Stop Unnecessary Euthanasia in Animal Shelters


Target: Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia

Goal: Support measure requiring animal shelters to focus on rehabilitation and adoption rather than indiscriminate euthanasia.

A measure prohibiting animal shelters from euthanizing animals unnecessarily has been passed by the Virginia Senate. The bill will redefine a private shelter as a facility that seeks to find permanent homes or other lifesaving options for animals. This would effectively force the private PETA shelter in Virginia, which euthanizes over 70 percent of its animals, to either shut down or drastically alter its operation.

Legislators took aim at the animal welfare group in late 2014, when a member was caught on a security camera stealing a family pet from a porch. When confronted, the group initially denied the claims, but a PETA lawyer later contacted the family to tell them that their pet, Maya, was euthanized almost immediately after arrival. Allegations of PETA members kidnapping and euthanizing animals later surfaced from other pet owners in the area.

While PETA openly advocates veganism and an end to killing animals for food, their shelter has some of the highest kill rates in the entire country. Last year in Virginia, only 39 of 3,369 animals in PETA’s shelters were adopted out, with 2,454 of them being euthanized almost immediately. In comparison, the average kill rate at similar registered shelters in Virginia is 40 to 50 percent lower. While they claim that all of the animals euthanized are unadoptable, they euthanized family pet Maya, who was in perfect health, within a day.

While the PETA member was charged with larceny, the case could not proceed as Virginia law does not consider a pet to be personal property. Lawmakers responded by attacking the root of the issuePETA’s tendency to quickly euthanize animals before even giving them a chance. Sign the petition below to support Maya’s law, which will force animal shelters to give animals a fair chance at a new life.


Dear Governor Terry McAuliffe,

A bill aiming to force animal shelters to focus on rehabilitation and adoption before euthanasia has passed the Virginia Senate with overwhelming support. The bill would force the PETA shelter, which euthanizes the majority of animals that enter the facility, to make significant changes to their operation or close down. The law was drafted in response to a PETA member’s kidnapping and euthanasia of a healthy family pet chihuahua named Maya.

While PETA claims that all the animals that were euthanized were absolutely unadoptable, the fact that they euthanized Maya says otherwise. Surely, a sub-one percent adoption rate can be improved upon with diligence and effort. We, the undersigned, ask you to show your support for Maya’s law, which will be passed to the State House for a vote.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Nhandler via Creative Commons

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  1. Some people are under the false notion that PETA is routinely killing healthy animals at it’s facility. The facility actually is a place where local residents, most of whom are at or below poverty level, can bring their dying pets to be humanely euthanized by a licensed vet at no cost to them. They are allowed to stay with their animals through the process. This is a very important service. Most of these people couldn’t afford the cost of euthanization and would be forced to just let their animals die a slow death at home. PETA has to report to the state the number of animals euthanized, and those animals are listed as euthanized with the state. It doesn’t state why they were euthanized. This allowed the group “Center For Consumer Freedom”, which is comprised of corporations such as Monsanto, Pepsi Cola and Philip Morris, all of whom PETA has done under cover investigations into their treatment of laboratory animals, and also includes slaughter houses and factory farm corporations. These people have an axe to grind. The PR firm that they hired, led by Rick Berman (Berman and Company, Inc) got a copy from the state of the number of sick and dying animals that PETA euthanized, and falsely stated on CCF website, and circulated e-mails, that the animals had been healthy.

    PETA has done enormous work all over the world, since the 1980’s, fighting animal cruelty and abuse. Do you really believe that an organization that has done so much to help animals for so many years would be killing healthy animal for no reason? It would be a shame if their work has to suffer because of lies being being perpetuated by The Center For Consumer Freedom and their cronies.

    If you Google “Center For Consumer Freedom” and “Rick Berman”, you’ll get a wealth of information about this. If you simply go to CCF website, they may be able to talk you into believing that people have the right to eat whatever they want, wear whatever they want, and test on animals and no on has the right to tell them otherwise.

