One Door Closes … my thoughts on the settlement of the Maya/PETA lawsuit
Over the course of the last few years I’ve written many times about Maya, a tiny chihuahua who was stolen from her porch, and killed just hours later, by two employees of animal right’s giant, PETA. Maya’s family went on to sue PETA for the theft and killing of Maya; recently the case was settled and PETA agreed to pay the family $49,000 dollars.
But anyone who has been following this case, and thinking critically about it, knows that Maya was not a “tragic mistake,” as PETA lawyer Jeffrey Kerr stated. In fact, the day Maya was stolen and killed, PETA also killed several other animals who lived in the same mobile home park as Maya — including two kittens, one puppy, and two dogs; that’s a fact that is documented by PETA’s own records. Furthermore, over the past thirteen years, again, according to their own records, PETA has killed 32,744 animals. Let that number sink in for a second, because it’s shocking and horrifying. So while Maya’s theft and killing was tragic, it wasn’t a mistake — it was PETA standard operating procedure.
I, and many others, have been fighting hard to expose PETA’s routine and callous killing of adoptable companion animals. So I will admit to being a bit gutted when I learned that Maya’s family had decided to settle the lawsuit, as the discovery process and the trial would have shone a very bright light on the pattern of PETA’s killing. But I’ve stated time and again that I would do whatever I could in order to help Maya’s family find justice — and the form that justice takes is not up to me. I am a mother and, as a mother, my priority in all things must be my family –most importantly, my children. Wilbur Zarate, Maya’s guardian, is a father and, ultimately, he had to do what he believed to be best for his family, for his child whose dog was stolen and killed. So while I am disappointed, I have a lot of empathy for the Zarate family, and for the hell I’m sure they’ve gone through with this lawsuit. I hope this settlement brings them closure and peace, and that they feel justice has been done. And I have so much admiration for them because they are the only family who has had the courage to stand up to PETA and to demand justice for their beloved companion animal.
I think it’s important to remember that PETA’s willingness to settle this lawsuit, in itself, demonstrates guilt — and not just in Maya’s theft and killing. In my opinion, and the opinion of those who know the truth about PETA’s killing, this was a pretty predictable end. While we were all hoping mightily this would go to trial we knew PETA would do whatever they could in order to prevent the discovery process, and in order to prevent their leadership from being under oath during a trial. I believe the things that would have been revealed would have proven the truth about PETA and the animals they routinely kill. And that is a not something PETA wants evidence of spilling out all over the place.
So this chapter of the fight is closed, and that’s okay. It doesn’t change what they did to Maya, or to her family. And it doesn’t change the fact that every year thousands of animals are killed at PETA headquarters and in PETA vans. It is my understanding that PETA is holding over the heads of people who were set to testify against them, including myself, the threat of lawsuits and that, any day now, I’ll get a letter from the charming PETA attorneys stating such. Once again, they are using the tactics of a bully to try to silence those of us fighting to reveal the truth about them. And, in response, I will tell them the same thing I always tell them — I am not scared of you, I am not threatened by you. I will not sit down and shut up and, as I’ve said before, each time you threaten me or my family in order to get me to do so, I only dig my heels in harder and deeper. I know the truth, and I know it from my time as one who held your lethal needles, who saw photos of the animals you killed and dumped in garbage bins in North Carolina, who watched the video of a tiny dog being stolen off her porch and whisked into a deadly van. I will continue to fight for the legacy of Black Boy, who saved me. He paid for my salvation with his life, and I will never let PETA forget his name. I will continue to fight for Maya, and for the thousands of anonymous animals PETA kills every year. So buckle up, PETA, because I’m in this for the long haul.
For anyone who wants to know more about my experiences while working for PETA please check out Nathan and Jennifer Winograd’s newly launch Podcast, Up at Daylight. I feel honored that their inaugural podcast is an interview I did with the Winograd’s, entitled “Inside the PETA Kill Room,” and I am so grateful for their tireless voices in the fight to reveal the truth about PETA’s killing.