The "No-Kill" movement never ceases to amaze me with the depths they will go to attack other animal welfare organizations. I'm not sure whether this occurs because they hope to cannibalize the donations of those other organizations, or whether it's because the true animal welfare organizations have on many occasions taken down the very shelters and rescues that "No-Kill" have supported like Caboodle Ranch. In some cases those animal welfare organizations have also had to clean up the messes that "No-Kill" makes like our very own Safe Haven in Delaware.
This past week was no different. When a report came out about PETA allegedly stealing a dog in Accomack County, various "No-Kill" entities began their normal assault against PETA like a pack of rabid dogs. If you watch the video on this story that originally aired on Wavy.com, it's interesting to note that the media outlet attempted to make the story even more dramatic by splicing out 17 seconds on the tape from 1:52:16 to 1:52:33. It seems they wanted it to make it appear as if the PETA workers walked right up on the porch and got the dog who had already been off the porch once, and then right back off the porch. I don't know what occurred during that 17 seconds, if the workers knocked on the door to see if the at large dog had gone back to it's home, but it's sad that the media attempts to sensationalize stories when there was more than adequate time during the story to show the whole video sequence.
Since that story, Gary Agar of the Commonwealths Attorneys Office has provided a more complete picture of what occurred that day.
"Commonwealths Attorneys cannot always make popular decisions, rather they are charged with making responsible decisions. Prosecutors must decide if evidence gathered provides proof beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the criminal offense. The criminal intent required to convict someone for theft or property (or dog) it must be shown that the defendant intended to steal the property (or dog) it must be shown that the taking was coupled with the intent of depriving the rightful owner of their property.The facts appear be that PETA was asked to help when an adjacent landowner reported that they should see how his cow with her udders ripped up from abandoned and stray dogs in the trailer park area amounted to a menace not to be tolerated. He complained to PETA that the abandoned and stray dogs attacked his livestock, injured his milking cow, killed his goat and terrorized his rabbits. Abandoned and/or stray dogs and cats have appeared to have been considerable in what is known as Dreamland 2. PETA responded and the trailer park management encouraged their efforts in an attempt to gather stray/abandoned cats and dogs. Additionally the leases provided that no dogs were allowed to run free in the trailer park.Approximately three weeks before Mr. Cerates dog was taken by the women associated with PETA, Mr. Cerate asked if they would put traps under his trailer to catch some of the wild cats that were in the trailer park, and traps were provided to him as requested. Additionally, parties associated with PETA provided Mr. Cerate with a dog house for two other dogs that were tethered outside of Mr. Cerates home.On or about October 18 a van that was operated by the ladies associated with PETA arrived the at the trailer park. The van was clearly marked PETA and in broad daylight arrived gathering up what abandoned stray dogs and cats could be gathered. Among the animals gathered was the Chihuahua of Mr. Cerate. Unfortunately the Chihuahua wore no collar, no license, no rabies tag, nothing whatsoever to indicate the dog was other than a stray or abandoned dog. It was not tethered nor was it contained. Other animals were also gathered. Individuals living in the trailer park were present and the entire episode was without confrontation. Mr. Cerate was not at home and the dog was loose, sometimes entering the shed/porch or other times outside in the trailer park before he was put in the van and carried from the park. The dogs owned by Mr. Cerate that were tethered were not taken.Whether one favors or disfavors PETA has little to do with the decision of criminality. The issue is whether there is evidence that the two people when taking the dog believed they were taking the dog of another or whether they were taking an abandoned and/or stray animal. There have been no complaints on the other animals taken on that same day, and, like the Chihuahua, had no collar or tag. From the request of the neighboring livestock owner and the endorsement by the trailer park owner/manager the decision as to the existence of criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt must be made by the prosecutor. More clearly stated, with the evidence that is available to the Commonwealth, it is just as likely that the two women believed they were gathering abandoned and/or stray animals rather than stealing the property of another. Indeed, it is more probable under this evidence that the two women associated with PETA that day believed they were gathering animals that posed health and/or livestock threat in the trailer park and adjacent community. Without evidence supporting the requisite criminal intent, no criminal prosecution can occur.The animals were not euthanized in Accomack County, so this jurisdiction makes no determination on those issues.Signed,Gary R. AgarCommonwealths Attorneys Office"
So while it's unfortunate that this Mr. Cerate's daughter lost a dog that she loved, let's address the real culprit whose actions resulted in the death of this dog. That would be the the father who allowed his dog to run loose without tags after PETA had previously assisted him by providing shelter for his tethered dogs. His actions were especially reckless given a similar round up of 27 dogs by the county animal control agency less than a year ago.
