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From 26 June 2005 Issue

Op-Eds & Happy Adoptions

The following website gives more information on the topic covered in our lead story, Armchair Activist.
http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=88131&ran=99846 

More Opinions:

Look at the bigger picture
While it would be easy to vilify and condemn PETA right away after this animal dumping incident, it is more important to look at the bigger picture as you pondered in your op-ed. Sadly, these animals that were disposed of, no one wanted to begin with. PETA has provided (at great expense to their organization) a spay/neuter mobile van to help in getting the message out to a very apathetic public the importance of animal population control. They have made no excuses to their stance in humane euthanasia, and indeed Ms. Newkirk herself has said as much. However, PETA has always offered free doghouses and animal care equipment for those whose standard of living barely provides for themselves, let alone animals in the same area were the incident occurred. One only has to visit their beautiful dog park next to their headquarters in downtown Norfolk to see how much they care about companion animals. Every organization that has an ideology as its mission will always have a few individuals who believe they are helping further a cause when in fact they are nothing more than zealots, damaging a company or group or even their country with their twisted vision of what is right or wrong. There are thousands of shelters for all sorts of animals throughout this country that prove PETA has a point: We are a throwaway society. Animals are an enormous amount of responsibility, and caring for them should be no different than that of our children. Most people who have animals consider them members of their family. It is those millions of people out there who view them as toys or pastimes. It is these people who allow the large litters, start the puppy mills, open the filthy and inhumane pet stores, and then dump them on a shelter's doorstep like the one in North Carolina. The trash in those Dumpsters don't just hold the neglected or abused. They hold a problem that's not going away anytime soon. - Michael A. Carey, Virginia Beach

Blessed by a PETA dog
We adopted one of the many dogs PETA has rescued from North Carolina over the past several years and must respond to your article (“PETA president condemns dumping, defends euthanizing animals,” June 18). PETA did a wonderful thing by bringing Bea into our lives. She was dumped at a North Carolina county pound two days before giving birth to nine puppies. Emaciated, filthy and suffering from heartworm disease, Bea was discarded by an uncaring person who thought nothing of having their own dog give birth on a cold, wet cement floor. X-rays later showed that her body was riddled with bird shot. Every day of our lives has been brightened by having Bea with us, but giving her a happy, healthy life is just a small part of the solution. There are not enough homes for dogs, cats, kittens and puppies as long as people fail to have their animals fixed or if they buy animals from pet shops or breeders instead of adopting a homeless animal. PETA’s local spay and neuter clinic, their national campaigns to promote spaying and neutering, and the tireless work that they’ve quietly done in improving conditions in North Carolina for years - such as donating dog houses, training for animal shelter workers, and veterinarians' care - are efforts that deserve support from every caring person. - Frances and Roger Spuler, Virginia Beach

Who are the real hypocrites?
At the dog park I take my adopted greyhound to, at least once a week I hear people discussing the breed they "just have to buy" and the "responsible" local breeder they go to. I was appalled to hear these same people berate PETA for euthanizing unwanted animals in North Carolina. PETA did not create the overpopulation problem. People need to realize that there are too many animals, not nearly enough homes, and that if they're buying animals from breeders and pet stores, they are only exacerbating the problem. PETA has spent over $240,000 in our southern neighbor's counties to try to implement adoption and spay/neuter programs, improve their dilapidated shelters, and give the often mange-ridden, starved, uncared for and unwanted animals a humane death - as opposed to a gunshot to the head, life in a cage, or other horrors. So if we should be calling anyone "hypocrites," it's not PETA - it's the irresponsible people who keep bringing these animals into the world and then cry foul when caring groups have to "clean up" the resulting mess. - Jacqueline Drake, Virginia Beach

Bertie County is no Hilltop
Regarding the story about PETA euthanizing unwanted animals in North Carolina, I think most people have no idea how extreme the situation is for unwanted animals in that area. Bertie County is no Hilltop; much of the human population there lacks the essentials, so of course homeless dogs and cats are allotted next to nothing. It seems that PETA's ultimate intention was to try to compensate at the very least for the basics that the county is financially unable to provide - a humane death for those unfortunate dogs and cats that nobody wants. - Ann Radcliff, Norfolk

Not just a PETA problem
I’m sure that the caring souls who work at PETA are as devastated by the allegations facing two of their staff as the rest of us are. Those involved with PETA’s Community Animal Project have a thankless task. We humans have created a massive animal overpopulation problem by supporting breeders and pet stores while unwanted animals languish by the millions in shelters; by failing to spay and neuter our animals; and by tossing animals away when they become “inconvenient.” Now we have the responsibility to find a solution. Throwing stones at those who are trying to help does none of us any good.- Maura McClure, Virginia Beach

Pair will be vindicated
I worked in PETA’s Community Animal Project and was always inspired by Adria Hinkle’s compassion, enthusiasm and deep concern for the animals. I assisted her at a few animal “shelters” (sometimes nothing more than a shack) by helping clean, feed and care for the animals. One shelter was simply dumping food over the fence for the dogs a couple of times a week. Many dogs are protected from the elements because of the sturdy, free doghouses PETA has provided. In North Carolina, I saw Adria cry at the treatment animals received at the hands of cruel people and I saw suffering that would turn a strong person’s stomach. I know that when the investigation is complete, Adria and Andrew Cook will be vindicated. I only wish their good deeds captured the headlines as quickly as their misfortune. I will always be proud of the work I did at PETA and always be proud of Adria Hinkle.
- Misty Collins, Hampton

Euthanizing isn’t cruel
PETA would not have to euthanize any animals if more people would have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered. Everyone wants to believe there are plenty of good homes for needy animals, but when millions of them must be killed in shelters all over the country every year, that belief is obviously not grounded in reality. Euthanizing animals isn’t cruel, it’s kind — and necessary. What does veterinarian Patrick Proctor think happens to the thousands and thousands of other seemingly “very adoptable” kittens who are born every year? Where are we supposed to put them? On the roof? There just aren’t enough homes for them all. That’s the bottom line. I support PETA and respect them for doing what needs to be done. Thanks to them, unwanted animals in North Carolina won’t die painful deaths or spend their lives on the streets or in cages. - Elaine Sloan, New York City

Look at the real scandal
There are three rescued cats in my home who are alive today because of PETA, and at least a dozen others in my neighborhood would have given birth to unwanted litters if not for PETA’s low-cost spay-neuter clinic. Unfortunately, as long as people continue to allow their animals to breed and as long as people buy dogs and cats from pet shops and breeders instead of adopting them from shelters, the “extras” will have to be euthanized. That’s the real scandal.- Emily Williams, Norfolk

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