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Archive for the tag “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”

Using Bigotry to Defend Theft and Killing — Well Done, PETA

Yesterday I spent a few hours reading through the latest court documents in the lawsuit against PETA (you know the one I mean, the one against them because they stole and killed a little girl’s dog). Predictably, it’s full of lies and half truths and, man, are PETA’s lawyers snarky. But what really got under my skin is PETA’s attempt to smear Maya’s family. This is typical PETA behavior — they’re bullies and anyone who dares stand up to them becomes a target, which I know from personal experience. But what is especially heinous about this particular smearing is the not so subtle racism and xenophobia they’re employing. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, since PETA supporters also employ bigotry in order to try to silence truth tellers, and PETA never steps in to put a stop to it. But, holy hell, it’s low.

Time and time again Wilbur Zarate, the father of Cynthia, the little girl whose dog PETA stole and killed, was asked about his citizenship status, the citizenship status of his family members, the status of his green card by PETA’s attorney during his deposition. He even went so far as to ask if Cynthia was born in the US or in Mexico. Because Mr. Zarate’s citizenship status is relevant to the fact that PETA stole and killed his little girl’s dog how? From the beginning PETA has stated that the Zarate family is suing them in order to make money, which is offensive but not a shocking thing for them to say. But to bring into all of this the heritage of the Zarate family is a bridge too far even for PETA.

Here’s what I see: I see a massive labyrinth of an organization trying to shut up by any means necessary the one family — the ONE — who has dared stand up to PETA. I see PETA stating that Mr. Zarate is only after money and then, in order to further smear him, question his citizenship status. And here’s the larger picture — I see PETA asserting that anyone whose native language is Spanish, and/or is of Mexican heritage, can and should have their citizenship status questioned. Because, why the hell not? And, geez, if someone is in the US illegally how dare they stand up for their family, right? Some folks are just supposed to sit down, roll over, and ignore it when heinous things happen. Here’s what I see as PETA’s primary message to Mr. Zarate — “don’t you know your place?”

When you stole and killed a little girl’s dog, and it’s just the latest smoking gun in a pattern of behavior going back nearly twenty years, THIS is all you have left. The emperor has no clothes, so you throw everything you can at the victim. You know, the guy whose little girl’s dog was stolen and killed contrary to Virginia law. A dog who was not the only animal killed that day. The fact that PETA is using bigotry and xenophobia in order to defend themselves is offensive and shocking — as is the fact that the day of Maya’s death was just another day at the office for PETA employees. And keep talking, PETA, because the more your representatives say the more they reveal the moral wasteland at your core.

More Questions Surrounding PETA’s 2015 Stats

I’m in no mood to fight the PETA battles today but something vitally important was just published — and it’s all based on the statistics of PETA and other area animal agencies.

PETA, Where Are the Missing Animals” is the title of the blog piece just published by Nathan Winograd. Mr. Winograd broke down some numbers — self-reported by PETA to the state of Virginia — and, unlike PETA, numbers don’t lie.

In 2015, PETA claims to have transferred 446 animals to other “Virginia Releasing Agencies,” and it lists on it’s VDACS paperwork where each animal was supposed to have gone. However, Mr. Winograd also has the numbers for the other VA agencies and this is where the massive red flag comes in because the numbers don’t add up. The entire blog is vital information for anyone who cares about animals so I encourage everyone reading this to read it. For now, let’s look at some of the most glaring red flags.

First,  the records for the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter. According to PETA’s records, they transferred 7 dogs and 27 cats to PRAS. According to PRAS they received exactly this number of animals from PETA: 0. In fact, they didn’t receive any animals at all from any other shelters. So where are those 34 animals PETA claims to have transferred to PRAS? It’s possible, I suppose that PRAS would list any animals it receives from PETA as being an “owner surrender” but, considering there is a nice big column for “Animals Received from Another Virginia Releasing Agency,” and PETA is a licensed animal shelter, it doesn’t seem likely.

Here’s another Mr. Winograd points out, Norfolk Animal Care Center:

Likewise, while PETA claims it sent 70 cats, 22 dogs, and two “other companion animals” to the Norfolk Animal Care Center, Norfolk reports taking in only 61 cats, 31 dogs, and two “other companion animals” from Chesapeake Animal Control and Virginia Beach Animal Control. It does not report taking in any from PETA.

