PETA Faced a $9.7 Million Lawsuit for Killing a Family Pet

In 2014, PETA was contracted to help remove stray dogs in Eastern Virginia. But local resident Wilber Zarate alleges in a $9.7 million lawsuit filed in Norfolk that PETA officials paid children to lure his family dog off of his porch. When the kids failed to entice Maya, a Chihuahua, PETA officials trespassed onto Mr. Zarate’s porch and nabbed the pooch.

When Mr. Zarate’s niece contacted PETA about Maya’s disappearance the next day, PETA denied even being in the area that day. When she told the representative at PETA that she had security footage of the dognapping the representative abruptly hung up. Two days later, the PETA employees who had abducted Maya returned with a fruit basket and the news that Maya was dead.

Further violating the law, PETA euthanized Maya within hours of abduction instead of waiting the legally required five days. The Commonwealth of Virginia fined PETA for this infraction.

Mr. Zarate’s daughter, who he bought Maya for as a Christmas present years before, began mourning immediately. “[Cynthia] cried for weeks, became lethargic, lost sleep, refrained from eating and lost weight,” according to the lawsuit.

PETA settled the lawsuit for about $50,000 and was fined by the state for killing the chihuahua.