PETA Open Letter

I donate to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

I have never volunteered or attended their rallies. Here is PETAS’s story!

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January 11, 2016

Dear Ms. Furs

Thank you for contacting PETA. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns. As a member of our Investigations and Rescue Fund, you are part of a core group of our supporters who provide us with a dependable monthly income which enables us to bring acts of animal cruelty into the public eye. You covered a variety of topics in your letter, and I will do my best to address each of them.

As we do each year, PETA has issued a news release about its annual intake, adoption, and euthanasia figures, hoping to engage the public in useful efforts to address the neglect and homelessness that are affecting companion animals across our nation. The situation for animals everywhere-not just in PETA’s “backyard”-is so serious that this year, we also released our statistics in a video detailing the whole story behind PETA’s companion-animal services and other work to prevent, alleviate, and end massive animal suffering (http://investigations.PETA.org/petas-rescue-team/). Please share the video with everyone you know.

To read about what PETA is doing to help unwanted and sorely neglected and abused animals near our Virginia headquarters, what we do to prevent euthanasia of healthy animals, and why we must euthanize some animals, please go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-newkirk/euthanasia-we-wont-run-fbb3036311.html, read the rest of this letter carefully, and visit the following links:

Warning Graphic photographs in next link.

PETA is on the front lines in the battle against animal abuse and homelessness. Our fieldworkers are on duty around the clock, and our emergency pager is always on. During hurricanes, heat waves, snowstorms, and the polar vortex, we’re out helping cats stuck in treetops and drainage ditches, ducklings stranded in sewer pipes, and chained dogs left to suffer outside-any animal who needs help, anytime and anywhere. Some of the animals we take in are lost companion animals who are eventually reunited with grateful guardians, while many others are taken to local agencies, where they will have a chance to be adopted. PETA helps guardians keep their animal companions by offering counseling tips, helping to find animal-friendly housing, and assisting in administering humane care. Although we have an adoption program that places animals in excellent homes, we don’t run a traditional adoption facility. Our one and only shelter is a shelter of last resort-the vast majority of the animals we accept are taken in because other area shelters have turned them away for being unadoptable, because their guardians can no longer handle their aggression or chronic ailments, or because they’re old and suffering.

We take responsibility for the animals nobody wants-the sick, the scarred and broken, the elderly, the aggressive and un-socialized, and sometimes the simply unwanted ones who are thrown away like last year’s fad toy. We also take any animal turned away by local “no-kill” shelters. To learn more about how these “turn-away” shelters harm animals, please go to http://www.PETA.org/features/turned-away-closer-look-kill/. We do everything in our power to help these animals. We treat their injuries if we can, we feed them, and we give them a safe place to rest, if that’s what they need. Sometimes, they need the comfort of being put out of their misery- a dignified exit from a world in which they were abused and unwanted.

PETA is not alone in this work: Millions of homeless and abused animals are euthanized in animal shelters and veterinary offices across the U.S. because of simple math: too many animals and not enough suitable homes. As many as 8 million animals flood U.S. animal shelters annually, and half of them must be euthanized. Even if those 8 million animals could be placed with loving families, there would be 8 million more the next year and the year after that.

The answer lies in prevention. We must stop irresponsible guardians, backyard breeders, and puppy mill operators who churn out litters without a thought as to where these helpless animals will go. PETA runs three mobile spay/neuter clinics, serving low-income residents in Virginia and North Carolina. The clinics offer no- to low-cost sterilization surgeries as well as other services, such as flea and tick treatments, vaccinations, and deworming. Since starting our first mobile clinic in 2001, we have sterilized nearly 129,000 animals, including almost 12,000 in 2015 alone (more than 1,000 of whom were pit bulls and more than 400 of whom were feral cats). Please go to http://www.PETA.org/features/fixing-animal-homelessness/ to read more about our clinics’ crucial work.

Regarding pit bulls specifically, PETA advocates for a ban on breeding all dogs, including pit bulls. Breeding any dogs should be illegal as long as millions must be euthanized in animal shelters every year. To clarify, PETA does not believe that every pit bull should be euthanized nor that dogs should be taken from homes in which they are loved and receive excellent care. We hope our support for dog-breeding bans will help stop people from bringing yet more dogs into the world who will be mistreated, used for fighting, or otherwise exploited. Please read the article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-newkirk/pit-bulls-deserve-protectionb8338930.html and go to http://investigations.PETA.org/breed-specific-legislation/ to learn more about why we support pit bull-specific protection legislation and see photos and video of some of the dogs who have helped to form our position on this matter.

Thank you for also enquiring about our fieldwork/shelter program and a tragic incident that occurred in Virginia. There are always more facets to a situation than the media report, and in this case, misleading and outright false statements have been made by those who want to hinder PETA’s vital rescue work for animals in impoverished areas of Virginia and North Carolina. That work involves our responding, every single day, to calls for help regarding situations of cruelty to animals, neglect, and abandonment, and it means the world to tens of thousands of companion animals.

