Man Who Burned House in War on Spiders Gets ‘Humane Bug Catcher’

PETA Sends Solution to Man Who Used a Blowtorch

For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Fresno, Calif.

PETA has dispatched a humane bug catcher to Michael LaNovara, the Fresno resident who caused considerable fire damage to his parents’ house this week after attempting to kill spiders with a blowtorch.

“Spiders are smart animals whose skills are copied by human engineers, and they’re ordinarily no threat,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA hopes our gift will inspire Mr. LaNovara to live and let live and not to bug out the next time he sees tiny animals who didn’t realize that they weren’t welcome inside the house.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—offers tips on humanely removing bugs from the home on its website and in this video.

For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to Michael LaNovara follows.

October 26, 2018

Michael LaNovara

524 E. Mariners Circle
Fresno, CA 93730

Dear Mr. LaNovara,

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide to urge you to avoid a web of trouble by taking the enclosed Humane Bug Catcher for a spin when attempting to rid your parents’ home or any other of spiders or insects. We were sorry to hear about their house and that you didn’t know how to eject spiders humanely.

You may not realize it, but arachnids and insects are remarkable creatures who live in complex societies, communicate in interesting ways, and have astounding skills that our science is only just beginning to study and understand. There’s no debating that they are sentient. Studies have shown that spiders have complex brains and can think ahead, and some even work together to catch prey. Black widow spiders will assess risks before taking action and they’d much rather back away, play dead, or flick silk in your direction than attack. We can even learn from these amazing beings: For instance, spider webs—which can be up to five times stronger than steel—have long inspired scientists and engineers.

We do hope you’ll decide that there’s no reason to bug out when you find a spider or insect in the house and that you’ll find our Humane Bug Catcher a more useful tool than a blowtorch or other device that might be used to maim and kill them. Animals exist for their own purposes, and it’s good to reflect on how we can help them live free from needless human-induced suffering—regardless of what species they are or how unpopular they might be. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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