A paid operative of PETA, a radical organization with aims of eradicating the practice of humans owning pets, paid an operative to get a job at PetSmart and collect damaging information, a Monday lawsuit by the store says.
The lawsuit by PetSmart, filed in Florida on Monday, says an employee failed to state on her job application that she was being paid by PETA and had previously been fired by a zoo in the state a year earlier when it learned she was secretly collecting photos and video for PETA, a fact that would have been a clear red flag for PetSmart. After gaining employment, the employee secretly collected audio and video captured within the store which was then used to put together an "exposé" of the store, posted by PETA earlier this year.
PetSmart's suit targets the employee, Jenna Jordan, demanding both damages and that all materials collected and transmitted to PETA during her employment be returned and all copies deleted.
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The store argues Jordan pledged on her initial application for employment she had not withheld any information "that would, if disclosed, affect this application unfavorably," which both her termination from the Florida zoo and association with PETA would have.
"Jordan’s sole purpose in obtaining employment with PetSmart was to infiltrate the company and manufacture evidence against PetSmart to further PETA's propaganda efforts and its stated objective of eradicating pet ownership in the United States," the lawsuit states.
"PetSmart filed this lawsuit to set the record straight and defend itself against this coordinated attack from PETA and Ms. Jordan," said Tom Clare, the store's attorney. "We are confident that justice will prevail and expose Ms. Jordan’s unlawful conduct. "
Clare argues that Jordan put animals in danger by withholding medical care to sick animals because of her hidden PETA radical agenda.
"In truth, it was Ms. Jordan who withheld veterinary care from animals—in direct violation of PetSmart’s policies—in an attempt to besmirch the company," Clare said.
Clare also says Jordan "admitted [to Florida law enforcement] that she worked as an undercover agent for PETA and manufactured supposed evidence that PetSmart mistreated animals."
PETA would not comment on the case since it was not the defendant, but indicated support for Jordan's findings.
"PETA is not a party to this case, but we know what was seen inside PetSmart would be upsetting to anyone who cares about animals," said Catie Cryar, a senior media liaison for PETA. Cryar would not confirm Jordan's association with the group.
PETA is clear regarding its stance on keeping pets, a practice it characterizes as "selfish" and says leads to "immeasurable suffering."
"We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals' best interests if the institution of ‘pet keeping'—i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as ‘pets'—never existed," it says on its website. "This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually, and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior."
PetSmart in its lawsuit describes PETA as a "militant, activist organization" that "has engaged in a pattern of unlawful and tortious conduct under the guise of liberating animals."
It references a 2014 case when PETA operatives lured a dog named Maya away from its family and then put it down through lethal injection. PETA was sued for killing the dog and last year apologized, calling the incident a "mistake" and agreeing to pay the family a $49,000 settlement.