  2. Murdering any animal is a crime and the US should know better as should PETA. You should not have any kill shelters in 2015.

  3. Elaine Barretet says:


  4. DO NOT KILL — IT IS WRONG! WE MUST CHANGE TO A NO-KILL MINDSET — Shelter’s purpose is to shelter & hold animals, indefinitely, until adopted out or transferred to a rescue group — after all, it is a “SHELTER” and NOT a “slaughterhouse” or “kill house” where they kill healthy & treatable animals — Pay a visit to — it’s all about changing policy to a NO-KILL mindset — once again, NKAC headed by Nathan Winograd. IT CAN BE DONE! IT HAS BEEN DONE!

  5. Karen Remnant says:

    Name change needed! A shelter is meant to be a place of safety and hope!!

  6. It is so difficult to know the proper thing to do as far as euthanization is concerned. There are animals who are loved and properly taken care of, but sometimes they acquire a terminal disease whereby they should be taken out of their misery and euthanized. I do not think euthanization should be given randomly to any animal who is “taken out” just because he/she is a certain breed or there are too many animals in the shelter. I do not know what the answer is in the shelters because I am sure they become full and what do they do to control the overpopulation? I do not believe death is the answer. It is a shame so many are brought in unwanted or have come in because they have been abused. It is sad to think they are euthanized soon after.

  7. Here is actually what happened:

    In October 2014, a person working on PETA’s behalf in Accomack County (an underserved area on the Eastern Shore of Virginia) misidentified and picked up a small dog who was then euthanized in error. This was a tragic mistake, and it should not have happened. PETA immediately suspended—and subsequently terminated—the contract with this individual. PETA also immediately visited with and personally apologized to the family involved.

    Everyone at PETA remains deeply sorry about what happened. While the incident violated PETA’s existing protocols, PETA has since implemented additional safeguards to try to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

    By way of background, PETA went to that community at the request of area residents. Desperate for help, the residents said that they had called the local animal control agency for assistance but to no avail. Several people had even appeared before the county board of supervisors as far back as November 2013 to request that something be done about packs of abandoned dogs who were now living wild. The dogs had attacked animals and children, injured cats, maimed cattle, torn apart raccoons, and had litter after litter of sick puppies under trailers in a nearby mobile home park. The county had been asked to “do something” by multiple parties on multiple occasions for many months, but the problem persisted. So PETA was asked to step in before winter came. I think you will appreciate reading the final statement from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office about his investigation of this case, available here:

    A small but well-funded group of individuals who do nothing to help animals—and go as far as denying that an overpopulation crisis even exists—has made a full-time job out of targeting PETA on social media and in the press. This effort is being led by a one-man organization, Nathan Winograd, whose “headquarters” is a post office box in California, an individual in Florida who recently funded an astronomically expensive full-page anti-PETA ad in a Virginia newspaper and who does not herself work in or run a shelter of any kind, a group that supports dog breeding and purebred dog shows, and lobbyists for Big Agriculture. PETA’s work threatens these groups’ profits, public profile, and very existence, so these strange bedfellows have been having a field day exploiting and misrepresenting this tragedy.

    What they never say is that PETA fieldworkers in these parts of the South are doing more than anyone to abate animal overpopulation, neglect, and homelessness, saving more lives than all other groups put together. PETA has spent over $2.5 million a year on this 24/7 work and its lifesaving mobile spay/neuter clinics, preventing the births of thousands upon thousands of dogs and cats. Detailed information, with heartbreaking case studies and heartwarming rescue stories, can be found at and

    In fact, during hurricanes, heat waves, and ice storms, PETA staffers are out helping cats stuck in treetops and drainage ditches, ducklings stranded in sewer pipes, and chained dogs left to suffer outside—any animal who needs help, anytime and anywhere. Some of the animals PETA takes in are lost companion animals whom are reunited with grateful guardians, while PETA delivers many others—including almost every single adoptable companion animal—to good local agencies, where they’ll have a chance at being adopted. That is a key point: PETA refers most adoptable animals, and even delivers them, to high-traffic adoption facilities, something that our adversaries carefully avoid mentioning.

