Sometime today, two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are expected to turn themselves over to Southampton, VA police to face charges of grand and petty larceny. Earlier this week, Carrie Beth Edwards and Andrea Florence Benoit, riding in a PETA-owned van, allegedly snatched a hunting dog from the side of the road. A witness alerted a local animal control officer who stopped the van and forced the two to hand over the kidnapped canine. The dog’s radio tracking collar had been removed and thrown into the street. That collar, plus what a police detective described as "markings on the side of [the dog] indicating that it belonged to a specific person," clearly showed that it was not a stray in need of a home, but a hunting hound set roaming the countryside — a practice that’s perfectly legal in Southampton County.
Given PETA’s well-documented habit of killing the animals it takes in, the captured pooch would likely have met the business end of a euthanizing needle in no time flat if law enforcement hadn’t intervened. Between 1998 and 2005, the very group that claims to advocate for animals’ "rights" killed over 14,400 dogs, cats, and other "companion animals." Since they only took in about 17,800 animals, that amounts to a death rate of about 80 percent — nearly three times higher than that of the Norfolk (VA) SPCA, located less than 4 miles from PETA’s headquarters.
These new legal troubles couldn’t have come at a worse time for PETA. On November 13, two other employees of the Virginia-based animal rights group will (finally) be tried on 22 felony counts of Animal Cruelty and 3 counts of Obtaining Property By False Pretenses. In June 2005, PETA workers Andrew Cook and Adria Hinkle were arrested in Ahoskie, North Carolina after police observed them throwing bags filled with dead dogs and cats into a trash dumpster. As witnesses from the Bertie County (NC) Animal Shelter and the Ahoskie Animal Hospital later confirmed, Cook and Hinkle had collected the animals earlier that day with the promise that PETA would find them adoptive homes.