Written by PETA
In my first year working at a grossly substandard animal shelter in Maryland, I forced myself to go in early to euthanize dogs by holding them in my arms and gently helping them escape an uncaring world without trauma or pain and to spare them from being stabbed haphazardly—while they were fully conscious, terrified and aware—in the general vicinity of their hearts with needles blunt from reuse and left to thrash on the floor until they finally died by the callous people who would arrive later to do the job.
I always wonder how anyone cannot recognize that there is a world of difference between painlessly euthanizing animals out of compassion—aged, injured, sick, and dying animals whose guardians can't afford euthanasia, for instance—as PETA does, and causing them to suffer terror, pain, and a prolonged death while struggling to survive on the streets, at the hands of untrained and uncaring "technicians," or animal abusers.
It's easy to point the finger at those who are forced to do the "dirty work" caused by a throwaway society's casual acquisition and breeding of dogs and cats who end up homeless and unwanted, but at PETA, we will never turn our backs on neglected, unloved, and homeless animals—even if the best we can offer them is a painless release from a world that doesn't have enough heart or homes with room for them. It makes it easy for people to throw stones at us, but we are against all needless killing: for hamburgers, fur collars, dissection, sport hunting, the works. PETA handled far more animals than 2,069 in 2012. In fact, we took in more than 10,000 dogs and cats and work very hard to persuade people to spay and neuter their animals and to commit to a lifetime of care and respect for them. We go so far as to transport animals to and from our spay/neuter clinics, where they are spayed or neutered and given vet care, often for free! Since 2001, PETA's low- to no-cost spay-and-neuter mobile clinics, SNIP and ABC, have sterilized more than 50,000 animals, preventing hundreds of thousands of animals from being born, neglected, abandoned, abused, or euthanized when no one wanted them. And on a national level, PETA is focusing on the root of the problem through our Animal Birth Control (ABC) campaign.
If anyone has a good home, love, and respect to offer, we beg them: Go to a shelter and take one or two animals home. The problem is that few people do that, choosing instead to go to a breeder or a pet shop and not "fixing" their dogs and cats, which contributes to the high euthanasia rate that animal shelters face. Most of the animals we took in and euthanized could hardly be called "pets," as they had spent their lives chained up in the back yard, for instance. They were unsocialized, never having been inside a building of any kind or known a pat on the head. Others were indeed someone's, but they were aged, sick, injured, dying, too aggressive to place, and the like, and PETA offered them a painless release from suffering, with no charge to their owners or custodians.
Every day, PETA's fieldworkers help abused and neglected dogs—many of them pit bulls nowadays and many of them forced to live their lives on chains heavy enough to tow an 18-wheeler—by providing them with food; clean water; lightweight tie-outs; deworming medicine; flea, tick, and fly-strike prevention; free veterinary care; sturdy wooden doghouses stuffed with straw bedding; and love.
What we see is enough to make you lose faith in humanity. One pit bull we gained custody of, named Asia, looked like a skeleton covered with skin when PETA released her from the 15-pound chain she had been kept on for years. Asia suffered from three painful and deadly intestinal obstructions, which prevented her from keeping any food down. She faced an agonizing, lingering death, so our veterinarian recommended euthanasia to end her suffering. We pursued criminal charges against those responsible for her condition, leading to their conviction for cruelty to animals. That is just one of the dozens of cases we see every week.
The majority of adoptable dogs are never brought through our doors (we refer them to local adoption groups and walk-in animal shelters). Most of the animals we house, rescue, find homes for, or put out of their misery come from miserable conditions, which often lead to successful prosecution and the banning of animal abusers from ever owning or abusing animals again.
As long as animals are still purposely bred and people aren't spaying and neutering their companions, open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA must do society's dirty work. Euthanasia is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity given the present crisis. PETA is proud to be a "shelter of last resort," where animals who have no place to go or who are unwanted or suffering are welcomed with love and open arms.
Please, if you care about animals, help prevent more of them from being born only to end up chained and left to waste away in people's back yards, suffering on mean streets where people kick at them or shoo them away like garbage, tortured at the hands of animal abusers, or, alas, euthanized in animal shelters for lack of a good home. If you want to save lives, always have your animals spayed or neutered.
See more about how PETA saves animals.
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
Written by Michelle Kretzer
The following was written by Emily Allen, CAP Associate
As Forrest Gump might say, fieldwork
performed by staff of PETA's
Community Animal Project (CAP) is kind of like a box of chocolates—because
on this job, you never
know what you're going to get. We rescue abandoned, abused, and neglected
animals in the areas surrounding PETA's Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters. It's a
big task, and we are looking to expand our team.
On any given day, we could be
crawling through a sewer, climbing
a tree, or digging through a
junkyard to rescue a terrified animal; shuttling animals of low-income families
to our no-cost to low-cost
spay and neuter clinics; or traveling into an
impoverished neighborhood to deliver doghouses, bedding, food, and toys to
animals who have been left outdoors.