So now we’re up to 128 missing animals. Where are those 128 animals? 128 cats, dogs, and “other” animals. We know, again by PETA’s own numbers, that they killed 1,502 animals in 2015. And we know that we have 128 missing cats, dogs, and “other”s. 128 animals don’t just go missing from a shelter, something happened to them. And if we know these animals are missing because there are no records of them at the agencies they were supposed to have been transferred to how do we know all the other animals PETA claims it transferred to area shelters were really transferred? How do we know they’re not just missing too? Again, Mr. Winograd has some possible explanations for the number discrepancies so please read his blog.

Let’s say PETA actually did make a clerical error to the tune of 128 animals, hypothetically. What does that say about their capabilities? It’s pretty dismal. And how does that reflect upon their other record keeping abilities?

The more sinister explanation, of course, is that PETA falsified their records to keep their already outrageous kill rates just a little less outrageous. I assume it’s illegal to falsify state records? Obviously, we can’t prove this is what happened to the 128 animals who are unaccounted for, right now this is just a question mark. But, man, that’s one hell of a question mark.

 

 

 

 

The Thread That Binds for PETA: Death

PETA is still in very hot water over its support of Breed Specific Legislation and is trying mightily to spin the truth. But the truth is the truth, we must keep our focus on it. And this is the truth — when you dig deep into the way their actions impact companion animals you can see that they have one common thread — animals end up dead.

Let’s just get some facts out there.

First Fact: During the months of July, August, and September, PETA took in 630 animals and 490 of those animals were killed. You can find a statement by Virginia Senator Bill Stanley about those numbers here. Sadly, these are typical numbers for PETA. In 2014 they took in 2,631 animals and killed 2,324. You can find more information about their shockingly high kill rate here.

Second Fact: PETA kills adoptable animals without ever trying to rehome them. I know this from my firsthand experience as a PETA field worker. We know this because of Maya, the dog they killed shortly after stealing her from her home. We know this because of the animals in North Carolina who were killed in a PETA van and whose bodies were dumped like trash. Patrick Proctor, a veterinarian who asked PETA to find homes for a mother cat and her kittens, stated of their deaths

This is ethical? I don’t think so.

PETA states that its kill rate is so high because they provide a free humane euthanasia service for people whose animals are suffering. Was Maya suffering? Were the mother and babies suffering? Were all the animals found in the dumpster suffering? Are people still naive enough to believe that?

Third Fact: PETA advocated for all dogs seized from Michael Vick to be killed, stating that saving them was not “a good use of money” or time. Now, I may be missing something but last time I checked the purpose of animal rescue was to rescue animals, not to write them off as a waste.

Fourth fact: PETA supports Breed Specific Legislation, they have for years. Since recently partnering with some vehemently anti-pit bull groups — Dogsbite.org and Daxter’s Friends to name two — PETA has been getting hammered on social media sites. Their feeds on Facebook and Twitter are full of people who are rightly outraged that an “animal rights group” has decided to align itself with organizations who have as their main objective the annihilation of any dog with a certain appearance. Let’s get this straight, you cannot call yourself an animal rights group and work with people who refer to dead pit bulls as “pit bull dog meat” or who write diatribes about the different ways to kill pit bull type dogs. And you cannot call yourself ethical when you partner with people who assert that folks who have pit bulls only do so for the purposes of fighting and bestiality. You can see examples of those statements here. These are some real winners PETA has chosen as friends.

Fifth Fact: BSL is BSL no matter how you spin it. In what I can only assume is an attempt at damage control, PETA has decided to stop using the term “Breed Specific Legislation” and start using the term “Breed Specific Protection.” But we’re just going to keep calling what they’re endorsing what it actually is — Breed Specific Legislation. In order to defend their support of BSL PETA has stated that their actual objective is to promote the spaying and neutering of pit bulls. The problem is that BSL and the promotion of spaying and neutering aren’t the same thing — they may overlap in that spaying and neutering can be a tiny part of BSL but BSL is so much bigger. Spaying and neutering saves lives, BSL results in death — just look to Colorado as an example of this. PETA asserts they support BSL because it is in the best interest of dogs. If that were true why are they the only major animal welfare/rights organization supporting it? The National Canine Research Council has an extensive list of groups who oppose BSL, as well as research that proves it is not effective in reducing dog bites.

