After the controversy surrounding PeTA’s euthanizing Wilbur Zarate’s pet chihuahua, Maya, reported in November of last year, WAVY has obtained documents from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The agency’s records reveal that PeTA took five animals the day of Mr. Zarate’s dog’s theft in which the four other animals were a year old or less. According to the television station:
The documents also give insight into PETA’s practices. PETA provided VDACS with signed Animal Give-Up forms. The form says, in part, “I certify that I am the rightful owner/keeper/caretaker/custodian of the animal(s) which is/are the subject of this Give-up Form.” There is one form signed for two cats, and one form signed for three dogs. Dates on the forms show PETA had the two residents of the Dreamland Mobile Home Park sign the forms in September. The animals were not rounded up by PETA until October. PETA was originally called to the mobile home park by the park’s property owner who complained of strays.
VDACS told WAVY.com the people who signed the forms were not actually owners of the animals. The animals were strays. In fact, Wilber Zerate, Maya’s owner, signed the form for the two cats because he had stray cats living under his trailer. VDACS told WAVY.com the woman who signed the form for the dogs was not present when the animals were rounded up. Meaning, there’s no proof the animals she was complaining about were actually the animals taken by PETA on October 18.
All five of the animals taken into PeTA custody were euthanized at the group’s Norfolk headquarters during October 18 in violation of state law. Virginia requires a five day waiting period before shelters can euthanize animals without identification so owners of animals have a chance to reclaim them. But because there is no proof of illness or injury, unfortunately, PeTA will not be held civilly responsible for the animal’s deaths.
It is unfortunate that it took the death of an owner’s chihuahua to bring light to this issue and to demonstrate the awful manner PeTA takes care of animals brought into their custody. That includes the outright lies and manipulations group employees conduct when obtaining animals they claim to hold and attempt to adopt out. Also, the fact that trailer park residents where Mr. Zarate lives called PeTA to pick up animals the thought were strays gives more depth to the reason why Maya was taken that fateful day in October.