PETA, a Tidewater perspective

Again, I do try my absolute best to make sure that every post is Hamiltonstovare related as possible but I just can’t with this post at all, on any level. This is going to be a tough topic to write about because it is dangerous, very dangerous. Most people who have written about PETA have a legal team, now live outside of the US, or can afford constant personal security. I do have personal security at my home and monitor my house remotely when I am not there.

I was born and lived the first twelve years of my life in the Tidewater, Va area. I went to elementary and most of middle school there. Why is this important? Well, PETA is based there, their headquarters are not in New York City or LA, but in Norfolk, Va. Norfolk, Va is an odd location for PETA’s headquarters until you break down the surrounding area, in the surrounding area you have 7 LARGE cities with lots of impressionable children. You also have sympathetic local governments that adore them. The first time I ever heard of PETA, I was in elementary school. From what I remember, PETA never came to my elementary school to do an assembly but it is possible. What I do remember is the posters and pamphlets, they deliver them to local schools. These posters were specifically geared toward kids and at the time was not as radicalized as they are now. The literature featured appropriate pet care and how you could join PETA and almost be an involved citizen to stop animal abuse.

While that sounds innocent enough, but what they were doing was grooming the next generation of activists. I remember once that I found a lovely hound roaming my neighborhood street, I proudly helped the dog into my backyard and tried to help it out, basically doing what those posters told me to do. The dog had a collar and what happened next imprinted upon me how I should trust PETA. I happened to have a poster with a phone number, I called it and asked them what I should do. The nice person said to me that I should take the collar off the dog, don’t call the owner because they didn’t care enough to keep their own dog, and either keep the dog myself or let it go. I couldn’t do that, so a friend of mine said that they would help me. They told me that they called the owner but nobody answered, and their grandmother would allow them to keep the dog so they dumped it somewhere. I was so upset that I cried. The worse part was the owners came to me asking questions and I told them what I was told to do by a trusted name in the area, that posed as a shelter. I was just 10 years old, very much a latchkey kid, and had to think on my feet. I never knew what happened to the dog but sometimes I think about that moment and how defining it was to me. How could PETA tell a child to do such a thing? This was in the late 90’s well before internet and cell phones, so I trusted what my school gave me. At that moment, I stopped trusting in PETA.

As I grew up showing dogs and loving dogs in a way that felt right to me, I learned more and more about PETA. I learned from the internet that PETA is a monster, not to be trusted. They are a “shelter” that has the highest kill percentage in all of Virginia. I never realized how bad they were until college. I attended a show in the Tidewater area where members of PETA would routinely point at dogs’ testicles and say “you are killing your dog because he isn’t neutered…”, thankfully I have a mentor that knew how to behave and kept her mouth shut. Other more quipy people would make retorts like “thanks for looking at my dog’s nuts.”

The next experience that I am about to tell was done by somebody that is a supporter of PETA and extremist animal rights, I do not know if they were employed by PETA, regardless it is shocking. In college I showed Clumber Spaniels, and this time we were showing in a series of shows in Baltimore, MD, right around this time of year actually. It was February and cold, I was traveling with the Clumber Spaniel’s owner, her handler, the handler’s mother and a string of dogs all are coated dogs. We checked into the hotel and began the process of taking dogs out to go potty. While myself and the daughter of the client was walking a few dogs, we noticed that a car kept on circling the hotel parking lot. Finally, they stopped and asked us why kind of dogs they were. We told them and kept on our business. We put the Clumber in the hotel room and loaded up the other dogs in the van (which is designed for housing multiple dogs at all temperatures). We got ready for bed and didn’t think anything about the encounter in the parking lot. That was until the handler got a knock at the door saying that one of the dogs was “near death” in the van. We went out to the van and the dogs were sleeping soundly and were in no distress at all. We made the decision to move the dogs into the two hotel rooms just to be on the safe side. The next morning we went to the show and then went out to dinner. While we were at dinner, we were told that the Baltimore Police Department had surrounded our vehicles. So we went to the police and explained the situation. Unfortunately, we did not know that it is illegal in Maryland to leave a dog unattended in a vehicle regardless of the weather or if the dogs were in any danger. The dogs were fine and the officer gave us a warning. The final day of the show, I just happened to look over my shoulder and noticed the same person that asked me a question at the hotel just standing at the show site. We alerted the show board who escorted them off the site. It was later determined that the person was an animal rights extremist looking to “rescue” dogs (meaning steal) that they thought were in danger. There is no way to know if the person was affiliated with PETA at all but we do know that they were cut from the same cloth.

PETA is a horrible organization and I am appalled by any celebrity that endorses them for any reason (I’m talking to you P!NK right now). PETA is subject to new legislation that will hopefully stop their killing practices at their headquarters but it does not stop them from stealing animals, like poor Maya, and killing them in a van somewhere. The Maya case is so shocking because no charges have been filed and PETA was caught on camera trespassing then returned later with a fruit basket instead of the dog. The dog’s body has yet to be returned to her owners, and never will be. PETA has doctored video footage to show carriage horses in danger, they have even caused NYC carriage horses to get injured. No animal lover should support PETA.

If you are an animal lover, please support your local kennel club. Please come talk to breeders and owners at Meet the Breeds on Saturday, education is the most powerful tool.