PETA trial upate

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from The Outdoor Wire

The animal cruelty trial of PETA employees Adria Hinkle and
Andrew
Cook continue in North Carolina. The Virginia Beach, Virginia
residents
are accused of felony animal cruelty charges after allegedly picking
up
animals from veterinarians and an animal shelter and killing them
with
lethal injections rather than taking them from North Carolina to
Virginia
where they would have more opportunities to see them placed in
adoptive
homes.

It’s been a spirited case throughout, but after the
prosecution rested its case on Tuesday, some points in the case would
seem
virtually impossible to ignore or deny:

1) Virtually all the
animals Hinkle and Cook killed were perfectly healthy and adoptable -
that’s reflected in the log book they kept in their van,

2)
Hinkle
and Cook assured people – repeatedly – they were going to try and
find
adoptive homes for the animals,

3) Those assurances were absolute
lies
- their intent from the outset was to take the animals to their
PETA-owned
van and kill them with drugs, and finally,

4) Hinkle and Cook
then
took the bags of animals they had just killed and tossed them into a
dumpster.

That might sound like an open-and-shut case, but
it’s
not. There is a question as to whether their acts constitute
felony-level
animal cruelty. Defense attorneys had asked Judge Cy Grant to dismiss
all
charges against the PETA employees because the felony animal cruelty
charges required malicious intent. Apparently, lying to a
veterinarian and
a county animal control officer in order to get animals into a van
where
you plan to kill them shouldn’t be considered malicious.

According to observers, that might be a valid legal
argument,
but the residents of Ahoskie, where the trial is being held,
apparently
are not buying the argument. Comments reported in various local
media
have ranged from surprise to disappointment and disgust.

One
intriguing observation came from a local who wondered if PETA were,
in
fact, an animal rights group. After all, he mused "there are
women’s
rights, civil rights, and now immigrants rights, and so forth, but
all the
leaders don’t go around killing the people."

The Bertle
County
animal shelter from which Hinkle and Cook took the animals was in
"horrific" condition as recently as 2000. It was transformed,
ironically, largely due to PETA’s continued efforts. Those efforts,
however, didn’t save the animals given a one-way ticket to
dumpsterville
by Hinkle and Cook.

The local volunteers that staff Hertford
County’s volunteer animal-adoption program PAWS of Hertford County,
were
both surprised and disappointed at the case. PAWS, incidentally, is
the
acronym for Protecting Animals Worth Saving.

Between August
and
December of 2006, the all-volunteer PAWS program of Hertford County
found
local adoptive homes for 182 animals. That total is more than PETA
adopted
out nationwide in 2005, the last year their numbers were available.
PAWS of
Hertford County is all-volunteer, operating on an annual budget of
$5,000.

PETA raised $29 million dollars last year.

As PETA
opponents watch the trial, observers are saying the point of the
trial may
have already been made: a group that tirelessly advocates
"rights"
for animals has unapologetically killed healthy dogs and cats by the
thousands, all the while raising money for the supposed
"defense"
of animals.

PETA claims an "uncompromising stance"
on all
animal rights matters. Their stance on euthanasia would seem somewhat
less
than adamantly in opposition:

"’no-kill’ shelters do not
provide a solution to the problem of animal-companion homelessness.
Dogs,
cats, and other animal companions need much more than food, water,
and a
cage or pen. They also need lots of loving care, regular and
sustained
companionship, respect for their individuality, and the opportunity
to run
and play. As difficult as it may be for us to accept, euthanasia
(when
carried out by veterinarians or trained shelter professionals with a
painless intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital) is often the
most
compassionate and dignified way for unwanted animals to leave an
uncaring
world."

The trial’s not over in North Carolina. But it
would
seem highly unlikely that a verdict will come back finding Hinkle and
Young’s actions "compassionate and dignified."

– Jim Shepherd

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