What is the common thread that binds all of these facts? Killing. It sounds harsh, especially when we’re talking about a group that is considered to be one of the staunchest defenders of the lives of animals. But ultimately, when all those facts are boiled down to their bare bones, the common thread is killing. Dogs who were tortured and forced to fight are called a waste of resources. Maya, a healthy and loved chihuahua, was stolen and killed. Thousands upon thousands of animals have died at the hands of PETA employees. And we’re to believe that they were all too ill or old or aggressive to save? Seriously? Does any of that reflect an organization that values life? No — it reflects an organization who believes animals are better off dead than living with humans and that is a supremely twisted philosophy.

PETA: An Anti-Pit Bull “Animal Rights” Organization

You would think an organization that constantly shouts about being the world’s leading animal rights group — the collective voice of the voiceless — would rise to defend dogs who are misunderstood, abused, tortured, and fought. Dogs about whom myths run rampant. Dogs who desperately need people to have access to correct information and humane education because their lives, literally, depend on it. You would think all of this but you would be very wrong.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has partnered with various other groups to create “National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day,”  a day to “raise awareness of the social and financial costs of pit bull attacks.” Pit bull attacks, or, more accurately, attacks by dogs people think or assume to be pit bulls, or, more accurately, dog attacks. Can you spot the one dog who is a pit bull in that graphic? Yea, neither can I. So many myths, so much misinformation. It’s important to educate ourselves about pit bulls, to focus on facts and not sensational headlines. PETA finds facts pesky though.

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, PETA also fiercely advocated for all of Michael Vick’s dogs to be killed, stating that saving them wasn’t a good use of time or money. Let’s try to wrap our heads around that. PETA, which is supposed to be a champion for abused animals, said it was a waste of resources to save dogs who had lived lives full of torture and death. Aren’t those exactly the animals they should be saving? Best Friends Animal Society fought PETA in court, and they won. Michael Mountain, the founder of Best Friends, stated

It’s really difficult as an animal-rights, animal-protection, animal whatever-you-want-to-call-it organization to explain away the fact that pretty much all the animals you rescue, you kill. It doesn’t make logical sense; it doesn’t make emotional sense.

It doesn’t. Thankfully many people believed that the Vick dogs, that pit bull type dogs, were worth fighting for and those dogs went on to be ambassadors for a misunderstood breed, to be service dogs, to touch and change lives. You can learn about a few of them here.

One of the most passionate and thoughtful advocates for pit bull type dogs is the mom of Ray the Vicktory dog. She just wrote a blog piece about PETA’s most recent betrayal of pit bull type dogs — Why PETA? Why?

Killing a dog because of how he looks is not ethical. Judging a dog by appearance not behavior is not animal welfare. And depriving an animal of a loving home is certainly not Animal Rights.

In my mind that is what is most disturbing and sinister about PETA’s support of the misinformation surrounding pit bull type dogs. People look to PETA to be a beacon for animal rights, to be trailblazers. Instead, when it comes to pit bulls, they are dragging along an outdated, false, belief system that pit bull type dogs are inherently dangerous. Why? To what aim? They claim to approach this from the point of view that pit bulls are at an increased risk for abuse, and that’s why they should be euthanized. But they are propping up lies by partnering with groups who state pit bull type dogs are inherently dangerous.

Here’s my opinion — I believe the folks at PETA know the “pit bulls are inherently dangerous” line is an ancient lie. I believe they know pit bull type dogs, even those who have been forced to fight, can be saved and can go on to be loving, devoted companions. That’s what makes this sinister — they know, but they continue to spread the lies and add their “credibility” as The World’s Leading Animal Rights Organization, to people who would celebrate if pit bull type dogs were extinct. And I believe they do it because it is one step closer to their end game, which is to kill. Killing animals should be counter-intuitive for an animal right’s organization, for PETA it is SOP. It is SOP for them to betray the animals they are supposed to be fighting for. This is just one more battle in their ongoing war, and that battle is easily won if people continue to believe the myths and lies about pit bull type dogs. So educate yourselves and those around you, don’t believe the hype, and fight back against groups who continue to allow these dogs to suffer because of their willful ignorance or ulterior motives.

Two Kittens, One Puppy, Two Dogs — All Killed by PETA the Same Day As Maya. THIS is SOP.

