PETA Wants Accused Arsonist Charged for Animals’ Deaths

The Dolan Fire Has Killed Countless Animals—Group Says Cruelty and Endangered Species Act Charges Must Not Also Be Lost in the Fire

For Immediate Release:
October 29, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Big Sur, Calif. – This morning, PETA sent a letter urging Jeannine Pacioni, the Monterey County district attorney, to file appropriate cruelty-to-animals charges against Ivan Geronimo Gomez, who’s scheduled for a preliminary hearing today on the arson charges that he faces in connection with the devastating Dolan fire near Big Sur.

The Dolan fire has killed countless wild animals, including nine endangered condors and likely many more threatened or endangered animals in the Los Padres National Forest. Accordingly, PETA has also sent a letter asking the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to investigate and, as appropriate, file charges for violations of the federal Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act.

“When the Dolan fire swept through nearly 125,000 acres of forest, an enormous number of wild animals, including critically endangered birds in a condor sanctuary, undoubtedly experienced terrifying, agonizing deaths,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “The enforcement of animal protection laws must not go up in smoke—the person responsible needs to be held accountable for violating state and federal law.”

PETA made a similar request last month in the case of an accused arsonist connected to the Almeda fire in Oregon—and that man now faces eight counts of first-degree animal abuse for “unlawfully and recklessly and cruelly” causing the deaths of a sheep, a canary, a lamb, a goldfish, two chickens, and a raccoon.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind