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McDowell County in NC’s backwoods is far from backwards and is populated by animal owners who wish the PETA cruelty story hadn’t made internet headlines.


June 25, 2018

Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Editor-In-Chief, SAAB


One of our readers sent an interesting news release proffered by People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals, commonly known as PETA. I called the Sheriff's office because offering to give money is one of the oldest methods to get money. This offer of a $5,000 cash reward (see below) was widely circulated and probably effective in stimulating funding.  The introduction said “PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has offered up to $5,000 in cash for information leading to the arrest of a person who threw a dog trapped in a bag into the Catawba River to drown.


The April 2018 story{1} said local residents in McDowell County NC found a “pink-camouflage drawstring bag floating in the Catawba River about 100 yards away from the bridge on Yancey Road.” When they retrieved it they made a gruesome discovery. Inside the bag was “a brown-and-black Chihuahua mix wearing a purple floral-print collar” obviously someone’s beloved pet. Officials had a necropsy performed which concluded that the badly bruised little dog was alive when the sub-humans threw her into the river.


Imagine what that tiny dog endured as she struggled to breathe air instead of water. Mercifully, being only a dog, she had no conception of death but that helpless dog had the same survival instinct YOU have. How horribly she suffered as her lungs filled with water... and no beloved hands came to save her.


Yeah PETA, I got it. You made the point but instead of tapping the donate button I called the top radio station in Western NC and reached one of the principals at WKYK/WTOE{2}.  Ardel Sink knows everyone and everything that goes on in the mountainous five county area but he had not heard about the DDD (deliberate dog drowning). In an area famous for magnificent scenery and coon hunting, it is hard to imagine anyone on McDowell County committing such gruesome cruelty.


Mr. Sink agreed and suggested I also call the McDowell County Sheriff’s office for details. I did so and spoke with Richelle Bailey, Administrative Assistant in the Sheriff’s Office. She confirmed there had been an arrest and sent the following:


Deputy Frank Holder of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged Charles Travis Hollifield, 40, of 1559 Hankins Road in Marion, with felony cruelty to animals.

On Wednesday, March 28, two fishermen located a pink camouflage drawstring bag floating in the waters of the Catawba River at the Yancey Bridge. Inside was the body of a dead Chihuahua mix canine.

Tips and a thorough investigation led Holder to Hollifield, who is acquainted by marriage with Michelle Autrey, the owner of the dog named Princess.

An arrest warrant alleges that the suspect drowned the dog by placing it in the drawstring bag, along with a rock, and throwing it in the river.


PETA had blasted their money-raising press release as soon as the dog drowning was reported, stating in part “The McDowell County Sheriff's Office is investigating but has yet to make any arrests in the case, prompting PETA to offer a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty-to-animals charges of the person or persons responsible for this heinous crime.


I went to the PETA website, searched past all the donation requests and provocative “stories” which led to “donate” buttons, looking for the typical Press Info button which is usually at the bottom of professional sites. Not there. PETA can afford the best so we must assume they only want press coverage on what they hand-pick to send to media.


The NC release is an example of PETA’s business acumen in capitalizing on news stories. A large staff and avid followers work to the benefit of the not-for-profit. Make no mistake, PETA isn’t poor. People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals is a 501C3 non-profit corporation funded by donations. PETA’s 2017 tax return reports income of $48,468,512. That’s 48 million bucks but don’t worry, they are truly a non-profit corporation because their operating expenses were $67,673,813. PETA's salary expenses are low but any CPA who does non-profit filings knows how to categorize other benefits to management and fund-raising expenses.


Reference and Related Information:  {1} McDowell News   ~   {2} WKYK/WTOE EST 2002 © 1806



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