We appreciate your taking the time to read through this information and the attachments, which tell the whole story and expose those who have taken advantage of a tragic mistake to advance their anti-PETA agenda, their “life at any cost” extremism, and their political and economic objectives. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are left with any further questions.

PETA staff members feel deep sorrow over an incident that occurred on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in October 2014, for which we have been investigated and cited by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The circumstances are these: Accomack County residents appealed to PETA for help with a longstanding crisis in which abandoned and feral dogs were giving birth to litter after litter of sick puppies under trailers, running in packs at an area mobile home park, and attacking children, livestock, wildlife, and cats. PETA responded with our spay/neuter and fieldwork services to help stop suffering and neglect. It may help to see the final statement from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office about his investigation of this case, available here: https://lintvwavy.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/ca-statement-on-peta-investigation.pdf. (I have included a copy of this at the end of this letter.)

It was extremely upsetting to discover that in the course of doing something helpful and good, something bad happened. A dog picked up by a PETA contract worker in the mobile home park, collarless and without any indicia of ownership, was mistakenly identified as an owner-surrender and was then euthanized in error, in violation of regulations as well as existing PETA protocols. Immediately after the incident became known to PETA management, our shelter supervisor visited the dog’s owner to extend our heartfelt apologies to the family, and PETA began a comprehensive internal investigation. The person responsible for this tragic mistake was immediately suspended and subsequently terminated. PETA has implemented additional safeguards to ensure that such a mistake never happens
again.

A December 11, 2014, inspection by VDACS confirmed noncompliance related to the required holding period for this dog and acknowledged PETA’s prompt action to apply additional safeguards. This is the first and only finding of noncompliance in more than 16 years of operation and flawless inspection reports for PETA’s shelter. PETA takes full responsibility for and sincerely regrets what happened.

This terrible mistake has provided those who habitually misrepresent and fabricate stories about the way in which PETA’s shelter operates with fresh ammunition, and that, too, is regrettable.

A small but well-funded group of individuals who do nothing to help animals and go so far as to deny that an overpopulation crisis even exists-has made a full-time job out of targeting PETA on social media and in the mainstream media. This effort is being led by a one-person organization whose “headquarters” is a post office box in California, an individual in Florida who recently funded an astronomically expensive full-page anti-PETA ad in a Virginia newspaper and who does not herself work in or run a shelter of any kind, a group that supports dog breeding and purebred dog shows, and lobbyists for Big Agriculture. PETA’s work threatens these groups’ profits, public profile, and very existence, so these strange bedfellows have been having a field day exploiting and misrepresenting this tragedy.

Regarding the trial that took place almost a decade ago in rural North Carolina, please note that the two individuals (one a PETA staff member and the other a volunteer) were cleared of all charges. Nonetheless, they did violate PETA’s official policy that requires that euthanized animals be cremated. Since those charges were first brought, PETA has stated many times that they were politically motivated by anti-animal groups with connections to local dogfighting, dog breeding, animal agriculture, and hunting interests. We actually began working to improve conditions for animals in North Carolina in 2000, when we were asked by a police officer to stop local pounds from killing cats and dogs by gassing and shooting them. We immediately began properly- and painlessly- euthanizing sick and unwanted animals.

I have included an article from the Virginia Pilot newspaper regarding the verdict in this trial as an addendum to this letter.

Finally, please remember that a lot of the misleading and outright false rumors that are spread concerning our efforts are the work of the deceitfully named “Center for Consumer Freedom” (CCF), a front group for Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse, KFC, cattle ranchers, and other animal exploiters who kill millions of animals every year-not out of compassion but out of greed. The information that you have sent us is from a website sponsored by the CCF. To learn more about the CCF-whose website USA Today said should be renamed “FatforProfit.com”-please see the following websites:

We hope this message has shed some light on our work and inspired you, as someone who cares, to become even more involved in promoting spaying and neutering and ending consumer purchases from breeders and pet stores. To read more about PETA’s lifesaving work, please visit http://features.PETA.org/petasaves/. To check out model spay/neuter ordinances, please see http://www.PETA.org/issues/companion-animal-issues/overpopulation/spay-neuter/model-spay-neuter-ordinances/. To learn more about what PETA is doing for companion animals and how you can help, please visit http://www.PETA.org/issues/companion-animal-issues/overpopulation/. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. I can be contacted; Norfolk address, (757) 213-8757, or KaitlynB@petaf.org. You are among PETA’s r dedicated and valuable friends. I am deeply grateful to be able to count on your support but most of all, I appreciate the warmth in your heart that has inspired you to reach out and protect animals in need.

Sincerely,
Monthly Giving Representative, Membership Services, The PETA Staff,

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Judge Discards Hype in PETA Verdict

The Virginian-Pilot

February 9, 2007

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an easy target. Start with the zealousness with which the group pursues its anti-cruelty goals- the graphic reminders of where meat and fur come from, the anti-hunting and -fishing activism, the vegetarian proselytizing, the publicity stunts, the naked protests.

Add a heaping dose of righteousness and you’ve got a recipe that pretty much divides America into folks who either love PETA or hate it. That’s fine. What’s not fine is turning that national ambivalence into persecution.

