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Did PETA Kill Family’s Dog?
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Summary: Video footage shows two PETA workers take a dog off the front porch of the family’s home. The dog was euthanized the next day.

A lawsuit filed in Norfolk Circuit Court last month finally has details emerging. An Accomack County family is accusing not-for-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals of stealing and then euthanizing their family Chihuahua.


Maya the family dog

The lawsuit by the Zarate family alleges that Norfolk PETA workers Victoria J. Carey and Jennifer L. Wood took the pet, Maya, from the front porch of the family’s home on October 18, 2014 and then euthanized it later that day.

The two women were arrested for dog larceny, but Accomack County Commonwealth Attorney Gary Agar would not prosecute them for lack of evidence of criminal intent. This action resulted in a rally and petition on behalf of the dead dog and her family. Over 2,000 people signed the petition asking for the case to be prosecuted.

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The lawsuit goes on to accuse PETA of covering up the incident by altering documents submitted to the government that show a pattern of “routinely killing companions animals in violation of law, regulation, and decency.”

PETA General Counsel Jeffrey S. Kerr admits the organization “made one tragic mistake for which it has tried hard to make amends.” The act of making amends was Carey and Wood showing up a few days after the incident with a fruit basket.

The details of lawsuit describe the story behind the incident. PETA was asked by the mobile home park owner where the family was living to come and remove some large dogs left behind by other tenants. Carey and Wood were sent over several occasions, getting to know the residents of the park. Carey knew Maya belonged to the family and told the father that PETA would vaccinate the dog. Instead, the family returned from a shopping trip to find the dog gone as well as a neighbor’s dog. After reviewing a security camera of the front porch, Zarate saw the PETA workers pay neighborhood kids to try to lure the dog off the porch. When that didn’t work, they snatched the dog, placed her in their van, and quickly drove off. When the family called the PETA animal shelter, they were unable to get a hold of someone until the next day, and by then it was too late. The lawsuit also accuses PETA of violating Virginia Law by not waiting five days before euthanizing an animal.

The family is seeking $9.7 million in damages for the emotional distress experienced by the primary owner of the dog, a 9-year-old girl. The family is represented by William H. Shewmake and John M. Robb of LeClairRyan.





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