A Virginia man’s dog was kidnapped from the front porch of his trailer park home in Eastern Virginia, and subsequently euthanized before her owner could track her down. The case has sparked widespread outrage, mostly because the organization allegedly responsible for the dog’s kidnapping and death is one nearly everyone’s heard of — PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
Surveillance video of the kidnapping on October 18 shows a woman, later identified as a PETA worker, scooping three-year-old chihuahua Maya from the porch of her owner Wilbur Cerate’s porch in the rural village of Parksley.
Hampton Roads reports Cerate was unable to retrieve Maya from her captors before she was euthanized. Later, he said, a PETA representative arrived at his trailer bearing a fruit basket to apologize.
Since then, he’s been sharing his experience as much as he possibly could, reporting the incident to the sheriff and giving TV interviews. When the Accomack County commonwealth’s attorney decided to drop his case against PETA, he led a march of a few dozen supporters on their offices.
Meanwhile, PETA, an organization known for its belligerent animal-advocacy campaigns and protests aided by a strong publicity machine, remains silent on the issue even as news organizations ask them for a response to the allegations.
The prosecutor, working for Cerate, alleges that PETA workers were collecting stray dogs on the day of Maya’s kidnapping on the advice of a nearby landowner, who claimed they’d invaded his property and terrorized his animals. Cerate left Maya on the porch while he went to buy her a dog bed. Since he had just given her a bath, she was sitting on the porch without a collar.
When he returned to find Maya gone, he inspected his security footage (which you can view here). He suspected PETA and called them twice. When they did pick up, he was told no dogs had been picked up in his area. Tuesday, three days after the dog was taken, the fruit basket from PETA arrived, informing Cerate of her death.
“If it was me or you who did something like that,” said Accomack Sheriff Todd Godwin, “PETA would eat us up.”
Godwin charged two female PETA workers with larceny. They were booked and then released.
PETA euthanizes nearly 90 percent of the animals it takes in, a rate often criticized by other animal groups. PETA defends its practices, referring to itself as a shelter of last resort – a place that provides a merciful death for animals too sick, old or otherwise unfit for adoption.
But state regulations call for a minimum holding period of five days, said Debra Griggs, president of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. Pickups are also required to be reported to a locality’s animal control.
As a result of the case, the Virginia Senate passed a bill touted as a “first step in stopping the madness of the killing at PETA.”