PETA Wants Cruelty-to-Animals Charges for Couple Charged With ‘Gender Reveal’ Wildfire

For Immediate Release:
July 26, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-73382

Yucaipa, Calif. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson, asking that he add cruelty to animals to the charges that California couple Refugio and Angelina Jimenez face after their “gender reveal” smoke bomb caught fire and ravaged over 22,000 acres of forest. The wildfire took a firefighter’s life, forced more than 20,000 Californians to evacuate, decimated animal habitats, and undoubtedly caused countless animals—from mice to deer—to burn to death.

The group writes in its letter that the crime of causing suffering and painful deaths to animals, as happened in this fire, needs to be recognized. The letter details how domesticated animals, including at least one dog and 20 hens—and untold numbers of native wildlife—died or sustained horrific injuries in the months-long blaze. One young bobcat required seven weeks of intensive treatment for her burn wounds.

“When the fire swept through thousands of wooded acres, an enormous number of terrified animals—both wild and domestic—saw their world disappear and many were burned to death,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA hopes this couple is also, rightly, charged with causing such agony, including the deaths of at least 21 domesticated animals.”

PETA made a similar request last fall 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 allegedly causing the deaths of a sheep, a canary, a lamb, a goldfish, chickens, and a raccoon.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, 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