The silence is deafening. While there are many news reports of PETA’s alleged theft and immediate killing of an innocent and beloved small dog in Accomack County, while the family and many of their friends and supporters ask in vain for justice from our court system, while rallies are being held for the family and their deceased pet, while there are blog posts and other opinion pieces being written nationally about this shocking and horrifying occurrence, PETA remains silent. Totally silent. PETA, which is very vocal about most everything relating to animals, which is very fond of the use of hidden cameras on others, which likes to criticize those of us committed to the ethics of the no-kill philosophy, is silent on this matter. Silent about an occurrence in which their workers were caught on video taking a small dog right off the front porch of the dog’s own home after efforts to lure her off of her front porch had been unavailing. Silent about the stories of their return shortly after their killing of the beloved pet to tell the family about what they had done and give the family a fruit basket. As if that would be compensation for the loss of the pet they loved.
No explanation is being offered. Nor is PETA anywhere disputing the allegations of facts. Why is PETA, which is not silent about much regarding animals, staying silent on this one? Their silence may be due to the advice of their attorneys. Without question, their silence may be the wisest approach in terms of their criminal culpability and civil liability issues. But, it is insulting to their supporters. And, it certainly suggests that there is no good explanation that their supporters would find palatable. All of the many people who have given their charitable dollars to PETA because they love animals and want to see them protected have a right to hear from PETA to explain why on earth it would do something like this or, alternatively, that it did not do this. If PETA believes that all companion animals should be killed, they should have the guts to say so. If its philosophy is that no one who is Hispanic and of modest means should be allowed to have a pet, they should have the courage to say so. If their people think that every pet is better off dead than in a home where there are limited financial resources, they should say so. If they actually did not do this, they should say that too. Because I and everyone else are searching for some understanding of why an organization that proclaims itself to be for the ethical treatment of animals would do this. And, we are wondering how often they have done similar things.
I heard Jeff Kerr, PETA’s General Counsel, speak recently and he indicated that all of the animals that PETA “euthanizes” at its “shelter” in Norfolk (the quotations marks are there because these would not be the words that I would use) are in dreadful medical condition and not able to have a life of quality. This could not explain the killing of Maya. According to her family, she was in good health and had a good life with a lot of love. What about that picture would PETA not like? Maya was utterly helpless, and her killing is heart breaking.
I have never given PETA a donation so I do not suggest that they owe me anything. But, they do owe their donors an explanation because the organization’s continued silence is an insult to the generous people who have supported them. It is a statement that they believe they can take a donor’s money that the donor intended to go to save animals and then, when they are charged with heinous mistreatment of animals, give no explanation or justification for the actions with which they are charged. If you are or have been a donor of PETA, I urge you not to give them another penny until you get an explanation from PETA for the killing of Maya, and so many other innocents, that satisfies you.
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires both your first and last name to be used as your screen name.