NBC10.com - Nefertiti Jaquez
PETA is planning a controversial new ad for the organization using a recent story involving child abuse. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez has reactions from PETA and concerned neighbors.
Kids don't belong in chains. Dogs don't, either.
That's the message a new billboard will soon be sending to the people of Camden, N.J.
Designed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the billboard is a response to Tuesday's arrest of a Camden mother, who along with her boyfriend, allegedly chained her son to a radiator pipe.
The billboard depicts a baby boy with a shackle around his neck attached to a chain going into the ground.
The image is accompanied by the words: "CRUEL! Kids don't belong in chains. Dogs don't, either. Families belong indoors."
"Just as abused children suffer psychologically as well as physically, so do chained dogs, who are subjected to everything from temperature extremes to attacks by abusers to mind-numbing loneliness," PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement. "We call on all guardians to allow their dogs indoors -- year-round."
PETA applauded Camden for having a no-chaining ordinance which prohibits pet owners and caretakers from leaving their pets restrained outside for more than two consecutive hours a day.
The case, which prompted PETA to create the billboard, did not involve a baby, rather a 10-year-old Camden boy.
The boy, named by authorities simply as M.P., was allegedly chained by the ankle to a radiator pipe in his mother's bedroom for two weeks.
Camden County Metro Police say they learned about the boy's treatment after he ran away from home and reported missing.
When he was found, authorities say the boy told detectives he was forced to sleep with his ankle chained and that his hands were zip-tied at times.
The boy's mother, Florence Pollard, 31, and her 29-year-old boyfriend Brian Craig are charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Criminal Restraint.
"To treat a child this way is inhuman," said Camden Metro Police Sgt. Janell Simpson told NBC10.com on Tuesday.
Asked whether PETA was concerned the organization might muddy the message they're trying to send by using such a stark image, PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt tells NBC10.com the bold imagery helps people make a connection with the problem.
“We often do ad campaigns that talk about the things that we share in common with animals," she said. "A dog suffers, just as a child does."
Rajt says the organization plans to put up one billboard in the city, but has not yet determined where. She says they're currently in negotiations with outdoor signage companies.
Sheila Jackson, a Camden resident, was disgusted by the image when NBC10 showed it to her.
"It's a child," Jackson said. "I don't like the idea of having a chain around anyone's neck. I find that offensive."