PeTA employees have evidently been nailed by a sting operation — one lasting a month — for animal cruelty. Here's a video clip of an early news report.
And here's an early printed report:
AHOSKIE - A month-long investigation into animal cruelty has resulted in a pair of arrests, individuals possibly linked with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
On Wednesday, Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of 504 Tree Top Street, Virginia Beach, Va. and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of 1602 Claremont Ave., Norfolk, Va. were each charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts each of illegal disposal of dead animals.
Both were transported to the Hertford County jail, each under a $35,500 secured bond.
Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said Cook and Hinkle posted bond prior to incarceration.
"We've been investigating animal cruelty and illegal disposal of dead animals within our city for the last four weeks," Fitzhugh said. "Our investigators determined that these incidents were occurring every Wednesday for approximately one month."
Yesterday (Wednesday) law enforcement officials with the Ahoskie Police and Bertie County Sheriff's Office were able to observe a white panel van drive next to the commercial dumpster located behind Piggly Wiggly in Newmarket Shopping Center. A person in the van tossed several dark-colored bags in the dumpster before the van attempted to pull away.
At that time, a traffic stop was initiated on the van - a vehicle occupied by Cook and Hinkle.
The bags located in the dumpster contained 18 dead dogs, including one bag containing seven puppies. An additional 13 dead dogs were found in the van.
A license check revealed the van was registered to PETA in Norfolk, Va. [My emphasis . . . ed]
It is not yet confirmed if Cook and Hinkle are official representatives of the animal rights group.
However, Detective Sgt. Ed Pittman of the Bertie Sheriff's Office confirmed, through the county's Animal Control Officer, that Cook and Hinkle identified themselves as PETA representatives from Norfolk, Va.
"According to Barry (Anderson, Bertie's Animal Officer), the man and woman told him they were picking up the dogs to take them back to Norfolk where they would find them good homes," Pittman said.
Pittman added that as far as he knew, persons identifying themselves as PETA representatives had picked-up live dogs at the Bertie Animal Shelter for at least the last two months.
Anderson, also involved in Wednesday's surveillance and subsequent arrest, was able to positively identify nearly all of the dogs found in the dumpster as the ones picked-up just a few hours earlier on Wednesday by Cook and Hinkle.
"Barry documents the animals as they are received at the animal shelter," Pittman noted.
Two of the 31 dogs were kept for an autopsy. The remainder were properly buried on Town of Ahoskie property.
Chief Fitzhugh praised the work of his lead investigator, Detective Sgt. Jeremy Roberts, as well as the outstanding corporation between his agency and Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins and his investigators.
Personally, I blame the sting on Lisa Leitten.
I can't wait to hear what PeTA has to say about this.
PETA found Ingrid Newkirk told 13News that Hinkle has been suspended. She said Cook was a new employee on a ride along and that he has not been suspended.
Newkirk says that it would be "deplorable" for anyone to illegally dispose of animals.
She confirmed that PETA does, in fact, euthanize animals but only ones that are not adoptable.
Newkirk said some of the animals were in bad shape. For example, one had its collar embedded in its neck; another had a severe skin disease.
UPDATE: 6/16/05, 3:25 PM PDT. The Center for Consumer Freedom has issued a press release here.
UPDATE: 6/16/05, 6:40 PM PDT. And then there's this:
Dr. Patrick Proctor was called by police to examine one of the animals.
“The animal that I found was a very healthy six month old puppy that had been killed that day," says Proctor. [My emphasis . . . ed]
Proctor and police say the animals were euthanized. But they've been sent to a lab in Raleigh to determine the exact cause of death.
Proctor says this isn't the first time he's heard of this type of cruelty.
But this hits close to home.
“PETA had come by yesterday afternoon and picked up a mother cat and two young kittens and told us they were going to find homes for them in the Virginia area, and put them in a white van exactly matching the description of the white van we saw last night. It's just not right to take animals and just kill them and dump them in a county. They deserve a good burial," says Proctor.
Police say over the course of their month-long investigation, they've discovered more than 70 dead animals in dumpsters.
Police say both the man and woman in this case are charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals.
Police say they are continuing their investigation.