Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is in the hot seat after a report from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services claimed more than 90 percent of the animals taken in by the organization’s headquarters were euthanized.
More than 1,600 cats and dogs were put down by the animal rights organization’s primary shelter in Norfolk, Va. PETA killed 94 percent of the cats and 82 percent of the dogs which were brought into the shelter last year, the majority of which were surrendered to the shelter by their owners. The facility adopted out seven cats and 12 dogs in 2012. Five animals were reclaimed by their owner.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot that the rate of animals put to sleep by PETA is so high because most of the animals turned over to them are too ill, injured or old to be saved.
“If people who won’t even kill an animal for a sandwich are euthanizing, it’s pretty clear we’re being forced to do society’s dirty work,” said Newkirk told the newspaper.
Other organizations such as the Maryland SPCA, an independent, private pet adoption shelter, provide housing and adoption services for animals for owner-surrendered pets. The Maryland SPCA does not put down animals that come into the facility.
“There is no limit to the amount of time a pet can enter our adoption program,” said Tina Register, spokeswoman for the Maryland SPCA.
All animals who come to the Maryland SPCA receive a behavior assessment and medical health assessment. Overly aggressive animals or animals whose illnesses are not treatable will be turned away from the shelter like cancer or uncontrolled seizure, said Register.
“We would let the person surrendering know that the pet would not be able to enter our adoption program,” said Register. The Maryland SPCA rarely denies an animal, she said. When they do, the organization then refers the owner to another animal shelter.
The Maryland SPCA successfully adoptes out more than 3,000 animals each year since it began its adoption program in the late 1990s.
PETA urged the National Governors Association to promote mandatory spay-and-neuter legislation across the United States to help decrease the intake numbers and euthanasia rates at animal shelters.
“Even though PETA’s own fleet of mobile spay-and-neuter clinics has ‘fixed’ nearly 88,000 cats and dogs in the past 10 years, it's impossible to keep up with the runaway birthrate of unwanted kittens and puppies,” PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement. “With one stroke of a pen, countless animals who are paying for this crisis with their lives could be saved.”
According to PETA taxpayers pay approximately $2 billion each year to house, euthanize and dispose of unwanted pets each year.