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New York Agency Agrees to Stop Telling the Public to Drown Animals

January 2002

A New York resident called PETA to report that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) routinely advises citizens to drown captured wild and domestic animals, a violation of New York state’s anti-cruelty statutes. To confirm the allegations, we recorded a conversation between a PETA investigator and a NYDEC officer. Not only did the NYDEC officer instruct the PETA investigator to drown a trapped opossum by placing the entire trap in a garbage can filled with water, the officer also encouraged the investigator to kill stray and feral cats using the same method.

We gathered scientific evidence and solicited letters from veterinarians attesting to the cruelty involved in drowning an animal. We sent a letter to the commissioner of the NYDEC and held a news conference in Albany to release the taped conversation to the media, play a tape of dogs being drowned in Taiwan, and publicly request that the NYDEC adopt strict policies prohibiting its employees from promoting drowning as a means of euthanasia.

Following the news conference, PETA met with NYDEC representatives. As a result, the NYDEC apologized, reprimanded the employee, and sent him to counseling. More importantly, in compliance with our request, the NYDEC also agreed to release a public statement that it will no longer promote drowning as a means of euthanasia and will adopt policies to that effect.

Learn how to humanely handle wild animals in your neighborhood.