We often come to the aid of neglected "backyard dogs"
like Rambo, whose owner
had left him trapped in a filthy pen with no food or water and whose every bone
stood out like bare limbs on a tree. We worked with police to get him
confiscated, and the owner was convicted of cruelty. That sweet dog, so
trusting despite having been betrayed, was adopted by a fantastic family,
gained 30 pounds, and now relishes the safe, comfortable indoor life—except for
romps in the park, of course—that every dog deserves.
We are also called upon to help suffering stray and feral cats.
One old cat was so severely
injured that his image will stay with me forever. His side was practically
covered by an open wound that was teeming with maggots. A woman had been feeding strays in her yard but was
apparently oblivious to the cat's condition. We whisked the dying animal back
to our office and gave him a peaceful
release from his suffering.
day and every story are different, but I leave work each day feeling that, like
the tale of the child who was saving the starfish who washed up on the beach, I
may not be able to help them all, but I can help this one and that one and this
one and …
Do you have what it takes to rescue
abandoned, abused, and neglected animals? Apply to be a CAP fieldworker.
I work in the Human Resources Department
at the PETA Foundation, which I love. Knowing that I get to advocate for
animals and also take care of my colleagues who advocate for them is rewarding
and fulfilling. But I recently spent a day doing something that not many people
will experience in their lifetime: riding
along with a staffer with PETA's
Community Animal Project (CAP), the people who crawl under houses, sludge through storm drains,
and face neglectful owners to save animals from suffering.
My day with CAP was eye-opening, to
say the least. I knew about the work that CAP does in the areas surrounding our Norfolk, Virginia,
headquarters, but seeing it for myself was an experience I will never forget.
In a rural area of North Carolina,
we found a terrified dog who was forced to live under a trailer with no food or
water. His "owners" ("guardians" are people who actually
care for their animals) weren't home, so we did the only things that we could
do: We gave him food and water and left a note for his owners. We plan to check
on him again soon. In another area, we found two dogs who were covered with
ticks and supplied their owner with flea- and tick-control medication and
instructions. We talked to a person who had a puppy living outdoors—the pup's littermate had already been fatally hit by a car—and tried to educate him about how to do better for the
surviving dog. Stories like these repeated themselves throughout the day as we
visited more and more animals in need of help.
All of us can make a difference for
animals in our own communities. We could offer to walk chained dogs and give their owners information about housetraining and bringing them indoors. Or we could offer to transport pregnant
cats to a low-cost spay-and-neuter
clinic. Much like
CAP's work, all our small acts together can add up to big improvements in the
lives of a lot of animals.
by Kim Argobright
Community Animal Project
fieldworker spotted a lone pit bull sitting in a trash-strewn patch of dirt
behind what appeared to be an abandoned house. A heavy chain was wrapped around his neck, preventing him from reaching even a single blade
of grass. He had no food or water, and his dilapidated doghouse had no floor. When
the fieldworker offered him a big bowl of water, the dog lapped it up as if it
were the first drink he'd had in a very long time.
she couldn't legally take the dog, whom she was calling "Dusty"
because of his dirty surroundings, the fieldworker forced herself to leave—but not before she left plenty of dog food with the
neighbor and implored him to continue to feed Dusty and give him water.
public-records property search yielded the homeowner's name, and when the
fieldworker called him, he said that he was having work done on the house and
would be moving back in soon. He refused to part with Dusty but let PETA
replace the heavy metal chain with a lightweight tie-out, give Dusty a new
doghouse, and move him to a grassy area.
he still isn't living indoors with his family—the kind of life every dog deserves—Dusty is at least
more comfortable. When fieldworkers check on him, he has food and water, and
his owner has agreed to have him neutered in PETA's mobile clinic.
stories rarely make headlines, and in fact, many people aren't even aware of how
much suffering PETA fieldworkers
spare animals like Dusty every day. But PETA can't do it alone. If there is a Dusty in your
neighborhood, please alert animal control. And if officials are unresponsive,
please contact PETA for help. We will never
turn our back on an animal in need.
the first few years of her life, Pippy the Vietnamese potbellied pig was as
happy as … well, a pig in mud. She had a home with an older couple and the run
of a large yard and was well cared for.
as her guardians' health began to decline, so did their care for Pippy, and
soon she was spending her days confined to a screened porch with no access to
the grass that she loved to roll and play in. Her hooves and teeth were overgrown,
making it hard for her to walk and eat, and she wasn't getting the
companionship that she craved.
of a PETA employee who lived in the area noticed that Pippy never left the
porch and seemed despondent. She let PETA know, and when one of our Community Animal Project staffers visited Pippy's guardians, the couple said that they had been looking
for a better home for the pig and were happy to have our help.
wonderful member with a farm in nearby Suffolk, Virginia, gladly took in sweet Pippy,
who fit right in with the farm's other rescued pigs, Sherlock and Barb. Pippy loves her new companions and her new home, where she has room
to explore, plenty of mud puddles, and all the delicious oranges that she can
Pippy and Sherlock's daily adventures will inspire a great novel … or at least
inspire some folks to stop
Every year, PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) and Cruelty Investigations Department (CID) transform the lives of thousands of animals, often turning bleak existences into happy endings.
