We all know the animal rights activist group PETA can go a little over the top when it comes to animals, but they are at it again. This time, demanding Santa not be allowed to bring his reindeer with him to visit children at a local mall.
A statement as well as a letter stating the demands of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was released after an incident occurred with Bill Lee, a rancher that was playing Santa. Apparently Lee had his reindeer in its pen during a Christmas event in Dillon, Colorado. The animal got spooked when the noise became a little overwhelming, causing the reindeer to jump out of its enclosure in effort to flee from the noise.
Police immediately locked down the area even sending officers to slow down traffic on a nearby highway as well as a nearby reservoir in effort to deter the reindeer from walking on and falling through the ice.
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Dillon police Chief Brian Brady reported that the reindeer had been found and returned to Lee after having been lost for an entire day.
In a press release, Delcianna Winders, PETA’s foundation director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement, said, “Reindeer are no more suited to take part in the Lighting of Dillon than they are to pull a sleigh through the sky. The holiday season is supposed to be about joy and peace, not causing a frightened animal to flee in terror.”
In a letter written to the Mayor of Dillon, Ron Holland, PETA’s Special Projects Division Manager, Alicia Woempner wrote, “We hope you’ll agree that there’s no place during the holiday season or at any time of the year for compromising the well-being of an animal and public safety.”
(See also: VIDEO: The Funniest Santa Claus Fails)
Brady said in response to PETA’s demands that, “Had we not done a full investigation and the reindeer drowned or got hit by a car, [PETA] would have crucified me. We treated this like we treat a missing child. There was no way I wanted to be responsible for losing one of Santa’s reindeer and ruining Christmas.”
It has been revealed that this isn’t Lee’s first tangle with the animal rights group or authorities. Back in 2012, he was charged with 16 accounts of animal cruelty. During the case, one hundred animals were seized from his ranch. He eventually plead out resulting in the only charge on his record being one count of animal cruelty. Lee was punished by receiving two years of unsupervised probation—a slap on the wrist.
Woempner wraps up her letter saying, “Please make the humane decision not to use live animals at any future events held in the town of Dillon.”
Would you rather go see Santa with his reindeer, or do you agree with PETA?