NORFOLK -- A former PETA employee speaks out on what she says is the "better off dead" mentality at the animal rights' organization.
Heather Harper-Troje says she was clearly ordered to steal and kill pets and then falsify records in order to hide what was really going on behind closed doors.
The former employee spoke exclusively to 13News Now Friday from her home in Honduras. She says she decided to speak out more than a decade later after learning about a recent Eastern Shore incident where two PETA workers were caught taking a chihuahua from a man's porch. That dog was later put to sleep. Harper-Troje says she is not a disgruntled employee and wants people to really know what's going on in their community.
"It's the deception that I have a big problem with," explains Harper-Troje.
"You can't tell someone that you are going to try to find a home (for their animal) knowing full well that you're not and that you're going to euthanize that animal. Then the animal is euthanized usually the same day, sometimes almost immediately," she said.
Harper-Troje claims that she was fired because she pushed back against PETA's orders.
PETA is required to document what happened to the animals they took in, but Harper-Troje says they would often falsify records in order to euthanize more animals.
According to Harper-Troje, the organization overestimated the weight of animals in order to have leftover chemicals to euthanize animals off the books.
PETA responded to 13News Now with the following statement:
"There is no truth to this disgruntled ex-employee's stories. This is a hateful fantasy from someone who was fired and now, 14 or more years later, has apparently come up with a way to exact revenge for her dismissal—evidently, since she has claimed that she is "well out of" PETA's reach because she now lives in Honduras. Other people who worked in PETA's local rescue division at the same time vigorously refute her stories. Among other things, there was never talk of starting a shelter in that housing project. (It was flooded much of the time and later demolished, but PETA did help residents with spay-and-neuter surgeries and flea treatments and also by delivering doghouses.) PETA has always offered and never stopped or considered stopping free neutering of pit bulls. We do it to this day—we sterilized 851 pit bulls in 2014 alone. And there has always been a steady stream—growing larger as limited-admission and rejection policies are implemented at some animal shelters and as veterinary fees soar—of destitute people with aged, ill dogs who seek help with alleviating their beloved animals' suffering. We have always taken adoptable animals to local shelters and campaigned vigorously for adoption, as seen here in our latest spot by The Black Keys http://www.peta.org/features/black-keys-howlin/. For more information on what PETA does for animals in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, please visit our website<http://investigations.peta.org/petas-rescue-team/>."