Pin It

San Antonio Pets Alive is extremely disappointed that PETA has chosen to attack our young organization without any facts to back up their accusations.

Where was PETA when the city of San Antonio was killing 95% of the 50,000 animals that entered its shelters in 2004?  Where was PETA for the last 7 years as San Antonio tried to do better and brought the save rate up to 30%?  Where was PETA this last year when San Antonio Pets Alive, the City of San Antonio, and other nonprofits stepped up to stop the killing and brought the save rate up to 60%?  They were nowhere to be found when the animals needed them most.  Why are they here now?  The only answer that makes sense is that they oppose No Kill, they oppose lowering death rates at shelters as evidenced by their own PETA shelter in Virginia that has a 96% death rate for all the dogs and cats that enter its doors!!

Why would PETA oppose No Kill?  You can read for yourself on their own website at They have even misconstrued or misunderstood the concept of No Kill and can’t even see that No Kill cities are different than No Kill shelters.  Instead of encouraging shelters to promote creative adoption strategies and large scale foster programs, they choose to promote death.

Nathan Winograd chronicles PETA’s latest atrocity in Shelby Georgia.  Sounds eerily familiar to what we are experiencing in San Antonio.

What would happen if PETA stopped San Antonio Pets Alive from saving another animal as they asked supporters to recommend to City Council?  The one thing we know for sure is that 20,000 animals would die needlessly in a city filled with people who want to help.

PETA hasn’t even taken the time to get ANY facts about the agreement between the City of San Antonio and San Antonio Pets Alive.  They have chosen to make untrue allegations about the city’s need to house fewer animals without even understanding that SAPA rescues animals that are moments away from death, after they have been housed at city facilities.  The city could put them down or they could give them to SAPA.  They are choosing life.  A city like this should be applauded, not derided.  PETA urges the City to create a system to care for the animals themselves rather than form a public/private partnership that would leverage community support and save many more lives.  The City of San Antonio has come a long way from the dark days when more than 45,000 animals were being housed and killed by the city shelter.  Why would PETA want to put the weight all back on the city’s shoulders?  My guess is that they know the city could never do it alone and that would ensure that MOST of the 150,000 strays in San Antonio would end up in one place that has no choice but to kill them.

Below are PETA’s words in red, followed by SAPA’s explanation in green text that PETA never bothered to even ask for.  The allegations against SAPA! include:

