PETA strikes out
Published 12:00 am Monday, February 12, 2007
Less than two weeks after winning a battle in court, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has lost its foothold in northeastern North Carolina.
Officials in Bertie and Northampton counties have opted not to use PETA’s Community Animal Project (CAP) program at this time.
Meanwhile, Dr. Pat Proctor of Ahoskie Animal Hospital (AAH) has ended his association with PETA and any of their representatives.
Prior to the June 15, 2005 arrests of two PETA employees in Ahoskie for disposing of dead dogs in a private dumpster located behind Piggly Wiggly, the CAP program was used at the Bertie and Northampton animal shelters. There, CAP workers would clean the shelters, attend to the immediate medical needs of the animals and pick-up the stray dogs/cats that had surpassed the mandatory waiting period.
During the two-week trial in Hertford County Criminal Superior Court, CAP employee Adria Hinkle – who was found not guilty of cruelty to animals and obtaining property by false pretense – testified that she immediately euthanized the unclaimed animals at the shelter. County officials were under the assumption that the animals would first be taken to PETA headquarters in Norfolk, Va., assessed by a veterinarian and attempts made for adoption.
Shortly after the arrests, Bertie and Northampton officials halted the CAP program in their respective counties. Those officials said at that time they would wait until the outcome of the trial before revisiting the CAP program.
On Thursday of last week, the Northampton County Board of Health voted not to enter into any type of agreement with PETA at this time.
According to Northampton Health Director Sue Gay, that decision rested solely with the Board of Health. She added that since breaking off the agreement with PETA in 2005, the Northampton County Animal Control Officer has euthanized unwanted pets at the shelter. Gay said the officer is state approved to euthanize animals by lethal injection after completing specialized training in Gastonia.
Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that there had been no discussions among the county commissioners concerning the possibility of reinstituting the CAP program.
“After we broke off our agreement with PETA in the summer of 2005, we entered into a contract with (Williamston veterinarian) Dr. Benjamin Shelton to euthanize the unclaimed animals at our shelter,” Lamb said. “Things are going very smoothly (with that agreement).”
Meanwhile, Dr. Proctor said PETA is no longer welcomed at AAH. There, on June 15, 2005, Hinkle along with co-defendant Andrew Cook picked-up a mother cat and two kittens. AAH employees testified at the trial they, after allegedly hearing Hinkle say she could find good homes for the animals, assumed the cat/kittens would be adopted. However, Hinkle testified she euthanized the cat/kittens a short time after picking them up.
“AAH will no longer have any type of association with PETA, including their CAP program,” Dr. Proctor said. “They are not welcomed into my place of business.”
Prior to the June, 2005 arrests, PETA paid Dr. Proctor to euthanize unclaimed animals at the Hertford County Pound. That agreement ended shortly after the arrests and while Dr. Proctor still performs that service, he is paid by Hertford County.
Despite the news, CAP Supervisor Daphna Nachminovitch said PETA would assist counties in northeastern North Carolina if asked.
“If we can be of assistance to Northampton County we will return there,” Nachminovitch said at the conclusion on the trial on Feb. 2. “We always enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the officials there, just as we did in Bertie County with Zee Lamb.”
In regards to Bertie County, Nachminovitch said “In Bertie, the animals there are being euthanized by Dr. Shelton. He’s a very kind, loving man. Our goal from the outset in 2000 in Bertie County was to get a local veterinarian to provide that service.”
Responding to what PETA had learned from the ordeal of June 15, 2005, Nachminovitch said, “We’ve been doing things different since June 15. The instructions now are as clear as they can be. There were some mistakes made along the way (that day) but no animals suffered. There was no cruelty.”
“In Bertie, the animals there are being euthanized by Dr. Shelton (need his full name and, from notes, the number of animals he said he has euthanized at the Bertie shelter since taking on that responsibility). He’s a very kind, loving man. How goal from the outset in 2000 in Bertie County was to get a local vet to provide that service.
I will reach out to Northampton County to see if they need assistance. I don’t know of what arrangements they’ve made (since the events of June 15, 2005 that led Northampton officials to end their relationship with PETA). If we can be of assistance to Northampton County we will return there. We always enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the officials there, just as we did in Bertie County with Zee Lamb.”