PETA president responds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 18, 2005

NORFOLK, Va. – If one of her most trusted workers is guilty of placing dogs in a dumpster, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said she would be &uot;appalled.&uot;

That worker – Adria Joy Hinkle of Norfolk – was one of two PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) employees arrested by Ahoskie Police after she and co-worker Andrew Cook of Virginia Beach were observed placing trash bags containing 18 dead dogs into an Ahoskie dumpster.

&uot;Ms. Hinkle is a deeply kind person who is devoted to animal care and protection,&uot; said Newkirk in a prepared statement released to the media.

Newkirk added that Cook was simply a ride-along at the time of the alleged incident.

&uot;I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Hinkle ever being cruel to any animal and I know for a fact that cruelty to animals tears her apart. She has only ever tried to help animals in North Carolina and is deeply upset by this incident,&uot; Newkirk noted.

Newkirk said that while PETA has been able to find good homes for dogs and cats picked-up from North Carolina animal shelters, those animals often have conditions like Parvo virus or contagious mange and are not generally socialized or attractive to people, most of whom are looking for small, cute, housebroken puppies without medical problems.

&uot;I cannot comment on Ms. Hinkle’s legal situation, but I believe that it will become clear that Ms. Hinkle has only spared animals suffering, not caused it,&uot; Newkirk said. &uot;It is not PETA policy to place animals in a dumpster and if that happened we are appalled. For that reason, we have suspended Ms. Hinkle from her duties while we conduct our own investigation and hear from the authorities in N.C. We have faith that the truth will come out and that this case will be resolved without harm to two good people.&uot;

At a Friday afternoon press conference in Norfolk, PETA addressed its presence in North Carolina and discussed why it risks &uot;public relations hell&uot; to provide not only free spay and neuter services to combat the overpopulation crisis of unwanted dogs and cats, but free euthanasia services for impoverished counties and citizens.

&uot;There is a fate worse than death, which our staff sees on a daily basis,&uot; Newkirk concluded. &uot;We will share (at the press conference) our never-before-seen photographs and documents publicly to show that for some animals in North Carolina, there is no kinder option than euthanasia.&uot;