PETA allegedly involved in Southampton incident

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2006

COURTLAND, Va. – Two women face felony charges after picking up a hunting dog that did not belong to them from the side of a road in Newsoms, Va.

On Wednesday, Carrie Beth Edwards, 26, of Norfolk, Va. and Andrea Florence Benoit, 25, of Chesapeake, Va. were witnessed near Gray’s Shop Road as they picked up the Walker hound and put it into a vehicle with “PETA” markings and registered to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

At approximately the same time, a Southampton County (Va.) Sheriff’s deputy received a call that one of his hunting dogs was seen running near the road less than a mile from his home.

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When the deputy, who is assigned as an animal control officer, arrived in the vicinity, he witnessed the dog being put into the PETA vehicle.

“When the animal control officer realized it was his dog that had been taken and was in the vehicle, he called for another deputy, which was the appropriate action,” said Det. Cpl. Richard Morris of the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.

It is believed that the dog was turned loose the evening before for a hunt and was last seen wearing a tracking collar.

“When the animal was recovered, the dog was no longer wearing the radio tracking collar that it was wearing prior to the theft,” Morris said. “The tracking collar was subsequently found in the area near where the dog was taken.”

Warrants for Grand Larceny and Petit Larceny were issued against Edwards and Benoit.

The women were not immediately arrested when they were found to have the dog, because the case required further investigation.

They were expected to turn themselves in to authorities on Friday.

Sgt. J. R. Ricks of the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation.