PETA pays to help fix animals, image

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2001:
NORFOLK, Va.–People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, under fire for killing homeless animals and knocking no-kill shelters, is co-sponsoring a mobile neutering clinic to serve the Hampton Roads district of Virginia. The other major sponsor is the no-kill Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, of Kanab, Utah.

To debut on March 1, the mobile clinic will be staffed and run by the Houston-based Spay-Neuter Assistance Program. PETA has agreed to fund three SNAP mobile clinics during the next three years, while Best Friends agreed to help fund the first, SNAP founder Sean Hawkins told ANIMAL PEOPLE. Hawkins acknowledged that PETA and Best Friends are not
likely partners.

“We’ve never had any discussions with PETA about this and don’t view this as any sort of partnership,” Best Friends communications director Bonney Brown told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “The fact that PETA is giving money too is entirely coincidental, albeit welcome, as far as we’re concerned.”
The PETA headquarters at Norfolk is within the Hampton Roads district. The nine Hampton Roads animal shelters killed 30,000 animals in 1999, or 58% of those they handled, said Hawkins. PETA, which has no shelter, received 2,103 dogs and cats, killing 1,325 (62%), according to reports required by the state of Virginia. The data was disclosed in July 2000 by Michael Barakat of Associated Press. PETA in fact killed more animals than 80% of the animal control shelters in Virginia.

PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk in February 2000 media statements called the Best Friends “No More Homeless Pets” drive to make Utah a no-kill state “at best, naive.” Best Friends cofounder Michael Mountain–rarely critical of other organizations–in turn ripped PETA killing policies in September 1999, after he and two other Best Friends staff visited Norfolk to probe the Associated Press disclosures.
Newkirk “declined to meet with us,” Mountain reported to ANIMAL PEOPLE and the Visakha SPCA, of Visakhapatnam, India. “Other staffers at PETA said that they routinely kill the
animals that they pick up,” Mountain continued. “We have received unsolicited reports from former PETA staff, describing how they joined because they wanted to help animals, only to find that they were sent out to kill them. We have also heard from numerous people who were visited by people calling themselves PETA volunteers, offering to ‘find a good home’ for homeless pets, and saying that the animals would be taken to a ‘PETA shelter.’ These people discovered too late that there is no PETA shelter and that no one at PETA would even tell them what had become of the animals. Local rescue groups reported that PETA basically competes with them, trying in many cases to kill the animals before they can be rescued,” as detailed years earlier by ANIMAL PEOPLE.

SNAP was a Fund for Animals project from 1994 until early 2000. The Fund in 1996-1998 clashed in court with PETA over control of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, whose board the two groups had dominated since 1988. Hawkins and SNAP, however, were
not involved. SNAP operates neutering programs in Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Monterrey, Mexico; and Native American reservations in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.

Pit bulls

In another seeming paradox, PETA on February 9 reportedly made a futile attempt to take custody of 18 of the 19 surviving pit bull terriers among 33 who were seized on September 6, 2000 from alleged dogfighter and marijuana grower Ben Butts, of Surry County, Virginia.

Butts gave up the 18 dogs in a February deal to escape prosecution, two months after a judge ruled that the first set of charges filed against him were improperly based on information from an August 31 search without a warrant. Findings from that search led
to the September 6 raid.

Local media described the PETA attempted intervention as a would-be “rescue,” but Newkirk in a January 2000 syndicated op-ed column declared, “Those who argue against the euthanasia policy for pit bull dogs are naive.” Newkirk did not respond to a February 12 ANIMAL PEOPLE request for clarification as to what PETA had hoped to do with Butts’ pit bulls.

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