DELHI _ A letter has claimed animal-rights activists are responsible for the fire that destroyed Perkins Taxidermy on Jan. 25.

The blaze at the Arbor Hill Road taxidermist shop in Delhi was reported at about 11:20 p.m., and the 911 call was believed to have come from a motorist on state Route 10, Delhi Fire Chief Dan Brandenburg Sr. said at the time.

Two to three weeks after the fire, owner David Shaw said, he found a letter that had been dropped off in the mailbox at the shop.

"Greetings Human," was the salutation on the typed letter that bore no postmark, Delaware County Undersheriff Doug Vredenburgh said Wednesday.

"The letter took credit for the fire in the name of animal rights," Vredenburgh said. "It talked about humans overpopulating the earth and indicated that the fire was a just a warning.'"

The letter, which has been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for examination and testing, was signed ARF, which may be the acronym for the Animal Rights Front Inc., a group based in New Haven, Conn.


There are several references to ARF on the Internet. In New York Times articles from 1987 and 1988, Bill Manetti, of New Haven, Conn., is listed as both the president and the spokesman for the nonprofit animal rights organization, but there is currently no phone listing for a Bill or William Manetti or any group using the organization's name nationwide.

Vredenburgh said the FBI has not been able to locate anyone connected with any group using the acronym ARF.

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information about the fire, letters of a similar nature or the person who left the letter in the mailbox is asked to call the Delaware County Sheriff's Department at 746-2336.


Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at .


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