Hertford County officials came perilously close to crossing that line when they charged two PETA workers with 21 felonies each for picking up animals at North Carolina shelters, euthanizing them, and dumping the bodies in a trash bin behind an Ahoskie grocery.

Felony animal cruelty charges against the pair— Adria Hinkle, 28, and Andrew Cook, 26-were reduced to misdemeanors by a judge who said the prosecution hadn’t proved malice or motive, and then to a single charge of littering by a jury. The prosecutor left the courtroom without talking to reporters.

But the words she used in the courtroom spoke volumes.

“We’re here because the defendant, Miss Hinkle, went to the Ahoskie Animal Hospital and lied to get an animal and then kill it,” District Attorney Valerie Asbell said during her closing argument.

It’s precisely that kind of incendiary talk- also heard in the community, in local newspapers, and in the Internet’s considerable anti-PETA presence- that made this trial such a thumping embarrassment.

There were clear attempts to promote the story line that Hinkle and Cook’s arrest proved that PETA was run by hypocrites.

Except it’s no secret that PETA kills animals. Never has been. PETA euthanized 1,946 animals in 2005, the most recent year on file with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The organization’s reasoning goes something like this: For some animals, a life of pain and suffering is worse than a quick end. Anyone who doesn’t know that-PETA euthanizes hundreds of animals every year simply hasn’t been paying attention, either to the organization, what it says, or the public documents it submits.

Some don’t want to.

PETA has made enemies of all manner of people who see it as one more nanny wagging her finger. From the cosmetics companies that don’t want America to know they use rabbits to test eye cream to the folks who don’t want to be told that barbecue is immoral, plenty of people have axes to grind against PETA.

The judicial system, though, is supposed to be beyond such things. Despite the misguided efforts of the prosecution, Superior Court Judge Cy Grant, along with 12 members of a Hertford County jury, proved it was.

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Statement by Accomack County Commonwealth Attorney Regarding the PETA Associates Investigation

Commonwealth’s Attorneys cannot always make popular decisions, rather they are charged with making responsible decisions. Prosecutors must decide if evidence gathered provides proof beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the criminal offense. The criminal intent required to convict someone for theft of property (or dog) it must be shown that the defendant intended to steal the property (or dog) of another, rather it must be shown that the taking was coupled with the intent of depriving the rightful owner of their property.

The facts appear to be that PETA was asked to help when an adjacent landowner reported to them that they should see how his cow with her udder’s ripped up from abandoned and stray dogs in the trailer park area amounted to a menace not to be tolerated. Be complained to PETA r that the abandoned and stray dogs attacked-his livestock, injured his milking cow, killed a goat, and terrorizes his rabbits. Abandoned and/or stray dogs and cats appeared to have been considerable in number around the trailer park known as Dreamland 2. PETA responded and the trailer park management encouraged their efforts in an attempt to gather the stray/abandoned cats and dogs. Additionally the leases provided that no dogs were allowed to run free in the trailer park.

Approximately three weeks before Mr. Cerate’s dog was taken by the women associated with PETA, Mr. Cerate asked them if they would put traps under his trailer to catch some of the wild cats that were in the trailer park, and traps were provided to him as he requested. · Additionally, parties associated with PETA provided Mr. Cerate with a dog house for two other dogs that were tethered outside of Mr. Cerate’s home.

On or about October 18 a van that was operated by the ladies associated with PETA arrived at the trailer park. The van was clearly marked PETA and in broad daylight arrived gathering up what abandoned stray dogs and cats could be gathered. Among the animals gathered was the Chihuahua of Mr. Cerate. Unfortunately the Chihuahua wore no collar, no license, no rabies tag, nothing whatsoever to indicate the dog was other than a stray or abandoned dog. It was not tethered nor was it contained. Other animals were also gathered. Individuals living in the trailer park were present and the entire episode was without confrontation. Mr. Cerate was not ‘at home and the dog was loose, sometimes entering the shed/porch or other times outside in the trailer park before he was put in the van and carried from the park. The two dogs owned by Mr. Cerate that were tethered were not taken.

Whether one favors or disfavors PETA has little to do with the decision of criminality. The issue is whether there is evidence that the two people when taking the dog believed they were taking the dog of another or whether they were taking an abandoned and/or stray animal. There have been no complaints on the other animals taken on that same day, and, like the Chihuahua, had no collar or tag. From the request of the neighboring livestock owner and the endorsement by the trailer park owner/manager the decision as to the existence of criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt must be made by the prosecutor. More clearly stated, with the evidence that is available to the Commonwealth it is just as likely that the two women believed they were gathering abandoned and/or stray animals rather than stealing property (dog) of another. Indeed, it is more probable under this evidence that the two women associated with PETA that day believed that they were gathering animals that posed health and/or livestock threat in the trailer park and adjacent community. Without evidence supporting the requisite criminal intent, no criminal prosecution can occur.

The animals were not euthanized in Accomack County, so this jurisdiction makes no determinations on those issues.

Gary R. Agar
Commonwealth Attorney’s Office