June 28, 1948
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Chris DeRose (born June 28, 1948) is an animal rights activist, and recipient of the 1997 ‘Courage of Conscience’ International Peace Award and a former actor. He appeared as a regular on the ABC series San Pedro Beach Bums, General Hospital, Cagney and Lacey, CHiPs, The Rockford Files and Baretta. He also had lead or guest roles in 14 feature films. He was an on-camera reporter for the television shows Hard Copy and Inside Edition. Earlier, he worked as a police officer and as an investigator.
DeRose was born in Brooklyn, New York and at age 5 he went into an orphanage in New Jersey. Jersey ultimately became his home after he got out of the orphanage. He is the founder and president of Last Chance for Animals (LCA) and the author of the book In Your Face: From Actor to Animal Activist, also translated in Italian, A Muso Duro. DeRose has been arrested 12 times and jailed 4 times for opposing animal cruelty, including his participation in a break-in at the UCLA Brain Research Institute in 1988. The coverage was aired worldwide by CNN and was responsible for shedding light on the question of Vivisection and what lies behind the locked doors of research facilities. DeRose was fired from General Hospital when he was sentenced to jail for the break-in.
DeRose appeared in the 2006 HBO Documentary, Dealing Dogs, along with an undercover animal rights activist known as "Pete" and other investigators of Last Chance for Animals. Together, they uncovered mistreatment of animals on a large scale at Class B animal dealer, C.C. Baird at Martin Creek Kennels in Arkansas. They were successful in closing down the operation (which was the largest in the country), saving countless thousands of dogs each year. Subsequently, homes were found for the hundreds of abused dogs that were going to be sold to labs for experimentation. Dealing Dogs profiles LCA's undercover investigation that was designed to expose Martin Creek Kennel's inhumane treatment of dogs and violations of the Animal Welfare Act. DeRose said he hoped Dealing Dogs would speed the passage of the Pet Safety and Protection Act, which, when passed, will put Class B dealers out of business.
DeRose arranged for two undercover Asian operatives to secretly videotape the butchering of a dog for food from Wisconsin Class B animal dealer Irving Stebane for the Hmong community. Felony charges were filed against the dealer, but in June 1993, Calumet County circuit judge Donald Poppy ruled the case constituted illegal entrapment and ordered the return of 143 dogs which had been seized. None of these dogs ever got back in the hands of Stebane. DeRose had arranged for all the dogs to be rescued and scattered throughout the state of Wisconsin with the help of dozens of rescue groups and individuals. He vowed two things: 1) “Not one of these dogs will ever go back in the hands of Stebane,” and 2) “I will put Stebane permanently out of business.” Which he did. “I made a painful decision,” DeRose admits, “and a dog died. No one knows that better than me. But remember, none of these dogs were going to Disneyland. They were either going to be butchered for food or suffer in a lab experiment. This dog experienced the lesser of the two evils but most importantly, it was all documented. This dog did not die in vain. This is what put Stebane out of business permanently." At the time, Stebane was the largest Class B dealer responsible for at least 5000-6000 dogs a year being killed. Most of the dogs were people’s pets.
DeRose went on to say that, “I don’t care what people think of my direct methods. I just want to do what is best for the animals and as efficiently as possible. Only two people of importance had doubts about the Stebane operation until they spoke with me and saw the big picture.” DeRose reminds us again the dog’s death was imminent, with or without the presence of a camera, and the camera brought a significant degree of meaning to its sacrifice. Indeed, the public outrage precipitated by the case galvanized not only the community, but drew the attention of U.S. Representative Toby Roth (D-WI), who introduced the Stebane Bill,”legislation designed to strengthen penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.” Roth also wrote a letter to Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture, voicing his deep concerns with unlawful Class B dealer activities. His sentiments are echoed by U.S. Senator Fiengold (R-WI).
DeRose received the 1997 Courage of Conscience International Peace Award for his commitment to saving animals and exposing animal abuse in entertainment, medical research and food production. In 2006, he became the Director of Animal Welfare (DAW) for West Hollywood, California.
On March 4, 2008, DeRose posted a video response to YouTube calling out the American Marine, David Motari, who threw a puppy off a cliff in Iraq. DeRose called Motari a coward and stated he was disturbed by the video.
- "Chris DeRose: The Warrior", Sue Russell Writes, Brntwd Magazine, USA, 2001
- on YouTube (2008-03-04). Retrieved on 2008-03-07.