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Archive for the tag “Virginia SB 1381”

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

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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