The following is a long, detailed explanation I received from PETA in
which they explain that they do not have a NC program to place animals.
They say that they collect infirm animals from other shelters in order
to perform a humane form of euthanasia rather than the forms regularly
offered in NC that they deem inhumane.
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Thank you for contacting PETA about the North Carolina situation. That
means you care, and we wish everyone did.
Please forgive this form response. We are getting hundreds of e-mail
messages, calls, and letters every day about all sorts of issues, which
means that it is impossible to reply to each one personally. We do want
to underscore the fact that despite this form response, we take your
concerns very seriously, and all comments we receive regarding this
situation are being reviewed by our senior staff as well as staff
involved in our Domestic Animals Department.
First, the report from North Carolina regarding the dumping of animal
bodies in a Dumpster by a PETA staff member is deeply upsetting. It is
against PETA's policy to put the bodies of euthanized animals in
Dumpsters, as you might imagine, and we are appalled that a member of
our staff apparently did that. Despite the fact that we know this woman
to be a caring soul and someone who has done much selfless work to help
animals, there is no excuse for what happened. As an initial result, she
has been suspended. We have launched our own investigation of the
circumstances surrounding this case.
Because there has also been a great deal of misinformation in the news
about this case and its circumstances, we want to provide you with some
additional background information - something the media has not done.
We started working in North Carolina in 2000, after PETA was contacted
by a police officer who was distressed by conditions in a county pound.
North Carolina has the second-highest rate per capita of euthanasia in
the country - 35 animals killed annually for every 1,000 residents. Most
do not die a humane death. When we step in to humanely euthanize animals
- at no cost to the participating shelters - as we did in this instance,
our involvement prevents animals from being shot to death with a .22
caliber firearm, being gassed to death in an old, rusty metal box,
injected with a paralytic that causes slow suffocation without loss of
consciousness, suffering for weeks on end from disease and illness, or
worse. In some of those places, dogs had drowned in floods and frozen to
death in winter.
We are a "shelter of last resort," offering a humane death to animals
who would otherwise suffer a slow and painful end.
To learn more about the conditions that led to our involvement in these
North Carolina counties, and some of the many improvements we've been
able to make, please visit http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/f-nc.asp.
Sadly, the shelters we work with in North Carolina also have no adoption
programs or hours set aside for adoption. In fact, most of them have no
staff on site. PETA has begged for years, through formal proposals and
numerous meetings, for officials to allow us to implement an adoption
program as part of a larger picture of shelter improvements that would
also include a spay/neuter program, a humane education program, 24/7
emergency services, and rabies clinics.
It is important to add that PETA does not run an adoption facility
ourselves - we refer most adoptable animals to known shelters open to
public traffic, although we have managed to place 360 animals in
excellent, lifelong homes in just the past year. There is, in fact, a
North Carolina dog called Dovey in our office as this is written.
It is also PETA policy that no one on our staff is ever to give anyone
the impression that animals we accept are being taken for placement.
From what we have been able to determine in this situation, the shelters
from which our staff picked up the dogs were fully aware of this fact,
although it may be politic for them to deny that now, given the outcry.
It is our policy as well that the vast majority of animals we accept are
only those who are in terrible conditions or unadoptable for some
reason, such as aggression or sickness in old age.
We wish that there were other options available. We cannot bring the
majority of animals back to Virginia for placement. The same issues
regarding adoptability of injured, sick, or old animals exist
everywhere, including here, and "all-admission" shelters (those which,
unlike "turn-away" - so-called "no-kill" - shelters, never turn their
backs on any animal) are, as in the rest of the country, already unable
to cope with the overpopulation of unwanted animals and cannot find
enough homes for all of them. Using Virginia shelters also means that
there would be fewer homes for animals already in Virginia adoption
Some might argue that the solution to this crisis of overpopulation of
so many unwanted animals is to open sanctuaries. But the sad reality is
that the math doesn't add up. There is not enough money available to us
or anyone to build enough sanctuaries or organize enough animal-adoption
programs to keep up with the number of unwanted animals, particularly
those animals deemed "undesirable" because of their infirmities, age, or
behavior. And putting all your resources into fostering and kenneling
unwanted animals does nothing to stop the flow of more and more
unwanteds. The source of the problem - trying to stop future unwanteds
from being born-is where the money needs to go.
We believe that the spaying and neutering of animals, supported by
appropriate local laws, is the single most effective tool in reducing
the number of unwanted animals. For that reason, our humane education
and outreach programs promote spaying and neutering. Our goal is to
create a society where every dog and cat has a loving home. We have
always advocated fixing the problems of overpopulation through practical
methods, including encouraging people not to patronize pet shops or
breeders. Those stories, however, rarely get coverage in the media.
As well as paying for sterilization of animals in North Carolina, we run
a mobile spay/neuter clinic here in Virginia seven days a week. It
focuses much of its work in disadvantaged neighborhoods, where we offer
free and low-cost surgeries and other services such as flea/tick
treatments and worming. In the last year, we have sterilized more than
7,600 dogs and cats, including feral animals - many free of charge and
all others at well below our own costs. To date, we have sterilized
nearly 25,000 in our clinic. Support for this program is much needed, as
you can imagine.
PETA has always spoken openly about euthanasia, on our Web site and in
our publications, and - while we understand that it is upsetting to
learn about - it is necessary in this imperfect world, and we hope you
understand that it is gut-wrenching for those of us at PETA and at
shelters across the country who care deeply for animals to have to hold
animals in our arms and take their lives because there is nowhere decent
for them to go. Euthanasia will continue to be necessary until people
prevent dogs and cats from bringing new litters into the world and as
long as people hide their heads in the sand and leave the dirty work to
We hope this has shed some light on what happened, our policies, and our
work. Our Web site http://www.HelpingAnimals.com may also be useful for
additional information. If you feel that you've received this letter in
error, or if you have questions that were not addressed, let us know at
NCquestions@peta.org; please be aware that it may take up to two weeks
to receive a response.
Thanks again for writing and for caring enough to ask about this
The PETA Staff
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2005 12:25 PM
I was a PETA member for several years until I had to downsize the number
of charities I supported - sorry I just couldn't contribute to everyone.
However, I have continued to follow PETA activities in the news. I
recently read of a PETA issue in Ahoskie NC in which it was reported
that PETA employees were collecting dogs from shelters, killing them and
dumping them in trash recepticles. It further reported that "according
to PETA's own filings, in 2004 PETA killed 86.3 percent of the animals
entrusted to its care." It stated that PETA's Ingrid Newkirk response
was "that for some animals in NC, there is no kinder option than
I found no mention of this on your website. Can you tell me if this is
true or is it something someone has blown out of proportion?
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