    And PETA does much more to safeguard animals: PETA also helps guardians keep their animal companions by offering training and behavior tips, helping to find animal-friendly housing, and assisting with medical and other care. In 2014, PETA provided 4,000 families with veterinary and counseling services, helping them keep animals they were considering giving up! You won’t find that fact in any of our detractors’ hysterical rants.

    And although PETA certainly has a foster and adoption program that places animals in excellent homes—not in crates or cages but real homes—as we have talked about, it does not run a traditional adoption facility. It is a unique shelter: PETA refers or delivers most adoptable animals to other agencies and almost exclusively accept animals who have been turned away by other area shelters or “gotten rid of” by neglectful owners because they’re unadoptable and/or aggressive, suffering from serious illness or injury, and so on. Many of the animals PETA accepts into its shelter are ill, elderly, and suffering animals surrendered by their loving but destitute guardians who are desperate to relieve their animal companions’ misery through euthanasia. PETA provides this free community service, while most other shelters do not.

    In January, as it does every year, PETA issued a news release ( about its annual intake, adoption, and euthanasia statistics and appealed to the public to help address the neglect and homelessness that affect companion animals in Virginia and North Carolina, where PETA concentrates its field work, and across the nation.

    Again, PETA accepts any and all animals turned away and referred to us by local “no-kill” shelters. If you want to learn more about the harm that such “closed-door” shelters can cause to animals with nowhere else to turn, please go to And you can read a moving commentary on this important animal-welfare issue by Dr. Michael Fox here:

    As I think you know, PETA does everything in its power to help these animals. Staffers treat their injuries if possible, feed them, love them with all their hearts, and give them a safe place to rest, if that’s what they need. And if they need to be put out of their misery—to receive a dignified exit from this world—PETA cares enough about them and their quality of life (rather than imaginary “save rates”) to do that, too.

    PETA is not alone in this work. While PETA takes in just 1 percent or so of the animals turned in to Virginia shelters in one year, millions of homeless and abused animals must be euthanized in animal shelters and in veterinary offices across the U.S. because of simple statistics: There are too many animals and not enough responsible homes. As many as 6 to 8 million animals flood U.S. animal shelters annually, and half of them end up euthanized because there are not enough suitable homes for all of them. But even if those animals could be placed with loving families, of course there would still be 6 to 8 million more animals the next year and the year after that and so on. This situation is particularly ironic because many of the PETA haters don’t take in any animals, and many of them pay for animals to be killed for their food and clothing, when they could instead choose to be compassionate and spare those animals’ lives, too.

    Of course the answer lies in prevention. We are all working to put out of business pet stores, backyard breeders, and puppy mill operators, who churn out litters without a thought as to where these helpless animals will end up, and we must also reach out to indigent people who haven’t the means to spay or neuter their animal companions. That’s why PETA’s fleet of mobile spay/neuter clinics, serving low-income residents in our target area, offer no- and low-cost sterilization surgeries as well as other often completely free veterinary services, such as flea and tick treatments, vaccinations, and deworming. The clinics have even amputated limbs, removed eyes, and performed other surgeries at no cost just to allow people on a fixed income to keep animals they love but whose medical treatment they could never afford. Since starting its first mobile clinic in 2001, PETA has sterilized more than 110,400 animals, including nearly 11,000 in 2014 alone (850 of whom were pit bulls and about 600 of whom were feral cats). The following give more information about the clinics’ crucial work:





  8. There is hope as long as there is life :nothing or no-one is “taken of of their misery” when euthanized! There are better and far more humane ways now. What is necessary is educating “poor people” , stop them breeding any domestic animals out of indifference, for profit or for “fun”, introducing dog licences for a start. Someone who cannot afford to pay cannot afford a dog!!

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