"Stray dogs are terrorizing an area surrounding Dreamland Two Mobile Home Park in Hopeton, residents of the area say.Matt Cormons was one of three Dennis Drive residents who spoke about the problem during a public comment period at the Accomack County Board of Supervisors meeting.David Van Dessel gave board members a map marked with the location of six recent dog attacks on household pets, livestock and two raccoons found torn apart in a field in the neighborhood.“We in the Hopeton area are having an increasing and rapidly accelerating problem with wild dog packs,” he said.He spend $850 in veterinarian bills resulting from attacks on two family pets, both cats, and his mother’s cat was killed by the dogs, he said." - DelmarvaNow.com
It is deplorable that the "No-Kill" movement has chosen to stand by an individual who not only tethers his dogs when he is not home, which essentially makes those dogs sitting ducks for other vicious dogs roaming that were harming pets as listed above, but a man who also contributed to the roaming dog issue by allowing his own dog to run at large without identification.
But given Delaware, the only state foolish enough to pass Nathan Winograd's CAPA, passed an obviously unenforceable tethering bill in recent years, I guess it shouldn't surprise me to see "No-Kill" advocates across the country standing in support of a man who seems to lack any sense of responsibility for the care of his family's pets. And maybe our legislators in Delaware wrote the unenforceable tether law in Delaware because "No-Kill" really didn't want a real law because they don't care about quality of life.
After seeing what I assume is Mr. Wilber Cerate's (Zarate) business page, and the press pass that he is wearing, I have to wonder if the dog in this case is truly the reason for this story that resulted in attacks on PETA, or if there is another motive. Especially if Inside Edition is actually going to report on the case as mentioned on a page created for the dog.
The Hype Versus The RealityThe various media outlet's actions in generating the hype around this story show the fact that investigative journalism is unfortunately a dying art which has been replaced by 'reporters' whose primary goal is to write a story that catches the attention on social media, no matter whether it only includes part of the story. The one thing the media can count on when doing a story about one of the big 3 animal welfare organizations is for Richard Berman's HumaneWatch and Nathan Winograd's "No-Kill" movement to join hands and pass on the hype, whether there was more to the story or not.
Here are just some of the screenshots showing who generated interest in news reports that only told half of the story, and the petitions and fundraisers that resulted.
|HumaneWatch Facebook Page|
|Nathan Winograd Facebook Post|
|Mike Fry Blog post / Donation Request|
Make sure to read the fine printer below from Mike Fry's donation request above to see who will likely benefit given the fact that the Commonwealth Attorney had already said the case was not being prosecuted. I will also post it here since it is so minuscule.
"If information is not obtained leading to a conviction, funds will be used to help end killing in animal shelters across the USA."
|Mike Fry Blog Post / Donation Request Closeup|
|Mike Fry NOT Answering Question About Donations|
|No-Kill Nation Facebook - Not surprised they don't even have time right.|
|Hope For Delaware Dogs Facebook page|
There are many more screenshots that I have archived, but I'm sure you get the point. Whether it be organizations that hope they can get a piece of PETA's funding, more name recognition, or a lobbyist that wants to stop PETA from busting his clients, there are clearly questionable motives to the hype around this case. It will be interesting to see whether the media continues to cater to social media, or whether they actually act like journalists and look at the whole story.
But ultimately the questions for "No-Kill" are:
- Where was "No-Kill" when the dogs were tethered without shelter?
- Where was "No-Kill" when the farm animals and people's pets were attacked by stray dogs?
- Where was "No-Kill" when stray dogs were killed on the road?
- Where was "No-Kill" when Mr. Cerate had PETA trap stray cats on his property?