Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What’s going on in the offices of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? The same sanctimonious animal-rights group that pleads for donations so it can stop us “blood-thirsty” hunters and fishermen once and for all is in the middle of a smelly affair involving the euthanization of pets picked up at animal shelters. Incidentally, they were pets PETA reportedly promised it would find good homes for.

The Associated Press and the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk have reported that two Hampton Roads employees of the Norfolk-based PETA were charged in Ahoskie, N.C., with animal cruelty after dumping dead dogs and cats in a shopping center garbage bin.

Investigators staked out the bin after discovering dead animals had been dumped there every Wednesday for the past four weeks, Ahoskie police said.

Police found 18 dead animals in the trash bin and 13 more in a van registered to PETA. The animals were from shelters in North Carolina’s Northampton and Bertie counties, police said. The two were picking up animals to be brought back to PETA headquarters for euthanization, according to PETA president Ingrid Newkirk.

Police charged Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, each with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals.

PETA euthanizes animals by lethal injection, which it considers more humane than gassing groups of animals, as some cash-strapped counties are forced to.

However, veterinarian Patrick Proctor said authorities found a female cat and her two “very adoptable” kittens among the dead animals. He said they were taken from the Ahoskie Animal Hospital.

Barry Anderson, Bertie County’s animal control officer, identified nearly all of the dumped dogs as ones Cook and Hinkle picked up, even though PETA representatives “told him they were picking up the dogs to take them back to Norfolk where they would find them good homes,” according to the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office.

No chronic wasting disease in Maryland — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says there was no sign of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in whitetailed deer and sika deer shot by hunters during the 2004-2005 muzzleloader and firearms deer hunting season.

A total of 872 deer (861 whitetails and 11 sikas) were tested out of the nearly 75,000 deer bagged by hunters during the season. The state’s sampling effort is designed in such a way that if only 1percent of the deer in either population has CWD, there is a 98 percent chance the disease will be detected. CWD is fatal to deer and elk species.

Two victories for hunters — For the second time this month, animal-rights activists lost cases aimed at hunters and professional wildlife managers. Thanks to efforts by Safari Club International (SCI) and other pro-hunting organizations, a Maryland court heard that animal-rights plaintiffs, supported by the Fund for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), wanted to dismiss their case against the state regarding a bear hunt later this year. The plaintiffs now will not challenge the DNR’s target hunt of 40 to 55 bears, almost double the number targeted for the 2004 season.

SCI also reminded us that U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan rejected the Fund for Animals’ most recent attempt to interfere with Maryland’s mute swan management efforts.

Mute swans, a species native to Europe and Asia, were introduced to the United States as an ornamental bird. This destructive species increased in number and has caused much harm to native birds and plant life. When Maryland attempted to manage its mute swan population — meaning it had to get rid of some of them — the Fund interfered by filing suit in federal court.

In late December 2004, Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act, a law designed to clarify that federal migratory bird protections were not intended to protect certain exotic, migratory birds. In enacting this statute, Congress was specific that mute swans were not to enjoy the protections of federal law. Maryland has made plans to carry out a reduction of its mute swan population.


Ducks Unlimited chapter dinner — Saturday, 7-10p.m., the Piscataway Chapter will have a dinner at B&G Tavern in Accokeek, Md. The public is invited ($40 a person, includes DU membership and a subscription to DU Magazine). Dinner includes pulled pork, fried chicken, cold drinks. There will be door prizes, silent auction and raffle prizes. Dinner reservations and information: Dan Wrinn, 202/464-4004 (days) or 301/203-6474 (evenings). Also, Leo Morawski, 301/292-1696.

Trout Unlimited chapter meets — July7, 7:30p.m. The public is invited to the meeting of the Northern Virginia Chapter at McLean VFW Post 8241. Members will review efforts to protect a rare, self-sustaining population of rainbow trout on Big Spring Creek, near Leesburg. Information: nvatu.org.

Youth fishing derby — July17, 9a.m. (registration 8a.m.) at Burke Lake Park, Fairfax County. The Potomac Bassmasters will assist children who want to learn how to fish or who just want to improve their skills. The event is free, and so is the live bait. A limited supply of rods, reels and tackle is available. Co-sponsored by Fairfax County Parks. Information: 703/323-6601.

• Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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