The New York Democrat could have influenced her millions of social media followers by adopting a rescue mutt from a shelter, PETA argued, but instead the congresswoman took home a purebred French bulldog.
“AOC had a chance to set a compassionate, responsible example in the face of the homeless-animal crisis, but instead, she apparently inadvertently contributed to the problem,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a letter. “PETA is urging her supporters not to follow her lead in this case and to stick up for the underdog by choosing to give a lovable mutt a new lease on life.”
The freshman “Squad” member had introduced her yet-to-be named Frenchie in an Instagram story earlier in the week. She never confirmed the breed or if she purchased her pet from a breeder.
“He doesn’t have a name yet!” Ocasio-Cortez said in one Instagram story post, asking for suggestions. “We are thinking something Star Trek related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related.”
But compared to followers who fawned over the animal’s cuteness and tweeted Ocasio-Cortez images of their own dog, Newkirk was less than amused.
“French bulldogs are inbred in order to produce “breed-specific traits,” which cause health problems that many people who will be influenced by your purchase won’t be able to afford to address,” her letter continued.
“With the millions of homeless dogs out there, you apparently chose to buy a purebred puppy instead of adopting one from an animal shelter. Right this minute, on Petfinder alone, there are more than 110,000 dogs – including French bulldogs – who need homes. Animal shelters are bursting at the seams with hundreds of thousands more, many of whom will be “put to sleep” for lack of a home.
The letter urges the freshman congresswoman to visit any NYC Animal Care & Control center and adopt a shelter dog to give her new French Bull Dog a companion while she’s away traveling the country or busy working on Capitol Hill. PETA said it was also sending Ocasio-Cortez a copy of the book “Dogs Hate Crates” to explain “why crate training is not humane or effective.”
“We’re asking that you please be a part of the solution to ending the cat- and dog-overpopulation crisis and consider setting the right example for your millions of followers by adopting a mutt and encouraging them to do the same,” Newkirk concludes.
Ocasio-Cortez has documented on her Instagram story how she was crate-training her dog.
“He’s good about his crate when we are right next to it, but he’s such a velcro pup that at night he whimpers if he’s not right next to us. We’re working on it!” she wrote.
“We are working really hard to socialize the pup to new environments, different people, travel, etc.,” she said, adding, “He’s doing great so far!”
She also responded to one Twitter user who asked if she would be bringing the puppy to work on Capitol Hill with her.
“The goal is to train him to be a community pup,” Ocasio-Cortez said, sharing a photo of the dog asleep in her lap. “Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc. But first, naps.”