Exactly. When I worked for PETA I met a man who I visited from time to time who had two dogs. He clearly loved them but he was really struggling financially. Of course, my job was to try to get him to surrender the dogs, who would then be killed. But it was so clear to me, even in the middle of being torn between my own conscience and being a true believer, that he loved them. So I spent time talking with him about how to care for them. One day when I was speaking to him he burst into tears. This was a retired police officer. He was living in a tiny house, trying to support his daughter, her boyfriend, and their child on his retirement. He was so overwhelmed telling me about this that he just burst into tears! My heart hurt for him but, beyond dog houses, sometimes some supplies, an open ear, there wasn’t much more I could do for him. Think of all the good PETA could do with all its resources for people like that, and their animals. The differences that could be made! THAT would be real rescue work. With a worldview than hold compassion for ALL as the thing we should strive for we can do so much.

  14. Jen McAlpine on said:

    I’m trying to imgaine how their lawyers thought that was going to turn out for them. They must have thought that Eric’s boss would freak out that he/you use social media and have opinions about topics on which the USG has no official position and tell you guys to stop? And that it would never get out and make them look ridiculous? Wow, how clueless can you get? PETA has been ripped off by their lawyers!

    • I wonder . . . lawyers do pretty much what they are told by their clients, and if the PETA lawyers didn’t already agree with those cretins, they wouldn’t work for them. But once they sell their souls . . . Lawyers are just people, as much as we joke about the profession. I doubt that they gave a moment’s thought to how this would turn out, it’s all the better for business in the long run if this is prolonged.

    • I’d say so, it all seems very thin and incompetent. But, as they say, there’s no there there.

  15. Audrey on said:

    I think that the should be banned. Since they are not helping animals of any kind

  16. KellyS on said:

    I don’t agree with 99% of what Peta does. If they actually did what they claim to do, I would be closer in agreement. However not having animals being part of people’s lives, is their core plan. And they have proven that they will stoop to any level of threat and falsification in order to sway people and accomplish their goals. Quite honestly at this point if Peta gets involved, I automatically side with the other party. Odds are there is something being fabricated once Peta gets invovled. If you have any doubt of that, think about what you KNOW firsthand, and think about all the other aspects they dabble in…

  17. EBNewsome on said:

    Follow the money………………..

    When in doubt, follow the money

    • Yes. I wonder if Senator Wagner now attempting to block a law he voted for — SB1381, which will prevent PETA from killing the vast majority of animals it brings in — has anything to do with PETA campaign cash?

  18. Hello LTNS or chat as the case may be. This is a Horrific story. NO one should have to go through this period! I have been reposting and sharing info about PeTA for a while, however, this is something from way out bounds. I am sorry that you had to go through this.

    I am running into people now who support PeTA for a number of reasons. I had one person tell me they kill to help control the pet population. Yeah, that was a good one. AS well, I received this message from a new friend this evening.

    “do you know that they euthanize dogs that others refuse to help? that the problem with abused and savage and diseased pets is epidemic and there is often no other solution for an animal that is beyond saving and in abject pain?”

    PeTA is a vile organization. One can only hope the new law in Virgina will force that shelter closed and that they then can carry a better message forward.

    Thank you for doing what you do!

    • I hope so. I’m concerned because Senator Wagner, who voted for the bill, is now blocking implementation of the law it created. And appears to be working with a lobbyist for an organization that fought passage of the bill. If he successfully blocks it then it will take 2-3 years for it to be implemented. By the numbers that means nearly 6-9 thousand more animals dead — and those are just the ones recorded. It’s infuriating. Thank you for what you do to spread the truth about PETA.

  19. Reblogged this on thedarkwarriorproject and commented:
    Please read!
    PeTA at their worst!

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  21. I agree with everything that Heather is saying people need to stop PETA….no more giving money just to kill innocent animals….try to get people more into responsibility to neuter or spayed their animals…instead of killing thousands just because they can….they are suppose to help….makes me sick….something has to be done….power in numbers so lets keep helping Heather by circulating what PETA is really all about…..and be the voice these poor animals need…..

  22. David on said:

    Who did the letter to Eric’s boss come from exactly? I don’t think it defends it, but I am interested to see who in Peta (or whether all of Peta) were represented.

  23. Thanks Heather! Continue to expose PETA. Constituents can sway the senator by saying they won’t vote for him-LOBBY!!!! I continually send people to your website from Nathan Winograd’s web page if I suspect doubters or people are hearing the “true PETA” for the first time (Of course he has lots of factual data, but I think you bring sooo much to the table as a former employee)-You are truly making a difference! Don’t stop fighting the good fight-you have a lot of people behind you!

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