Your Help Need to Stop VDACS Commissioner & Staff From Betraying Animals
If there was any doubt that the bureaucrats in charge of protecting animals in “shelters” and from PETA at the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (VDACS) will always turn a blind eye to abuse and killing, that doubt is now gone.
With the stroke of a pen, they are proposing to allow PETA to continue killing thousands of animals every year, to continue rounding up animals to kill, and even potentially to continue taking and killing people’s beloved animals, eviscerating SB 1381, the law which overwhelming passed both houses of the Virginia legislation and was written to put PETA out of the killing business.
The law required “private shelters” to be “operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes for animals.” Though it does not behave as one, PETA is licensed by the State as a private shelter, an authority that allows the organization to legally acquire the drugs its employees use to poison to death thousands of animals every year, including healthy puppies and kittens. After PETA’s killing of Maya, a healthy chihuahua taken and from her porch by a PETA operative, Virginia legislators passed the bill as a means of stripping PETA of the ability to continue killing. The intent of that law is now being undermined by the regulatory agency in charge of its enforcement.
After over a year of foot dragging, VDACS has withdrawn its initial draft of requiring those “private shelters” to maintain a minimum 50% live release rate. The 50% rate was itself a gift to kill shelters since it is less than the national average, a national average that includes municipal facilities, and private shelters in Virginia have a combined 93% live release rate for dogs, 85% for cats, and 94% for rabbits and other animals. Despite the low figure, it would have effectively shut PETA’s killing down. But heavy lobbying by PETA and even the Virginia Animal Control Association, an industry trade group which opposes any benchmarks for shelters, caused VDACS to back down.
Instead, they are proposing that a “private shelter” only has to do any three things out of the following five: advertise to the general public animals that are available for adoption, transfer animals to another shelter, offer services to the public to keep animals in their homes, utilize foster care, or be accessible to the public. In short, if PETA sterilizes animals for the public (which it does), sends animals to their deaths at local pounds (which it does), and occasionally tweets about a dog (which it does), it would meet the proposed regulatory definition of a “private shelter.” It can still kill upwards of 96% of all animals, while adopting out only 1% (and then to staff). It can still kill animals right away without offering them for adoption. It can still lie to people by telling them they’ll do their best to find animals a home and then kill them right away. It can still round up community cats to deliver them to their death at the local pound. And if its employees and contractors kill people’s beloved animals, as they did with Maya, they can keep their “private shelter” license if they pay a $500 fine, a drop in the bucket given $50,000,000 in annual revenues.
The proposed regulations are as deplorable as PETA’s activities. But they are no surpise. VDACS–specifically Commissioner Sandra Adams, State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Broaddus, and Program Manager Dr. Carolynn Bissett–have a long, ignoble history of doing so. They are typically bureaucratic, tragically indifferent, fundamentally uncaring, and as is so typical of oversight agencies, willing to overlook PETA’s criminal conduct by bending over backward for the entity they are supposed to be regulating. They even turn a blind eye to abuse and torture of animals in shelters.
Please write to VDACS Board Members, who will vote on the proposed regulations:
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Ask them–politely–to reject the proposed regulations requiring only three of five tasks. Ask them instead to require ALL of those things and more, including that private shelters remain in compliance with all laws and regulations, that they maintain daily adoption hours when the public can visit without an appointment, and that they maintain a live release at least 51%, if not more, so that more animals are saved than killed. SB 1381 was written to stop the killing. The proposed regulations say nothing about saving lives, and will permit the organization they were aimed at putting out of the killing business to remain little more than a slaughterhouse.
I am writing to ask you to vote No on the proposed regulations written under the authority of SB 1381, the “Anti-PETA Killing Bill,” which was overwhelmingly passed by the legislature to put PETA out of the dog and cat killing business. PETA kills upwards of 96% of all animals, including healthy puppies and kittens, while only adopting out 1%.
In 2014, PETA took a beloved, healthy dog from her porch and immediately put her to death. Not only was PETA caught on video taking the dog, but they admitted that they immediately killed the dog in violation of law. It is not the first time PETA has put healthy animals to death. Reports by past employees, the records submitted to VDACS by PETA itself, past inspections by VDACS, and PETA’s own admissions collectively indicate that the organization routinely rounds up thousands of dogs and cats every year by promising members of the public surrendering animals to them that they will find homes, only to immediately kill those dogs and cats without making an effort to do so.
The law required “private shelters” to be “operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes for animals.” Yet under the proposed regulations, if PETA sterilizes animals for the public (which it does), sends animals to their deaths at local pounds (which it does), and occasionally tweets about a dog (which it does), it would meet the proposed regulatory definition of a “private shelter.” It can still kill upwards of 96% of all animals. It can still kill animals right away without offering them for adoption. It can still lie to people by telling them they’ll do their best to find animals a home and then kill them right away without so much as a moment’s hesitation. And it can still round up community cats to take to deliver to their death at the local pound..
Please stand firm in honoring the intent of SB 1381. Not only should the regulations require all of the things in the proposed regulation (rather than just three of them), but they should also require shelters to remain in compliance with all laws and regulations, maintain daily adoption hours when the public can visit without an appointment, and maintain a live release rate of at least 51%, if not more, so that more animals are saved than killed. SB 1381 was written to stop the killing. The proposed regulations say nothing about saving lives, and will permit the organization they were aimed at putting out of the killing business to remain little more than a slaughterhouse.
For a copy of the proposed regulations, click here.
To learn more about the extent of PETA’s killing and why they do it, click here.
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