PETA cites Broadway donkey injured in 1996

Jeremy Aldrich -- December 18th, 2008

A press release from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) urges churches not to use live animals in nativity scenes, and cites a 1996 incident at the Broadway Presbyterian Church as proof of inhumane animal treatment.

According to media reports which are available through subscription services, one teen drove some friends to the church to beat the tied-up donkey, named Brighty.  Two of the teens plead guilty and the driver, Joshua Lathe of Timberville, faced a trial.  All were sentenced to jail time for maliciously wounding livestock.  According to those same media reports and to the PETA release, Brighty’s owner reported that the donkey was traumatized by the event and afraid of humans and other donkeys.

17 Responses to “PETA cites Broadway donkey injured in 1996”

  1. Emmy says:

    I graduated a year early from high school by attending summer school after my junior year. One of the other students in my class was one of these three boys. He had missed school due to this incident. It was very evident with his honesty and the discussions that we had about it that he was very remorseful.

    But, that aside, I think that incident wasn’t typical. I believe that donkey had been left alone as part of the nativity and in most cases they don’t do that. Of course a beaten animal will show signs of distress, but I don’t think having a donkey stand in a live nativity will harm them under normal circumstances.

  2. linz says:

    That story makes me want to cry, but the incident seems unrelated as to whether the donkey was part of a live nativity or not. Jerks like that could tie up and abuse a domesticated animal anywhere around here. And unfortunately they do.

  3. JUSTIN says:

    I think sometimes PETA gets bored and goes after anything they can come up with a Google search.

    I’m suprised they don’t have legislation written about using barbed wire fences.

  4. That was the infamous Danny Hardy. I was going to BHS when that happened. Easily the BHS gossip story of the year. When people ask, “What would you like to be best known for?” no one responds “For beating a tied-up donkey to within an inch of its life.”

    But that’s what Danny’s most well known for among BHS grads.

  5. cook says:

    At the time of the Brighty incident I was working in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office at the time, and we received angry phone calls and letters from the community and across the country urging our office to prosecute “to the fullest extent of the law” and “lock them up and throw away the key” and so on. Around the same time, our office was also prosecuting a young man who violently killed his elderly neighbor, and we recieved – as I recall it – no such letters from the general public. I remember thinking how screwed up that was.

  6. Regina says:

    cook, though I think I can undertsand your sentiment at the time of the Brighty case, it’s hard pressed to find anyone to think it’s not a big deal when someone commits a violent and hateful crime against a human. However, too many people are willing to brush it off when animals are cruelly treated and killed. I think that’s why there’s such an outcry, so that prosecutors are reminded that they should take animal abuse cases just as seriously.

    There was a recent story about a woman who is on trial for locking a dog in a cage for 2 months until it starved and her lawyer argued that she should be released because animals were put here for a reason and that it’s no worse than eating chicken for dinner. That’s just hateful.

  7. mikekeane says:

    I don’t see any room for argument, of course its not a good idea to tie up an animal for a religious ceremony. Was there a live baby in the manger? Live childbirth?

  8. Emmy says:

    Perhaps Mike, but I think this is a big stretch by PETA. Of course, they’re known for that.

    I don’t personally have a problem with live animals being used for a nativity though. If they aren’t being abused or neglected, I don’t really see the issue.

    And in case anyone thinks I’m not an animal lover, I am, and my mother works as a humane educator.

  9. JGFitzgerald says:

    As one increasingly radicalized by the stupidity that passes for normal, I sympathize with PETA and am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Yeah, they’re lunatic left, but maybe we need to move the inner boundaries of fringe outward to bring what should be normal closer to the center.

    It’s a geometry problem.

    That said, I have no problem with their taking advantage of this issue so long as it’s the two-legged jackasses they’re exploiting.

  10. Watchman says:

    Mules and donkey’s are two of my favorite animals. I have a question concerning donkey’s. In the Shenandoah Valley what is a donkey for if not to be part of a live manger scene?

  11. JB says:

    This is the south, what do you expect? I have a dog that is missing an eye because some punk in harrisonburg thought that it would be fun to shoot her as a puppy. I also have a cat that some locals thought that it would be entertaining to “punt” for an hour, When I got her most of her bones were broken. I didn’t realize that when the bible mentions man having dominion over animals, that it included abuse. Apparently that is how the local trash see it.

  12. Renee says:

    I love animals, and I see no problem with a supervised live nativity scene. With all of the animal abuse atrocities going on, I’m not sure why PETA would focus on nativity scenes as cruel in and of themselves, unless some additional mistreatment was going on (like if the animal didn’t have water), or if the scene was next to a particularly busy street that might be scary for the animals.

  13. Tom says:

    Amen, Mike Keane.

    It’s ridiculous to use live animals for display regardless of whether or not they are harmed. What purpose does it serve? What does that animal get out of it? It’s selfish, and only leads to other more selfish behavior involving mistreatment of animals. Just because an animal isn’t directly hurt doesn’t mean it doesn’t encourage the mentality that animals are ours to do with as we please.

    Which they are not.

    Most people fall short thinking that just because they see nothing wrong, everyone else thinks the same.

    Animals are our responsibility- to protect and help prosper. Not exploit for our everyday entertainment. They are God’s creatures too, after all.

    There is nothing lunatic about PETA. They keep issues that people would otherwise ignore IN the media because they know how to catch attention.

  14. Emmy says:

    I’m going to have to disagree with you on PETA. They do keep things in the news, but I feel like their methods put the focus on the groups insanity and not on the cause. They hurt more than help in my opinion.

  15. linz says:

    I don’t see how a donkey standing in a stable at a live nativity is different from them standing in a stable elsewhere. I got to pet the donkey at Weaver’s live nativity over the weekend and it was so happy it started leaning in to me to be petted more and wanted to be scratched behind the ears. If anyone was being exploited, it was me, and I was happy to oblige. :)

  16. JGFitzgerald says:

    Unless the church owned the animals, presumably they were borrowed. That might explain a lot.

  17. David Miller says:

    Tom, many would disagree with your statement

    “the mentality that animals are ours to do with as we please.

    Which they are not.”

    I for one; I don’t want to go to far into this because this is not the forum in which to do so, but you must realize that if someone eats meat (like 90% of the population) then the are probably going to disagree with you as well.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.