For Immediate Release:
August 24, 2023
Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382
Lake Station, Ind. – Following a rally of PETA supporters outside Lake Station City Hall on Wednesday and a barrage of demands for action posted on the Lake Station Police Department’s Facebook page, that page has suddenly become “unavailable” as of Wednesday evening. The actions were part of PETA’s demand for an independent investigation into a July 27 incident in which nearly 20 dogs endured heat exhaustion in the back of an unventilated box truck—and at least eight of them died. The group had also sent a letter to City Attorney Frank J. Koprcina and Police Chief James Richardson on August 10 warning them that the department’s practice of deleting, hiding, and restricting negative social media comments about the incident is a violation of the First Amendment.
“The Lake Station PD is placing itself above the law, and instead of facing its critics and taking responsibility for its role in these dogs’ suffering, it decided to get out of Dodge,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “The department can try to hide from the public, but PETA won’t stop the pressure until it agrees to an independent investigation and guilty parties and conspirators are charged with a crime.”
Local PD’s K-9 Deaths Scandal to Draw PETA Rally, Demand for Independent Investigation, Prosecutions
Carrying signs reading, “Dogs Left for DEAD in Extreme HEAT” and “Independent Investigation NOW!” PETA supporters will converge outside City Hall on Wednesday to demand an investigation into what appears to be a conflict of interest surrounding responsibility for the nearly 20 dogs who experienced heat exhaustion while being transported inside an unventilated box truck on July 27. At least eight of the dogs died in agony, while others were denied emergency treatment.
The dogs were reportedly headed to a K-9 training facility in Berrien Center, Michigan, and the driver sat in traffic in 91-degree heat for hours. According to reports, when he finally pulled over, several dogs were already dead—and although representatives of the Humane Society of Hobart were on the scene almost immediately, the Lake Station Police Department blocked them from assisting the distressed dogs, forcing rescuers who had access to multiple air-conditioned vehicles to stand by as more dogs died. The police then allowed the driver to leave the scene with both deceased and live dogs unsecured in the open back of the truck. PETA has discovered that Lake Station Police Chief James Richardson apparently had an existing relationship with the owner and operator of the company that was transporting the dogs, Mike McHenry of FMK9.
“Authorities prevented rescuers from providing urgent care because they were apparently more concerned about a personal relationship than these dogs’ suffering,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for the Lake Station Police Department, which failed dogs who relied on it for help, to step aside and allow an unbiased third party to investigate this incident.”
Where: Outside Lake Station City Hall, 1969 Central Ave., Lake Station
When: Wednesday, August 23, 12 noon
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.