Lately I’ve been enjoying my life getting back to what I consider to be normal — still working on trying to get the truth out about PETA, and advocating about this to our elected representatives, as well as working on some other things I’m hoping will help shed light on PETA. But mostly just going about my daily business. My dad is here visiting so our family took a long weekend to beautiful Lake Yajoa, on Friday we leave for another long weekend, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, at the end of March we are undertaking a grand adventure to the Guatemalan ruins of Tikal. Planning these trips, dedicating myself to my running streak, enjoying our family, and making sure our home is humming along smoothly have taken up most of my time, and I’ve very much enjoyed that because it’s what I love to do.

But I came across this information and it was shocking. Well, not shocking for me because I know it’s SOP for PETA. But I’m hoping it’s shocking for others in the sense that people will see what PETA really does, what they will continue to do unless they are stopped.

Maya Wasn’t The Only Animal PETA Killed That Day:

Records from VDACS show that at least two kittens, one puppy, and two other dogs were also killed

These are not things invented by PETA detractors, these are from PETA’s own records, records they submitted to the state of Virginia. They can be seen here. Animals killed that day include:

• Two four month old kittens
• A six month old puppy
• A one year old Lab-mix
• Another Chihuahua

Why were these animals killed? Are we supposed to believe that two four month old kittens and a six month old puppy were so sick, or otherwise unadoptable, that PETA had no options but to kill them? Since their surrender/intake forms are so lacking in information (seriously, these are pathetic intake forms — no details about the animals, no details about why the animals were surrendered or why a decision was made to kill them) we can only make guesses about why they were killed. My own belief is that PETA intentionally keeps their records bare bones because the less information provided about the conditions of animals, and the reasons for surrender, the harder it is to prove that they are killing healthy, adoptable animals. But those of us who know the truth about how PETA operates CAP know they were killed because that is SOP — regardless of the condition of the animal, regardless of the adoptability of the animal, regardless of the reason for surrender.

It absolutely pains me that so many animal lovers and advocates still do not see the truth about PETA. The only way the killing of adoptable animals by PETA will be stopped is for that to change. We need more ex-employees to come forward, we need people with firsthand knowledge of PETA SOP to speak the truth about them. When enough of us are shining light on this it will no longer be ignored, lies will no longer be believed, and adoptable animals who deserve a chance to live will no longer be killed in alarming numbers. We’ve got  to do this, I am begging others to come forward, together we can stop the killing.

My Complaint to the Virginia Department of Agriculture Against PETA

On Tuesday I got some pretty disappointing news (to put it mildly), in response to my request to file a complaint against People for the Ethical Treatment of animals with the Virginia Department of Agriculture. This was what I emailed to them on February 13:

Good Afternoon,

I would like to file a complaint against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in regards to what, I believe, happens within their Community Animal Project.

Fifteen years ago I worked for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the Community Animal Project division as a Field Officer. I would like very much to have a chance to give you my first hand account of the practices within PeTA towards the animals that they take in to their “shelter” (I use quotes because, during my time there, there was no actual shelter beyond an empty closet and the warehouse where animals were killed). I realize this was fifteen years ago but it is my deeply held belief, based on events that have been covered in the news in the years since my employment, and because I am very familiar with the mindset of the President of PeTA, Ingrid Newkirk, that nothing has changed within the organization regarding the treatment of companion animals.

 The short version is this:

 *Contrary to what PeTA maintains, the vast majority of animals that were surrendered to PeTA  during my tenure were not sick, old, severely damaged, etc. Many were, in fact, perfectly healthy and adoptable — these include kittens, puppies, and well socialized and maintained animals. Those are animals that would be available for adoption immediately in a conventional shelter or rescue, at PeTA they were killed, in the great majority of cases the same day as their surrender. While a portion of the animals we took in did have some challenges they were minor (worms, fleas, lack of proper nutrition, etc.) and could easily have been dealt with in a proper foster home. There were some animals who were in quite bad shape, (severe tick infestations, severe malnutrition, etc), these were the minority, but, again, easily rehabilitated.

 *Contrary to what PeTA maintains, the vast majority of animals who we killed were not surrendered by owners for humane euthanasia but were surrendered, the owners thought, in order to be placed up for adoption. We were told to say whatever we needed to say in order to get an owner to surrender, lying was encouraged. Meaning, we knew the animal would be killed but told the owner the animal would be placed up for adoption.

