Were local animal rescue
efforts in vain?
Local animal rescuers are
keeping a close eye on a case in Hertford County
in which two People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA) representatives are accused of
dumping the bodies of dead animals in a shopping
center garbage bin.
courthouse records indicate that employees of
animal-rights group PETA, Andrew Benjamin Cook,
24, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Adria Joy
Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, Va., each were charged
with over 30 felony counts of animal cruelty and
nine misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of
dead animals after law enforcement officers in
Ahoskie found 18 dead dogs and cats in a
shopping center garbage bin and 13 dead animals
in a van registered to PETA. Both Cook and
Hinkle, who were working for PETA's Community
Animal Project, were later charged with second
degree trespassing as well.
In a prepared statement
presented at a news conference soon after the
arrests, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk indicated
that any dumping of dead animals in garbage bins
was in violation of PETA protocol and occurred
without the knowledge of organization
However, those recent arrests
have left local animal rescuers with more
questions than answers.
Ruth Brown of Macon recently
said that in December 2003, while she was still
working with Rainbow Rescue, a no-kill rescue
organization in Roanoke Rapids, she conducted
e-mail correspondence with an individual who
described herself as being active in animal
rescue and who used the Community Animal
Project, run by PETA, to provide foster care for
the rescued animals, indicating that she was
familiar with the organization because she used
to work there.
"I thought it was the
answer from heaven," Brown said. "We just
thought 'PETA is the godfather for animals.'
(Brown's contact) said they networked up and
down the East Coast. They would take our
Brown said that she was told
that local animals transferred to PETA would be
prepared for potential adoption. As animals were
given to PETA, Brown said she had contact with a
representative of the Community Animal Project
out of Norfolk, Va., where PETA is
headquartered, as well as contact with Adria
"We asked them about the animals
and they said they only had to put one to sleep
because of congenital heart failure," Brown
said. "We questioned them on several occasions.
They reassured us the animals were adopted."
Brown said that Warren County
animal rescuers had held fundraising events to
be able to pay for spaying and neutering and
other needs related to the care of the animals
transferred to PETA, all in the hopes that the
animals could be adopted.
She recalls an
occasion when her husband, Paul, transported
animals to Roanoke Rapids, where Hinkle met him
and picked up the animals.
remembers an incident that occurred around May
or June 2004 when she and another rescuer were
to deliver animals. Brown said that she became
suspicious after her original contact arrived in
a large truck which contained over 80 animals.
When the animals were to be taken to Ahoskie,
the other local animal rescuer acted on Brown's
suspicions by traveling to Hertford County as
Brown recalls that the other local
animal rescuer was not allowed inside a building
in Ahoskie where the animals were taken. After
lunch, when the animal rescuer went inside the
facility, the building was empty, but the
rescuer saw syringe caps and blood.
Brown asked her contact about what had happened
to the animals, she was told that cats may need
to be sedated when transferred from crate to
However, Brown said that she has
not seen any records that would indicate where
the animals were taken after being transferred
"I was still suspicious," she
said. "There was no paper trail that the animals
even existed after (we gave them to PETA). We
had talked people into giving animals to us. We
would give them to PETA."
Brown said that
PETA continued to reassure her that the animals
from Warren County were adopted.
told us that they were adopting, fostering,
vetting, protecting our animals," she
In the meantime, the relationship
between local animal rescuers and the contact
Brown had relied upon grew
"Towards the end, it got ugly,"
Brown said. "We were horrified."
of 2004, several local animal rescuers decided
to cut ties with PETA, Brown said, and a Rainbow
Rescue representative said last week that her
organization "will definitely not have anything
to do with PETA."
After the ties with
PETA were cut, Brown said she did not hear from
her animal rescue contact until the PETA arrests
were publicized last month. On June 18, she
received a 1:20 a.m. e-mail "out of the blue"
advising her not to give animals to
Brown still wonders what happened
to some 1,000 animals from Warren County that
she said were transferred to PETA.
I want to know where are they?" she said. "The
first time I went (to a PETA facility) and saw
the place, I saw them (PETA representatives)
loving and helping the animals."
been advised to limit communications to or work
in North Carolina until the criminal case has
been resolved, but a PETA representative stated
to the newspaper that Warren County is not in
the area that it serves regularly.
and Hinkle are scheduled to make their next
appearances in court in Hertford County on July
"We had faith," Brown said. "This is
PETA. They told us they were fostering, vetting,
networking these animals. Isn't this deception?
We believed in