Winton, NC — Nineteen months after their arrest, two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will face felony animal-cruelty charges in Hertford County Superior Court on January 22. The defendants, Andrew Benjamin Cook and Adria Joy Hinkle, each face 22 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 3 counts of Obtaining Property By False Pretenses. If convicted, they could face between 25 and 30 months in prison for each Cruelty to Animals count.
On June 15, 2005, police in Ahoskie, North Carolina witnessed Hinkle and Cook throwing trash bags — containing the bodies of 18 dead pets — into a shopping-center dumpster. After arresting them, police recovered 13 additional dead animals from the PETA-owned van in which the two were traveling. Witnesses from the Ahoskie Animal Hospital and the Bertie County Animal Shelter later confirmed that Hinkle and Cook had collected the animals, including puppies and kittens, earlier that day on the promise that PETA would find them adoptive homes.
“This trial will really open the eyes of people who don’t know about PETA’s darker side,” said David Martosko, Director of Research at the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit watchdog that monitors the animal rights movement. “This is an animal rights group that takes in $25 million and kills 90 percent of the pets it receives. That’s not ethical. It’s hypocritical.”
Mr. Martosko will be available to media before, during, and after the North Carolina trial. To arrange an interview, contact Sarah Longwell at 202-463-7112. Daily updates from the trial will be available at www.PetaKillsAnimals.com beginning January 23.
Government records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services show that in 2005, the Norfolk-based PETA killed 90 percent of the animals it took in for adoption. By comparison, the nearby Norfolk SPCA killed less than 4 percent of its animals in that same year. The state average was 43 percent. Since 1998, PETA has put down over 14,400 dogs and cats. PETA’s 2006 numbers will be made public by the end of January.
For more information about PETA’s felony charges, including evidence and press photographs from the scene of the 2005 arrests, visit www.PetaKillsAnimals.com.