Courtland, VA — On Tuesday afternoon in a rural Virginia courthouse, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will endure the latest in a string of black eyes as two of its employees face felony charges of stealing a hunting dog belonging to a local animal control officer. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) will be in attendance at today’s hearing and throughout the trial, documenting the proceedings for its popular PetaKillsAnimals.com website.


The PETA employees, Andrea Florence Benoit and Carrie Beth Edwards, were arrested in October shortly after allegedly abducting a free-roaming Walker hound in Southampton County, Virginia. Police stopped the PETA-owned van the two were driving as they attempted to transport the dog to PETA’s Norfolk office. PETA later claimed the employees were trying to determine who owned the dog, but police charged them with felony larceny.


Benoit and Edwards are also charged with the theft of a radio-transmitting collar that the dog’s owner had put on the animal in order to track its location. The collar was later found on the side of the road near where a witness saw the defendants putting the dog into their van.


The location of this alleged dog-napping is less than 40 miles from Ahoskie, North Carolina, where two other PETA employees admitted killing dozens of dogs and cats and tossing their bodies into a trash dumpster. That case was the subject of a high-profile animal cruelty trial earlier this year. Records from Virginia’s State Veterinarian show that PETA put to death over 80 percent of the pets in its care between 1998 and 2005 — just over 14,400 dogs and cats in all. The group failed to meet the March 31 deadline for filing its 2006 numbers.


“It’s no secret that PETA doesn’t like hunters, but the group has no business stealing their dogs,” CCF Director of Research David Martosko said today. “Judging from PETA’s 80 percent kill rate, it’s likely this animal was headed for the death-chamber at PETA’s Norfolk headquarters when police intervened. It’s horrible to think that a group known for killing defenseless pets spends its time — and its donors’ money — hunting for furry victims along country roads.”