 *When I worked at PeTA we were routinely told to doctor the logs where we recorded the use of phenobarbital, a controlled substance for which you need a license (as you are aware) in order to allow us to kill animals off the books. For example, if a dog was 40 pounds you would list him/her as 50 pounds, this would give you room to then kill a 10 pound animal off the books and still account for the amount of phenobarbital that you used. So the number of animals killed was actually even higher than what was recorded.

In the interest of full disclosure I was fired from PeTA, not because I was bad at my job but because I no longer wanted to follow orders I had come to see as immoral, and because I dared to confront Ms. Newkirk when I disagreed with her (an absolute no-no at PeTA). I am not a disgruntled employee, as some would assert. My husband was, at the time, a TV anchor and reporter, I knew half the journalists in town, if I’d wanted revenge for my firing I could have done it then in a very grand and public way. But I just wanted to leave everything in the past and try to forget PeTA and what I had done there. The work of killing animal after animal with very little reprieve or chance of hope is soul crushing, and mine was dying. I was grateful for the catalyst of being fired. I have decided to speak up now because I can no longer live with the weight of this knowledge, and because I want to help create change for the animals whose lives were stolen when I worked at PeTA, those since, and those at risk in the future.

 Again, I know my experiences are from fifteen years ago but I deeply believe, based on stories like the theft of Maya the chihuahua last year, that nothing has changed and I ask that my account be taken into consideration. It is my own opinion that PeTA’s license for controlled substances should be revoked so they are no longer able to engage in the killing of the vast majority of the animals they bring in.

 When I emailed this to them I did not consider it to be my formal complaint, rather the reasons (in a nutshell) I wanted to file a complaint. But they took it as the complaint, I guess it doesn’t make much of a difference because this is what I received in response:

     I am in receipt of your complaint against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Thank you for your sincere interest in the welfare of animals in Virginia.

     The alleged actions that you describe occurred before PETA established a private animal shelter. This department has limited oversight over the private animal shelter currently operated by PETA; it does not have any authority over licensing for drugs. The Board of Pharmacy and the Board of Veterinary Medicine in the Virginia Department of Health Professions has authority over drug complaints and licensing.

     Once again, thank you for bringing your concerns to the attention of this Department.

A few things went through my head after I read the response and, honestly, I’m still scratching my head over it because, ultimately, it just sounds like a “sorry, not our problem” response. But if it isn’t their problem then whose problem is it?

What I’m hoping is that the newly passed SB 1381,* which “clarifies that the purpose of a private animal shelter is to find permanent adoptive homes for animals,” will change how the Department of Agriculture deals with PETA. I guess that will depend on if this response comes from a place of apathy or from a true lack of ability to do anything due to the absence of adequate laws. My concern is that PETA will find ways to skirt the law and that, if the Department is apathetic (rather than lacking teeth), they will be allowed to do so.

*SB 1381 still needs to be signed into law by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. If you are a Virginia resident please call his office at 804-786-2211 and urge him to sign SB 1381. The animals of Virginia need us to speak for them, and to give them a law that will protect.

So Many Questions Surrounding Maya’s Theft …

Since I wrote my initial blog post on being rescued by Black Boy I have started digging deeper into what happened to Maya the Chihuahua. Now I have so many questions banging around in my head that I can barely think straight. And I’m frustrated because the more I dig the more questions I have. So I’ve decided to write some of them down. Not because I think I’ll get any answers from PETA but because I need to try to sort them.

1. I’ve been told by supporters of PETA that the employees who stole Maya believed she was a stray since she did not have her collar and tags on. But it seems that PETA, prior to the day Maya was stolen, had not only visited the trailer park where Maya and her family lived but had sat on the porch from which Maya was stolen and visited with her family. So how can PETA supporters still assert that she was a stray? Did PETA also, originally, before sending a fruit basket to Maya’s family, assert this?

2. We are now being told that one of the employees who stole Maya has been fired because her actions were a violation of PETA policy and Virginia law. If her actions really were a violation of PETA policy, rather than PETA SOP (which I believe is true based on my own tenure with PETA), why wasn’t she fired immediately — both for violating policy and for breaking the law? Why did PETA hire a lawyer to defend her and the other employee who assisted in Maya’s theft? Why wait until SB 1381 is before the Virginia assembly, and then have PETA’s lobbyist announce that one of the employees who stole and killed Maya had been fired?

