PETA Tells Sarasota FL to Continue Killing Shelter Pets
News and headlines for July 8 - July 14, 2023
These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:
Bowie, a shy 15-week-old puppy, was killed by the Los Angeles County pound, despite a rescue group willing to save him. AB 595/AB 491, Bowie’s Law, was introduced to ensure that animals like him would be spared by requiring California shelters to notify rescuers 72 hours before killing an animal. AB 595/AB 491 was such a simple, commonsense law it is astonishing that anyone opposed it. But it was opposed by the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, Best Friends, and others.
Bowie’s Law is officially dead for the year as legislators ran out the clock. Senator Toni Atkins, the Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, refused to assign it to a policy committee for consideration on the merits. Today was the last day for policy committees to report bills. And that means animals with a place to go will continue to be killed in California pounds, despite rescue groups ready, willing, and able to save them.
Now that Bowie’s Law has been defeated, managers at the Los Angeles County pound that killed Bowie ordered volunteers to stop networking dogs for rescue and adoption who have been pulled from the website and scheduled for killing, even though county staff will not kill them for a week and dogs have been spared by networking.
Sarasota, FL, City Commissioners voted unanimously to require local animal shelters to maintain a minimum 90% placement rate. The ordinance must still be approved at a second reading before it becomes law. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is trying to ensure this does not happen.
In an Op-ed they published in the local newspaper, PETA recycled its usual opposition to No Kill. But as forewarned is forearmed, I had previously written to the Mayor and City Commissioners warning them that PETA would do this.
In addition to explaining how PETA is wrong, I informed them that PETA historically kills roughly 90% of the animals it takes in, despite over $80 million in annual revenues. I also explained that PETA officials believe that sharing one’s home subjects animals to bondage and oppression: “Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from our firesides, from the leather nooses and metal chains by which we enslave it.” As PETA believes people are incapable of caring for animals and that those animals likewise cannot live on the street, animals are damned either way, and thus killing them is a “gift.” And given that PETA runs a facility that historically has been the functional equivalent of a slaughterhouse, it begs the question: why should anyone listen to PETA?
Hopefully, Sarasota officials won’t.
Best Friends Animal Society has hired Aurora Velazquez, the disgraced former pound director in Philadelphia, as a “senior strategist” for shelter policies.
Velazquez was forced to resign her leadership of the Philly pound under a cloud of illegal and unethical misconduct after she ordered Saint, a dog, killed, knowing his family was on the way to pick him up. She then ordered her shelter manager to incinerate his body to dispose of evidence that one of her officers broke Saint’s jaw.
Under her direction, Saint was placed in a kennel “with a jaw broken so badly that [he] couldn't close his mouth.” Instead of providing veterinary care, Velazquez “instructed staff to kill Saint by the end of the shelter's operating hours that day.” After being killed, his body was quickly disposed of, with Velazquez refusing to return it to his family.
Saint paid the ultimate price for Velazquez’ misconduct, but he was not the only one to suffer. “I was screaming, I was crying, and I didn’t understand,” said a member of his despondent family. “He died alone.”
Following Saint’s killing, the state inspected her facility and uncovered other neglect and abuse: extensive filth, feces, and dogs not being examined or treated. In a rare action reserved only for the most extreme cases, the Pennsylvania dog warden ordered Velazquez to provide immediate care for dogs and “made a referral to law enforcement authorities for animal cruelty charges,” the second criminal referral in as many months and a devastating indictment of Velazquez’ failure to protect and properly care for the animals in her custody.
The hiring of Velazquez by Best Friends should not be surprising. The corrupt organization fights reform efforts like Oreo’s Law and Bowie’s law, tells shelters to close their doors to adopters without an appointment even if it leads to more killing, and legitimizes turning animals away, knowing some may suffer and die on the street. She will fit right in, to the animals’ great detriment.
The Association of Shelter Veterinarians says animals are entitled to five freedoms — freedom from hunger, thirst, discomfort, distress, pain and disease, and freedom to express normal behavior.
Even though they will not acknowledge them, there are two more:
The freedom to live. Not only is the freedom to live the most important, but none of the other “freedoms” are possible without it. How can an animal have any freedoms when any or all of them can simply be taken away by killing?
Freedom from danger. While closing a shelter’s door to an animal in need, as Austin Pet’s Alives’ Humane Animal Support Services or Best Friends’ Community Sheltering models do, may not undermine an animal’s right to live — although it doesn’t count animals who may get hit by cars or otherwise die from environmental hazards — it ignores an animal’s right of rescue.
As more people turn to rescue and adoption and more shelters embrace progressive policies, the number of communities placing over 95% and as high as 99% of the animals is increasing.