Four workers who worked at the NC lab busted by PETA were just indicted on felony animal cruelty charges. Since two of the 200-some animals they abused are now in my family, I’m grateful prosecutors are taking the abuse seriously. The beagles are much more relaxed and affectionate now, but I can still see signs of their trauma.
As much of a hero Gates County District Attorney Frank Parrish is, the DA probably couldn’t have investigated if Peta hadn’t provided video evidence of workers at who worked at Professional Laboratory Research Services (PLRS), slamming doors on animals, spray cleaning cages with the animals inside, plotting to rip off a cat’s nails and other despicable behavior.
I read the news to Huckleberry and Moxie, the two beagles we adopted who came from the lab last year. Huck barely lifted his head from my lap and belly; since I’m pregnant that’s where he likes to put himself. Moxie wondered if I was talking about treats.
Physically they’re great. They no longer have infected paws and dirty ears. You can’t see Moxie’s ribs. They’re housetrained–more or less. They know their names, a few commands, some favorite words (Huck’s is “bed!” because that’s where he likes to hang out.)
They are visibly happy to see us and their human and dog friends. They love wresting and cuddling. Both smile in the sunshine. Their recovery has let us see their individuality. Moxie loves chasing big dogs, finding treasure under furniture, rolling in worms and making sure my husband slows down when he walks ahead of me. Huck loves snuggling and easily charms women. He likes carrying found bottles and balls and loves visiting friends.
And yet…their experiences at the lab hurt them in a way that I don’t know if they’ll ever recover. Huck, who left the lab at age 3, seems to remember more bad experiences there. If there’s a loud metal noise, he runs away. He is terrified to walk in tight spaces–a result, I fear, of the cage door slamming you see in the video.
Both dogs are afraid of spraying water–like you see being inflicted o them in the video. Moxie often hides behind me when she meets new people. She seems to prefer men (all four workers charged were women).
So it only seems fair that if Moxie and Huckleberry are haunted by what these women did at the lab, that the lab workers themselves should have to be haunted by it. Being a felon is a good start. The Washington Post says they could get up to 14 months in jail.
What was most freaky about the video for me was that these were young women just abusing animals because they could. There wasn’t any motive to profit from it or even do important research. A supervisor was among the indicted. Kathy Guillermo, who runs PETA’s lab investigations, says she’d like to see the lab owners–a researcher and his wife–also get in trouble.
This is the first case of a lab worker being prosecuted for animal cruelty, Guillermo notes.
Read about Moxie and Huck and how they’ve been doing in their new life
|Where to SEE DOG EVENTS like basset hound waddles, Halloween parades, dock dogs|