3. We are also told that PETA employees were at the trailer park rounding up strays for a local farmer, who claims the dogs were attacking his livestock. What business did PETA have rounding up strays? And, according to Virginia law (specifically, Subsection 3.2-6546 C): ” C. An animal confined pursuant to this section shall be kept for a period of not less than five days, such period to commence on the day immediately following the day the animal is initially confined in the facility, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner thereof.” Why wasn’t Maya held for that five day period? For that matter …

4.  It is my understanding that other animals were rounded up that day. How many were rounded up? Has PETA released the records of intake for that particular day? What happened to the animals who were rounded up with Maya? Why weren’t they held for the five day period required by law? I know we can assume they were also killed but has PETA ever addressed this aspect of what happened that day? Their lives matter too.

These questions are just the tip of it for me. And I’m frustrated by the lack of answers from PETA, I’m more frustrated because we may never get the answers to these questions and others. We all know, if there hadn’t been video of Maya’s theft, the story of Maya would just be another whisper in the wind; the word of one family, who would have been painted as negligent at best by PETA, against the PETA giant. But I am certain of this: Maya’s family is not the only one to have had an animal stolen from them by PETA.

I am urging folks in Virginia whose animals have “disappeared,” especially in areas where CAP works, to come forward and ask PETA about your animals. And I am asking people who have surrendered their animals to PETA for the purposes of rehoming them to ask PETA what happened to the animal? Ask for proof, ask for adoption records. Don’t just take their word for it. There are answers here, we must be relentless in our search for them.

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

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.”

Don’t Let PETA Fool You, SB 1381 is a Good Bill

Tonight I saw an “Action Alert” from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urging people to ask the Virginia House of Delegates to vote against SB 1381. Let’s look again at what SB 1381 does: “Clarifies that the purpose of a private animal shelter is to find permanent adoptive homes and facilitate other lifesaving outcomes for animals.” Sounds like the definition of a shelter, right? But, apparently, PETA needs it to be clarified, and then put into law, that a shelter should exist to rehabilitate and re-home animals. As the law stands now, or, rather, the loophole of the law stands now, they are free to kill the vast majority of animals who come into their shelter. This law would prevent their ability to do that.

What makes me most angry about this “Action Alert” is that it is cynical, it demonstrates they will stop at nothing to push their agenda. And it takes complete advantage of well meaning people who look to PETA as a beacon of animal welfare, and who trust the organization to tell them the truth. They are counting on that trust. Don’t let them fool you. Unlike PETA, I am not asking you to take me at my word, I am saying if you have any doubts at all do your research, figure out where you stand, and then do something! I trust in the integrity of this bill, I trust in what is right. So I trust, when you do your research, you will support this bill and you will make your voice heard.

I haven’t heard of other shelters in the area opposing this bill. In an article by Arin Greenwood for the Huffington Post, Tabitha Frizzell Hanes with the Richmond SPCA states this:

“The current wording of the definition has been interpreted to create a loophole under which the PETA facility in Norfolk operates as a private animal shelter but without the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals. Over the past decade, as save rates at private shelters across Virginia have risen and euthanasia rates have fallen, the PETA facility euthanizes the animals it takes in at a rate of about 90 percent.

“It is out of step with the progress being made for our state’s homeless animals for a private shelter to operate not with the purpose of finding animals adoptive homes but almost entirely to take their lives.”

Ask yourself, if other shelters are supporting this bill why is PETA opposing it? Why did it hire a lobbyist to fight it?

I’ve been accused of doing this to seek attention, so I hesitate to post the interview I did with WVEC TV in Virginia but I’m going to because it is my testimony. It is the truth.

Interview with WVEC

This “Action Alert” is a lie. What they’ve written in it, their “concern” for smaller, private shelters, is a lie. It’s all done in the name of protecting the status quo at PETA–to kill the vast majority of animals they take in. Don’t let them fool you, and don’t let them stop you from taking action. Go here for a list of all Virginia delegates and their email address, and then contact them. Make sure you put in your subject line that you support SB 1381.  We are obligated to speak for those who can’t, and together we can create a change that will benefit vulnerable animals who are counting on us. Their lives depend on our action, plain and simple. So, ACT!

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