Huntsville Fire Department Under Fire for Abandoning Animals Stranded on Ice

PETA Asks Department to Reconsider Policy Immediately

For Immediate Release:
March 24, 2015

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

The Huntsville Fire Department’s recent decision to ask residents to stop calling with requests to rescue animals—both companion animals and wildlife—stranded on frozen waterways has caused PETA to rush a letter straight to the desks of department officials urging them to reconsider the cruel policy, which also instructs residents not to attempt to rescue the animals themselves.

“PETA is calling on the Huntsville Fire Department to do what’s decent and right by helping all Huntsville’s inhabitants who are in trouble, regardless of species,” says PETA Senior Director Colleen O’Brien. “By following the great example set by fire departments across the country that respond to animals in distress, the Huntsville Fire Department could send a powerful message of kindness to people everywhere.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—has given awards to several fire departments just this month alone for taking action to save or improve the lives of animals, including departments in Henrico County, Virginia, for rescuing a duck who was stuck on the ice of a retention pond; in Wright City, Missouri, for pulling a dog to safety from a frozen pond; and in Trumansburg, New York, for reuniting a dog who was stranded on the ice of a frozen lake with her owner.

PETA’s letter to the Huntsville Fire Department follows.

Stephen Hernen
Fire Chief
Huntsville Fire Department

Dear Chief Hernen:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Ontario, to urge you to extend compassion and service to all individuals in need, regardless of species. We implore you and your department to offer support to all animals trapped on the ice, just as many other fire departments are currently doing.

You probably know that a growing number of fire departments have acquired the tools necessary to rescue both companion animals and wildlife who become marooned because of icy conditions. In the last few months alone, PETA has given awards to two fire departments in Indianapolis for rescuing a combined total of three stranded dogs in one day, Wisconsin’s Cudahy Fire Department for delivering a dog trapped on the ice floes of Lake Michigan to safety, and the Colwood Fire Department in British Columbia for saving a fawn cornered on the ice of a lagoon.

These departments are an inspiration to others to come to the aid of animals in need. We hope you will open your hearts and follow their example by answering the calls of concerned citizens who are looking for assistance in rescuing everyone—including animals—in need this season.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

ingrid newkirk

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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