Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was called out by an animal rights organization for failing to set a proper “example” to her millions of social media followers.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals admonished the New York Democrat after she related that she had taken home a purebred French bulldog, calling her decision “disappointing” considering the many dogs “homeless in shelter cages waiting for homes.”
PETA sent the freshman lawmaker a letter urging her to visit a New York City animal shelter in order to see the options she had in adopting a dog who desperately needs a home. The group also suggested that Ocasio-Cortez pledge to adopt another dog from the shelter, “or to adopt a second one now so that the two can keep each other company while she’s busy on Capitol Hill.”
With millions of dogs, including Frenchies, homeless in shelter cages waiting for homes, @AOC’s choice to publicize getting a purebred puppy is disappointing.
As a person who fights for justice, we doubt she could’ve realized the implications.
Adoption is the ONLY option. pic.twitter.com/CiptDEaZmu
— PETA (@peta) January 10, 2020
“We really couldn’t believe our eyes, because you are a role model for how to live, so we understand that you just didn’t realize what you were doing in this case—you couldn’t have,” the letter to the lawmaker read.
“AOC had a chance to set a compassionate, responsible example in the face of the homeless-animal crisis, but instead, she apparently inadvertently contributed to the problem,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said. “PETA is urging her supporters not to follow her lead in this case and to stick up for the underdog by choosing to give a lovable mutt a new lease on life.”
Ocasio-Cortez had introduced her followers to the new puppy earlier this week on Instagram, asking for suggestions for a name.
“He doesn’t have a name yet!” she wrote, though she never mentioned if the puppy was from a breeder. “We are thinking something Star Trek-related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related.”
But Newkirk noted in the letter that “French bulldogs are inbred in order to produce ‘breed-specific traits’ which cause health problems that many people who will be influenced by your purchase won’t be able to afford to address.”
“With the millions of homeless dogs out there, you apparently chose to buy a purebred puppy instead of adopting one from an animal shelter. Right this minute, on Petfinder alone, there are more than 110,000 dogs – including French bulldogs – who need homes,” the letter continued. “Animal shelters are bursting at the seams with hundreds of thousands more, many of whom will be ‘put to sleep’ for lack of a home.”
Ocasio-Cortez had documented that she was “working really hard to socialize the pup to new environments, different people, travel, etc.” She also responded to one Twitter user who asked if the puppy would be joining her at work on Capitol Hill.
Yes! 🐶 the goal is to train him to be a community pup. Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc.
But first, naps 😴 pic.twitter.com/ec8beJTrmZ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 7, 2020
The congresswoman also shared how she was crate-training the puppy.
“He’s good about his crate when we are right next to it, but he’s such a velcro pup that at night he whimpers if he’s not right next to us. We’re working on it!” she wrote.
Newkirk noted in the letter to the Ocasio-Cortez that she was sending a “copy of the book Dogs Hate Crates, which explains why crate training is not humane or effective.”
Some Twitter users came to the congresswoman’s defense, telling PETA that they did not know the background.
Sometimes purebreds are rescues, too. You don’t know their story. Even if she did buy her puppy, that’s her choice & she might have a very personal reason. While I advocate for adoption always, I’m very happy to see this puppy with a loving home. Isn’t that what we all want?
— Winter (@wapplewh) January 10, 2020
ALL Animals need homes! If she hadn’t purchased it..somebody else would’ve. Cute puppy @AOC
— RCI (@RocCanInc) January 10, 2020
Enough with the high horse, judgmental “wokeness” attitude projected by PETA. An extremely rare moment that I agree with AOC – she has the right to choose her pet just like anybody else. I’m willing to bet the vast majority of your supporters are also pro-choice in other arenas.
— ChrisMRN (@ChrisM_RN23) January 10, 2020
Publicly shaming AOC for this is shameful itself. Obviously she’s not a bourgeois dog show elite who supports puppy mills and the breeding industry. She wanted a dog and found the kind she wanted. Her having a dog is a great advertisement for people to adopt and care for dogs!
— DintMentalFloss (@DintMentalFloss) January 10, 2020
@peta “Adoption is the ONLY option.” Does that apply to unborn human babies?
— ProfessorLos (@poppoplos) January 10, 2020
Others, however, found the issue another example of why Ocasio-Cortez should not be seen as any kind of role model.
AOC is known for making bad choices.
— Donna Strauss (@chihawkin) January 10, 2020
She doesn’t realize the implications of almost anything she does, says or promotes. Despite her arrogance she is truly that naive.
— Man-Bear-Pig (@Man_Bear_Pig3) January 10, 2020
When will everyone wake up and see what a fraud she is! She wants to impose her green ways on everyone else except her and her elitist friends. She wants the public to make changes while she flies in private jets and private cars. No way would she adopt a shelter dog.
— QuebaLander (@quebalander) January 10, 2020
Everyone knows how much Frenchies cost, $5000 being a @HouseDemocrats really puts you up there with all the elite Frenchie owners. Too good to get a shelter dog? That would have been a better message especially if you plan on bringing the dog to your public job. #rescuedog
— Hobiecat (@PANYGAFLgirl) January 10, 2020
Hey, don’t pets cause global warming?
— El Tiburon (@eltiburon9000) January 7, 2020
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