  • A kitten with deep abdominal and leg wounds (depicted above) was left to suffer without veterinary care for at least seven days. A SAPA! manager, who is a layperson, attempted to operate on the kitten—with no anesthetics or pain relief—as the kitten screamed.   The kitten in question, no doubt chosen by PETA because of the graphic nature of its wounds, immediately began receiving veterinary care upon intake at SAPA on the first day it arrived. The care included wound treatment, antibiotics, and pain medicine.  SAPA rescued this kitten who was to be euthanized after suffering abscesses, most likely from a dog or adult cat bite.  The kitten came into Animal Care Services with open wounds but was purring, active, and eating.  PETA prefers that kittens are killed without reason, rather than humanely treated for infection and given a chance to live a long life.  The kitten was fostered by a volunteer who took him to her vet and the vet stated that he would not have treated it any differently.  The pictures of the wounds are being misconstrued to get an emotional response, a tactic PETA uses in most of their work.  The wounds are real but the accusations made by PETA are outrageous and are an intentional attempt to cause harm to the No Kill movement and to San Antonio Pets Alive.  The allegation of a lay person doing surgery is completely false.  We are looking into suing PETA for this defamatory lie. 
  • Unweaned kittens were deprived of the frequent feedings that they require and veterinary care to alleviate and prevent suffering. Many kittens died slow, agonizing deaths.  Kittens are monitored and fed around the clock.  All sick kittens are treated for any health issues.  SAPA takes in kittens that are already sick and treats them with antibiotics, fluids, and nebulization treatments.  In nature, only 80% of newborn kittens survive even with a mother.  We understand that there will be death associated with neonatal care but we try to save them anyway.  We will be the first to admit that we need a lot of help from the community through volunteers and fosters to save the number of kittens that come in during kitten season.  We were not able to save them all this summer which means healthy adorable adoptable kittens were needlessly killed.  We believe that trying to save lives with the limited resources we do have is better than sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing while healthy kittens die.  PETA prefers death to trying.   It pains me to think what PETA could have accomplished with their millions of dollars in donations, and hordes of supporters, had they chosen to rally for life saving work as opposed to the death request they instead issued for 20,000 lives.
  • Sick and dying kittens were housed with seemingly healthy kittens.  SAPA rescues kittens that are sick as well as those that are healthy as soon as they enter the city shelter. We believe that they all deserve a chance to survive.   If one kitten is sick in a litter, SAPA does not remove the kitten from that litter for 2 reasons:  1. the entire litter is exposed to a disease at once, not just one tiny kitten.  It is often one kitten that shows symptoms first which is what has been misconstrued.  2. survival rates in kittens go way down when isolated from the warmth and social contact of the rest of the litter.  SAPA keeps litters together on purpose, because it is in the best interest of the kittens.  If PETA has a veterinarian on staff, they could have probably explained that to this Research Associate before she put ignorance into writing. 
  • Kittens with obvious symptoms of feline herpes virus and/or a severe upper respiratory infection, a contagious condition that can be fatal if left untreated, were unable to breathe or clear their air passages and refused to eat. One kitten was gasping for air and struggling to take each breath.   Cat Herpes is a real disease much like human Herpes, although not contagious to people at all, that causes kittens to have a severe cold.  There are many viruses that cause similar symptoms. It is impossible for PETA to diagnose Herpes (and illegal for a non veterinarian to make a diagnosis at all) by looking at a picture.  The virus takes 7-10 days to pass and it is the job of any health caretaker to treat the symptoms and prevent secondary bacterial infections.   All kittens with URI, no matter the virus of origin (Herpes is one of several that can cause severe colds in cats), are treated with antibiotics, fluids, and nebulizing.   This is a 100% treatable disease.    A kitten is shown dying in a video that a PETA supporter took undercover while they posed as a volunteer for SAPA.  Despite posted life-saving protocols about how to save a kitten if it starts to “fade” (a common problem in newborn shelter kittens but about 50% of them can be saved if the protocol is followed) as well as contact information for the veterinarian on call, the videographer let the kitten die without trying at all to save its life.  PETA should be ashamed to be associated with a person who will stand by and do nothing to save a life that desperately needs help.  PETA’s extreme tactics to get media attention are exemplified by this person who not only intentionally let a kitten die but videotaped it.

Please take a moment today to urge Mayor Julián Castro and your Councilmember to save the lives of San Antonio’s lost and forgotten and ignore PETA.  These animals literally have no other options.   Please support City Council in their quest to make San Antonio safe for citizens and pets and to leave behind the city’s terrible past.  You can reach Mayor Castro by e-mail at or phone. You can determine which council district you live in here and find contact information for your councilmember here.

Yours sincerely,

Ellen Jefferson, DVM

3 thoughts on “PETA: The Truth Behind Their Attacks.

  1. So this is what you do on your time off Dr. J! Thanks for all you have done in Austin and now in San Antonio for our homeless pets. It gets better everyday. Thanks to you and SAPA!

  2. I have fostered neonatal kitten for Austin Pets Alive for 4 seasons now and have personally helped saved the lives of hundreds of kittens, watched them grow into happy, healthy adults who have found loving homes with wonderful families. It has brought extreme joy and satisfaction to my life, their lives and the hundreds of families who have adopted my fosters. To think for one minute that this much joy, love, good feeling and happiness is wrong, is just plain sick on so many levels. Please keep the cirle of life and happiness flowing.

  3. Pingback: When is a black cat like a unicorn? | Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World

Comments are closed.

P.O. Box 830006 San Antonio, TX 78283 | 210-370-7612 | EIN: 45-4141531 |

© San Antonio Pets Alive!