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New Shelter Plans to Honor Stolen Dog

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PARKSLEY, Va. - Supporters of the Zerate family in Accomack County have come up with a new way to remember the family's pet chihuahua, Maya.  A fundraiser has been set up to raise money and build a new shelter/veterinary clinic to be named "They Maya Center."

Maya was the family pet of the Zerate's who was taken off of the family's porch in mid-October by two members of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  A few days after Maya was taken, PETA members returned to the Zerate's home with a fruit basket for the family and with the news that Maya had been euthanized.  The members of PETA taking Maya off of the porch was caught on video.

State Senator Lynwood Lewis has seen the video and called the whole incident an "egregious set of circumstances."

"So I asked VDACS, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to exercise what I understand is their regulatory authority over the actions of PETA in that particular circumstance," said Lewis.

While state agencies and law firms now handle the legal side of this case, supporters of Maya and the Zerate family want to turn a negative into a positive and do good for the community in Maya's name.  A project titled "The Maya Center" has been drawn up.  It is a brand new facility that would be built in the Nelsonia area that would serve as a shelter for stray animals and also provide veterinary services for the community.  A new dog park is also part of the project.  

Organizer Edward Armstrong, a close friend of the Zerate family, said this project would make an impact in the local community.

"Because there is a need.  I believe if we would have more adequate solutions in place, then some of the tragedies that have occurred would not have," said Armstrong.

But the project comes with a lofty price tag in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  If the Maya Center is to become a reality, the support that has poured in both locally and nationally for Maya and the Zerate's would need to continue in a big way.

All of the information about the Maya Center and where to donate to the project can be found here: http://www.gofundme.com/J28330
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