Take this too-cute-for-words fellow, Max. His owner called PETA for a free doghouse. When our CAP team arrived to assess Max's needs, they discovered that his only shelter was a television stand. And he had no life at all! Chaining is prohibited in Max's town, so the owner gave him up, but the loneliness, frustration, and harsh elements that plague millions of chained dogs hadn't yet killed this puppy's appreciation for human beings—just look at his face!
Fishing hurts, and in this next case, it mutilated a cat. Moby was discovered by a teenager who brought him home and then realized that a fishing hook was impaled in the cat's lip. The girl called PETA for help. We rushed Moby to a veterinarian, who determined that the hook had been there for days and that Moby's injury was infected. Moby is now purring through his recovery at PETA headquarters and has an excellent home lined up for him after his stray-holding period is up.
Now, we'd like to thank you, in advance, for taking action on behalf of animals: Scout your neighborhood to find that injured or homeless cat who might be hiding under a car; enlighten the owners of that defeated dog who crouches, 24/7, in the corner of a backyard; or support our work to help suffering animals like those described above. You could very well be some animal's only hope, and your determination to help them can make happily-ever-after rescues like these happen in your own neighborhood.
Written by Karin Bennett
Remember the sweet, starving, and nearly bald cat whose owner abandoned her on the street in front of PETA's parking lot last year?
Today, Nadia is thriving in an adoring, permanent home! With consistent feedings and regular flea prevention, all her hair has grown back and she has gained some much-needed weight (when PETA Foundation staffers rescued her, she weighed only 5 pounds, and all her bones were visible). Here's happy Nadia chilling with her "kitty" friend:
Few animals who are dumped on the street to fend for themselves have such happy endings, so let's always be on the lookout for abandoned cats and dogs, and urge anyone who is thinking of rehoming an animal to take him or her to a well-run, reputable open-admission animal shelter, where the animal will be safe and cared for and will have a chance at finding a new home.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
Last week, PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) received a call for help from an indigent man whom we had already provided with a doghouse and spay surgery for his own dog. The man had tried, without success, to nurse back to health two sickly dogs whom he had found by the side of the road (they had likely been abandoned). A CAP fieldworker rushed out to check on the animals and found that they were horribly emaciated (with protruding hips and spines), lethargic, dehydrated, and covered with hundreds of ticks. We attempted to give both dogs a good meal, but one dog was too weak and sick to even eat so we loaded both dogs into a cool, air-conditioned vehicle and gave them a comfortable bed.
When these dogs were brought back to PETA headquarters, both were found to be severely anemic and the male could barely hold himself up without assistance. Their horrible health problems were probably the reason why they were abandoned in the first place.
PETA wouldn't have known about these dogs if the man who found them hadn't called, and local authorities might not know about animals in distress in our own neighborhoods unless we inform them. So, for the love of dogs, let's be watchdogs for animals in our community and alert police and animal control officials the minute we know or suspect that an animal is suffering.
When Michael McLeod pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his Norfolk, Virginia, neighbor's dog, Rex, because he was annoyed at the dog's barking, he may not have thought he'd get a long prison sentence for cruelty to animals. But he was facing Circuit Court Judge Karen J. Burrell, a self-described "judge who has compassion for animals." She handed down the maximum sentence: 11 years for felony cruelty to animals, discharging a firearm in a public place, and failing to appear in court (McLeod dodged his original sentencing hearing in 2003 and was on the lam for seven years). McLeod will serve five years behind bars, with six years suspended. If he violates the terms of his probation after being released, he could serve that extra time too.
"When judges hand down sentences like this, they deter people from being cruel to animals," PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch told a reporter. They also deter people from being cruel to people, as there is a known link between cruelty to animals and violent crimes against humans.
If you know any people who leave their dogs or cats outside unattended, please share Rex's story with them. It only takes a few minutes for animals to become victims of people with short fuses and long rifle barrels.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Some people in Barre, Vermont, are in a tizzy over a recently rediscovered (but never enforced) 1973 ordinance that bans residents from allowing their cats to roam unattended. I say that this 37-year-old law is smart, kind, and ahead of its time, because allowing cats to prowl the suburban jungle unattended isn't doing them any favors. This cat, who was rescued by fieldworkers with PETA's Community Animal Project, is a heartbreaking example of why:
Every day, cats whose guardians see no harm in letting them roam are injured or killed by vehicles, shot by cruel neighbors who don't want them using their gardens as litter boxes, poisoned, stolen to be used in experiments or as bait in dogfighting, and worse. Cats also instinctively terrorize, maim, and kill countless native birds and other wildlife who are already struggling to survive challenges such as habitat loss and who aren't equipped to deal with such predators.
Protecting cats and wildlife doesn't have to mean making Kitty a full-time housecat. Many cats quickly become comfortable with wearing a harness and enjoy leisurely leashed excursions around the yard with their guardians. And then there are "catios"—cat patios that clever and compassionate people build so that their feline friends can safely enjoy the great outdoors. Whatever we do, if we love our cats, we must never let them roam out of our sight.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.