In a report by the Associated Press, PETA will be paying out close to $50,000 for accidentally euthanizing a family's Chihuahua, in order to quell what would've been a media firestorm had this case gone to court.
Wilber Zarate, the father of the young girl who called the Chihuahua her own, sued PETA for taking the pet from their mobile home park and euthanizing it before the required five-day grace period had passed.
In his lawsuit, Zarate claimed that the organization follows a broad policy of euthanizing animals, including healthy ones because it "considers pet ownership to be a form of involuntary bondage." PETA denied these allegations and claimed that the death of the dog, which took place in 2014, was a "terrible mistake."
The dog was picked up after two PETA affiliates named Victoria Carey and Jennifer Wood traveled to the Zarate's mobile home park looking for wild dogs and feral cats. The family's dog, named Maya, was removed from the park after the two claimed they found it unattended.
Later that day, Maya was put down. The AP report states the dog was euthanized in violation of state law, which requires a mandatory five-day grace period. Initially PETA was fined $500 for Maya's death.
William H. Shewmake, the lawyer representing the family, said, "The Zarate's felt that the settlement reflects the grievous loss of their beloved Maya," saying the settlement will bring some "closure" to what he described as "a very painful chapter of their lives."
The family had initially demanded about $7 million, but will only be receiving $49,000. PETA says they'll also be donating $2,000 to a local SPCA in memory of Maya. The animal rights organization has apologized for their fatal mistake and is most likely counting their blessings that this case never went to trial.
Despite the mistake, PETA continues its euthanasia policy on animals they deem too old, too sick, or too feral.
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