Animal Activist Arrested in Dog Theft

A South Carolina animal activist was arrested in June and charged with the theft of a dog.

Janice Melton, 43, claimed the dog walked up to her on June 2 as she was watching Columbus County Animal Control officers seize two horses from property owned by Ronald and Donna Beck that were allegedly malnourished. Melton had reported the horses to animal control.

Melton returned to the area on June 3, and according to her account,

I picked her up and put her in my car. I wasn’t on their property. She didn’t have a collar or tags, and she was in desperate need of some help.

According to Melton, the dog suffered from malnourishment and mange. An Associated Press report quoted an unnamed relative of the Becks as saying that the dog did not have mange, but appeared malnourished because it was recovering from parvovirus.

When Melton refused to turn the dog over to police, she was arrested and charged with felony theft. She was also charged on an outstanding warrant accusing her of providing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age.


Woman says dog’s welfare worth jail. Associated Press, June 18, 2003.

Animal-rights activist charged in dog theft. Deuce Niven, Fayetteville Online, June 17, 2003.

Bizzare Pet Theft Lawsuit Against Activists

In the early 1990s pet theft was a hot topic among animal rights activists, but it seems to have died down — perhaps because animal rights activists themselves seem to be getting in on the act. Such is the case of a dog-napping in Portland, Oregon.

John Lindberg, an Oregon doctor, had been jogging with his dog in Portland last May. He leashed the dog to a post outside of a market for a few minutes, and when he emerged from the store his dog was gone. When the dog did not turn up, Lindberg assumed the dog was stolen.

Patti Webb works with the Boxer Rescue League and received a call from Kim Singer. Singer used to be a news anchor at a Portland station, and described to Webb a boxer she had come into possession of. Webb realized that the dog was the same boxer that Lindberg had reported stolen, and told Singer to take the dog to Animal Control.

Instead, Singer gave the dog to Samantha Miller who, like Singer and her friend Paige Powell (who apparently stole the dog in the first place), has a history of being involved in this sort of “pet rescue”/theft.

The dog had a history of stomach problems and when it began experiencing problems while with Miller, she took it to a vet. The vet told her the animal needed an operation. Since none of the three people involved in stealing and transferring the dog were willing to pay for the operation, the dog was euthanized.

Singer and Powell both denied to police that they had any involvement in the theft of the dog. But when Lindberg filed a lawsuit against them, the duo quickly changed their mind.

In March, Singer and Powell reached a settlement with Lindberg in which they each agreed to pay him $12,500 and agreed to stop making public statements that they had nothing to do with “events relating to the dog, Shaq.”

More importantly, the settlement agreement calls for Singer and Powell to testify truthfully in any further civil lawsuit, and Lindberg’s lawyer maintains he is preparing to file suit against Miller.


Boxer’s story takes a sad twist. Phil Stanford, Portland Tribune, March 29, 2002.

Pet Theft: The Animal Rights Connection

For years now, animal rights activists have been claiming, despite a lack of evidence, that large numbers of pets are stolen by people with the sole intent of reselling the animals to laboratories. A recent string of animal thefts in Maryland had a much different motive — an animal rights activist is the main suspect in the crimes.

Police in Maryland are looking for Patricia L. Tereskiewicz of Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1987 Tereskiewicz was charged with trespassing after climbing onto the roof of a biomedical research firm as part of a protest, and in 1989 she was arrested for violating Maryland’s statute against hunt sabotage.

In recent years Tereskiewicz was a persistent caller to police to register complaints of alleged animal abuse. Tereskiewicz was charged with stealing two dogs after she had repeatedly complained that the dogs were being abused. Police investigated the complaint, but did not cite the owner. They did ask the owner to make changes to an outdoor structure that housed the dogs, and the owner complied.

Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Tereskiewicz who, with an unknown male accomplice, allegedly swiped the dogs on April 15. Witnesses described seeing the dogs placed in a Ford Escort which was later traced to Tereskiewicz.

Police believe the animal rights activist may have played a role in as many as 16 other pet thefts over the past couple years.

“These people will call and complain, three, four, five times on the same address,” Captain Wayne Fryer, director of the Animal Services Division for Montgomery County, Maryland, told The Washington Times. “It [the subsequent police investigation] doesn’t meet the standards of these activists. THey think we should go further. [But when they abduct an animal] they’re committing a crime. They’re stealing property that belongs to someone else.


Animal rights activists blamed for dog thefts. Matthew Cella, The Washington Times, August 3, 2001.

The ASPCA's road to animal rights

The Capital Research Center, a conservative-oriented group that tracks charity and philanthropic groups, recently issued a report documenting the |American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals|’ gradual shift away from a strictly animal welfare position to what is now almost a traditional animal rights organization.

The ASPCA, of course, is the oldest humane association in the United States, and is famous for its support of animal shelters. But since Roger Caras became president of the group in the early 1990s the ASPCA move closer and closer to the animal rights community. Caras has, for example, come out in opposition to meat eating saying “nothing is worse than reducing a living creature to a steak or chop wrapped in cellophane.” In its Animal Watch newsletter, the ASPCA has urged readers at Thanksgiving to “save” a turkey “instead of serving one.”

More alarmingly, Animal Watch has encouraged its readers to visit the Rutgers University Animal Rights Law Center web site. The law center seeks to have animals legally recognized
as persons. The ASPCA has also gotten firmly behind the “Pet Theft” issue and supporter various legislative proposals to make it more difficult
for medical researchers to obtain lab animals from pounds (animal rights
activists are convinced that large numbers of pet animals are stolen by
pounds specifically to be sold to medical researchers.) The ASPCA has
also endorsed various anti-Hunting and anti-Trapping legislation, including
those that would make it more difficult and expensive to deal with predators
that threaten endangered and protected species.

The Capital Research Center recommends
people concerned about animal welfare donate their money to local shelters
rather than national organizations such as the ASPCA.


From Animal Welfare to Animal Rights. Daniel T. Oliver, August 1998.