AHOSKIE, N.C. Two employees of People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals were charged with animal cruelty for allegedly
picking up dogs and cats from shelters and dumping their dead
bodies in the garbage.
Police said they found 18 dead animals in the bin and 13 more in
a van registered to the activist group, all from shelters in the
state's northeastern corner.
Investigators arrested the two workers after staking out a
garbage bin where animals had previously been dumped, police said
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said the workers were picking up
animals to be brought to PETA headquarters for euthanization.
Veterinarians and animal control officers said the PETA workers had
promised to find homes for the animals rather than euthanize them,
according to police.
Neither police nor PETA offered any theory on why the animals
might have been dumped.
PETA spokeswoman Colleen O'Brien said the organization
euthanizes animals by lethal injection, which it considers more
humane than gassing animals in groups, as some counties do.
The group scheduled a news conference Friday in Norfolk, Va.,
where the group is based.
Police charged Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va.,
and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, Va., each with 31 felony
counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal
disposal of dead animals. They were released on bond.
No home telephone number was listed for either Hinkle or Cook,
and a message left for Cook at PETA headquarters was not returned.
A PETA spokesman said he did not know how to reach Hinkle.