PETA (which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning in 2nd District Court in Farmington.
A representative of the group said the suit is “for what PETA believes are violations of the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). Despite repeated requests, county officials have failed to comply with the state’s open records law by providing copies of documents related to the roughly 100 lost, stolen or stray dogs and cats sold by Davis County Animal Control to the University of Utah in 2009.”
The representative cites an eight-month PETA undercover investigation inside U of U laboratories last year, saying that “revealed that under an archaic state ‘mandatory pound seizure’ law – the kind that has been abolished in almost every state – the university routinely buys dogs and cats from local animal shelters for use in invasive and often deadly experiments.”
The group also said the state buys most of its animals used in its labs from the Davis County shelter.
“Animals whom people trusted Davis County to look after are being betrayed by the very people charged with protecting them,” says PETA vice president Kathy Guillermo. “People are horrified to learn animals taken to the shelter have ended up surgically mutilated, injected with chemicals and killed at the university.”
PETA claims that Utah is one of only three states requiring shelters to turn over homeless animals to labs upon request. “Information received from Davis County suggests the shelter does not tell people who are surrendering dogs and cats that the animals could be sold to the university and does not give people the opportunity to opt out, as permitted under state law.”
Chief Davis County Deputy Attorney Bill McGuire said the county had not received a copy of the lawsuit, so could not make any comment.