Damion Trakas, a dedicated animal advocate from Philadelphia, was recently visited by the FBI for comments that he made online in reference to a Second Chance Kitten and Puppy Rescue shelter in Florida that was failing the animals in their care by unnecessarily killing them—especially if they were cases where adoption was considered "difficult."
Trakas was tipped off about the shelter when he learned of a deaf and blind dog named "Bunker" who died in their care.
"The whole story was horrible and the rescue most definitely failed this dog more than once. And they also let him sit in the shelter while they took in other animals that were easier to market. So not only did the violate the unwritten rescue law of "Stand by your animal," but they were clearly displaying that they were more concerned with flipping easy adoptions rather than a blind and deaf dog that has been sentenced to death," Trakas told The Free Thought Project.
Upon further investigation, he found that this was a common story at this particular shelter, so doing what he does best, Trakas began to speak for the neglected animals in online videos.
"Needless to say... I was pissed. I first messaged them but got no answer. And as I uncovered more I just decided to air them out. I made two videos in regards. After the first video they claimed that some of my info was off and demanded an 'apology,'" Trakas said.
He then made another video, correcting some of the details that may have been off in the first video, but making a renewed call for justice for these forgotten animals.
It was not the actual videos that made Trakas a target for federal agents, but a reply that he left in the comments, where he suggested flying to Florida himself to rectify the situation.
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"Somewhere I posted a comment like 'do I need to come to Florida?' And under that comment, some people laughed and others made comments like 'I got your bail money.' It was CLEAR through the context of replies, including my own, that I wasn't about to fly to Florida to hurt anyone," Trakas said.
Another one of his comments read, "I'd love to kick Lisa's hubby's teeth in ....in front of her and tell her to have a great day. Sorry... not sorry..... I don't like her," which is slightly more aggressive, but still, nothing compared to the tough guy rhetoric that trolls spread around the internet, especially here at The Free Thought Project inbox.
Weeks after these comments were made, FBI agents paid a visit to his house, and told Trakas to "tone it down" on the internet.
Trakas made the following post on his Facebook page announcing the
"It was hands down the most mindless and insulting form of harassment I have ever experienced. And of course, the agents played it off because they were 'just doing their job,' and they would 'rather be doing more important things.' If this is the level of intelligence of the FBI—it explains why so many atrocities have happened that the FBI could've prevented," Trakas said.
Trakas also said he believes that he is on some type of watchlist from previous online posts he made, where he suggested that dog owners should fight back against police who kill their animals.
"What they should do is just be honest. They should say, 'Many of your posts and comments come up in our algorithms and since we are already monitoring you from years ago we decided to pay you a visit in hopes to get you to stop speaking out in the way you do,'" he said.
Trakas has promised not to curb his free speech and says he will continue to fight for disadvantaged animals, regardless of what the FBI has to say about it.