So PETA is holding an “adoption event” at its Bea Arthur dog park for itself and eight shelters/rescues. On the surface this seems to be a positive thing — an opportunity for area shelters and rescues to get animals who are available for adoption out into the community and, hopefully, into some forever homes. The problem, however, is that while PETA claims to operate a shelter it does not. A shelter is a place where animals who have already been betrayed by someone in some way can find, well, shelter. Rescue. Protection. Advocacy. Love. Hope. A shelter is not a place with a 1% adoption rate. A shelter is not a place where killing is not only acceptable but encouraged. A shelter is not a place that, when asked what kind of actions are routinely taken in order to find animals it takes in forever homes, answers “no comment.” A shelter does not hire a high priced lobbyist to defeat an animal welfare bill. A shelter does not employ people who swoop onto a porch where a beloved dog is sitting, steal her, and then kill her. Despite the fact that PETA took in 2,626 animals in 2014 it is not a shelter. Why? Because it only managed to adopt out 39 of those animals. in 2014 PETA took in nearly 52 million dollars. I absolutely understand that PETA has a much broader stroke than animal rescue but if it can’t allocate enough of its resources to do better than to find forever homes for 39 of its animals then it has not earned the title of “shelter.”
So what is wrong with this “adoption event?” What is wrong with “a fun way for Hampton Roads families to meet some of the wonderful dogs” who “desperately need homes?” On the surface, nothing. In reality, a lot. PETA’s participation in this event, its hosting of the event, is a farce. It is a desperate act by a desperate organization. It is yet another way that PETA is attempting to legitimize its title of “shelter.” And the actual shelters who are participating in this, as wonderful as they may be individually, are merely contributing to the farce and inadvertently promoting an organization that has the killing of companion animals as its standard operating procedure. Real shelters standing arm in arm with PETA gives the impression that they are one and the same. I’m sure that is PETA’s intention because they are masters at molding the narrative. But PETA is not one of them. PETA is not a shelter. It is an organization that justifies killing the vast majority of animals that it takes in. And real shelters standing in solidarity with the killing machine of PETA is just a travesty. Hold the event, give the animals who desperately need homes a chance, but hold it somewhere other than on the grounds of PETA. Because those grounds are soaked in the blood of animals who were betrayed. And that is not where real shelters should be.