ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – State Senator Lynwood Lewis from the Eastern Shore wants PETA to be held accountable.
Lewis believes two PETA workers may have violated state code when they took a dog from the porch of a mobile home in Accomack County and then told the family they euthanized the pet.
“Whether it’s animal rights, property rights, any sort of different factors, this has been a violation on so many levels. It has to be looked at,” Lewis told WAVY.com.
Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin charged the two workers with larceny, but local Commonwealth’s attorney Gary Agar dropped the charges, citing lack of evidence. Lewis now wants the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to investigate whether any laws may have been violated.
“I’ve heard from law enforcement about what they uncovered in their investigation, and then there’s absolute silence on PETA’s side,” Lewis said. “So, I have to assume everything is as it appears — and it’s pretty egregious.”
10 On Your Side learned Thursday VDACS is investigating and has reached out to Godwin for information. In part, VDACS regulates and enforces laws regarding animal shelters and animal control officers.
“They may find, when they look into this, that they’re able to address the pattern here through the regulatory power that already exists,” Lewis said.
If not, Lewis said he will try to pass legislation this session that gives VDACS that power.
PETA has never returned calls from 10 On Your Side, but in an email to Senator Lewis — which does not specifically address the chihuahua situation — the group points out its many accomplishments in southeastern Virginia:
PETA’s headquarters and animal shelter are located in your district. I hope you will take this opportunity to consider everything that PETA’s hands-on rescue division does for constituents and their companion animals in your district and beyond.
But Lewis said he doesn’t have any plans to stop now: “They were employees of the organization acting on behalf of the organization, and the organization has to be held accountable if they did anything wrong,” he said.