The company you keep: it really says a lot about you. Mark Twain and many others have told us that the kind of people you associate with says an enormous amount about who you are and has a large impact on who you become, whether for better or for worse.
So, it is clear that PETA has chosen a lawyer to represent them who behaves in a way that is consistent with his client’s attitudes and behavior. A remarkable letter was sent to the attorneys in the lawsuit Wilbur Llaven v. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by Judge Everett A. Martin, Jr., the presiding judge in the case. In the letter, which is a highly unusual thing for a judge to send and to place on the public record, Judge Martin makes clear that the conduct of Phillip Hirschkop, who is PETA’s lawyer in this case and who has represented PETA for many years in many matters, has been appalling. Judge Martin says that Mr. Hirschkop has said things in open court that were discourteous, unprofessional and outright contemptuous. Wow.
The Llaven case, as you may recall, concerns the theft by PETA personnel of the Llaven-Zarate family’s healthy young dog off of the front porch of their home after which PETA representatives killed the innocent dog. It is a course of conduct that is beyond explanation or defense. It is reflective of the massive numbers of killings that PETA has done and continues to do at their Norfolk facility (which does not deserve to be called a “shelter”) of innocent animals who deserved a life in a loving home. PETA has tried for years to defend this indefensible behavior with claims that the animals they have killed were all sick, injured or elderly. However, they have never produced any substantive evidence of the factual truth of this claim nor does it square with what those of us in this field know about the likely proportion of animals in any community that are too sick or injured to be susceptible of treatment.
It is not surprising that PETA’s attorney behaves in a way that is bullying and abusive to others because that is consistent with his client’s history. I have no doubt that Mr. Robb and the other attorneys on the other side in this case will not be successfully bullied and can deal with whatever Mr. Hirchskop tries to dish out. Such behavior only reflects terribly on the person engaging in it and jeopardizes a lawyer’s good reputation with judges, such as Judge Martin. It also lets us know that his client believes that bullying and trash talking is an acceptable way of trying to escape accountability for the injuries you have inflicted on others. That PETA would choose a lawyer to represent them who conducts himself in this manner says a great deal about its nature as an organization.
Read Judge Everett's letter: Download Judge_Everett_A_Martin_VA_Fourth_Circuit [Llaven vs PETA]
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.