Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PETA alleges pigs mutilated, beaten at Pasco County jail

LAND O'LAKES — An animal rights organization says it has reports that pigs are being cut up with tools and bashed with rocks by inmates who work in the Pasco County jail's agriculture program.

"There have been instances where pigs have been mutilated as other inmates cheer and holler at the spectacle," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, citing unnamed sources, said in a letter Tuesday to Pasco Sheriff Bob White, county commissioners and administrators and State Attorney Bernie McCabe.

"Needless to say, these horrifying reports leave us gravely concerned for the animals in this program," said the letter, signed by PETA caseworker Kristin DeJournett.

The reports are based on sources PETA said feared reprisal if their names are released. "Our sources claim to be directly affiliated with the facility but not in a manner whereby they can affect change," she wrote.

After receiving the letter, White assigned a major crimes detective to investigate PETA's reports, Col. Al Nienhuis wrote Wednesday in a response to DeJournett.

"I can assure you that the sheriff takes these allegations seriously," he wrote. "I would strongly recommend that you encourage your source, if he or she has first-hand knowledge, to come forward and assist the Major Crimes detective in getting to the bottom of this issue."

DeJournett said in an interview Wednesday that one of PETA's sources had filed the allegations Tuesday through the organization's online reporting form. She declined to say if the source was a jail employee or former inmate. She acknowledged PETA had little time to determine the legitimacy of the complaint but said the allegations were serious enough to warrant quick action.

"We have to give the animals the benefit of the doubt," she said. "If there's any grain of truth to this, they (the allegations) need to be looked into."

Sheriff spokesman Kevin Doll said inmates who work in the agriculture program are supposed to be supervised by detention officers at all times.

As part of the farm program at the jail, inmates grow crops and raise pigs, which are sent off to a Manatee County slaughterhouse. The meat comes back to the jail.

According to PETA's source, "pigs who 'don't make the grade' are deliberately killed inhumanely," the letter says.

DeJournett said she believed the source was referring to pigs that, for unspecified reasons, did not meet requirements to be sent to the slaughterhouse.

She said PETA has received reports that animals have been abused by inmates at correctional facilities around the country. But those generally pertain to feral cats or wildlife that wander onto the premises.

By coincidence, PETA received the Pasco allegations a day after National Pig Day (March 1), an informal holiday started by two sisters in 1972 to celebrate the contributions of the pig.

DeJournett said the timing was a coincidence, and she didn't think her sources had any publicity stunt in mind. She noted that PETA itself had not contacted the media about the allegations.

"I don't think that it has anything to do with National Pig Day," she said.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

PETA alleges pigs mutilated, beaten at Pasco County jail 03/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa man turns himself in for Sunday hit and run fatality

    Public Safety

    A Tampa man was arrested early Sunday after he struck and killed a pedestrian, left the scene, and then called 911 to turn himself in.

  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Bucs, Jaguars both get blame for terrible preseason ratings

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst of a weekend in televised sports.

    Worst matchup

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Dixon (41) and safety Barry Church (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) JVS119
  3. Hernando County Sheriff's Office: Deputies shoot suicidal woman who brandished shotgun

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff's deputies shot a woman they believed to be suicidal after she pointed a shotgun at them Sunday, according to a police report.

  4. Trump administration disbands federal advisory committee on climate change

    National

    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government's climate analysis into long-term planning.

    President Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
  5. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.