Written by PETA
The following is a post that originally appeared on PETA Prime.
Because of your support, PETA is able to work in local communities, helping individual animals in need. Thousands of animals are helped by PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) each year. This is the second in a series of posts chronicling the work of CAP—this post is from Amanda Kyle, fieldworker for CAP. The first post can be found here.
As a CAP fieldworker, I was out one day delivering doghouses and straw bedding to dogs who are forced to live outdoors when a passerby alerted me to two semi-feral dogs suffering from severe skin infections. When I stopped by to check on the situation, I found these two frightened puppies living on what appeared to be an abandoned property. They wouldn't let me get close enough to touch them. Both dogs had bloody sores and were missing a lot of hair. No one was home, so I left a note, gave the dogs food, and put straw bedding inside a wooden box that seemed to serve as their "house."
I tried for several days to track down these suffering puppies' guardian—I talked to neighbors and stopped by at different times but could find no one who seemed to know anything. The puppies had been surviving off scraps that neighbors and passersby left for them.
Days later, when I stopped by, this time at night, the temperature was 18 degrees, and the note I left the first day was still on the door. I couldn't leave these puppies out there any longer. I can't even imagine how painful the below-freezing temperatures must have felt on their cracked, bleeding skin. I spent hours trying to catch these poor, frightened puppies, and I finally succeeded in coaxing them into carriers.
A vet determined that they both had a severe case of mange covering about 80 percent of their bodies. Their skin was also badly infected from the bleeding wounds, and they were suffering from a severe hookworm infestation. The vet who examined them gave medications to give them a little relief while we continued our search for the puppies' guardian, but the vet recommended euthanasia because of the severity of their condition. By this time, the two puppies seemed to have realized that my team and I were all there to help, and they warmed up to us quite well. They even let us pet them, so we were able to give them the love and attention that they craved—likely the only time they'd ever received any at all.
While I spent several more days trying to track down a guardian for these pups, another one of our fieldworkers brought the puppies home to stay with her and her two dogs. For those few days, these two sweet pups got to experience things that all dogs deserve to have every day, all their lives—shelter, regular meals, veterinary care, companionship, and compassion.
Even though the puppies were so much better off than when I found them, they were still suffering terribly. The medication gave them only a little relief from the infections that had grown so severe during the months with no medical treatment and poor nutrition. Had I left them where I found them—abandoned, freezing, and hungry—their condition would only have gotten worse and caused them even more pain over the days or weeks before they succumbed to their ailments. They likely would have died a miserable death. Because of their terrible suffering, we took the veterinarian's recommendation of euthanasia and gave these angels a peaceful release from their pain and suffering.
Even though this was such a sad case, I'm so thankful that we got the chance to give these dogs some care and much-needed relief. Part of what is so important about CAP's work is that I get to help animals for whom no other help is available. PETA's spay-neuter clinics are lowering the number of homeless animals in this region so that in the future, all pups (and kittens) will be born into loving homes, not on the streets. Until that day, we won't turn away from those who are in need, even though our hearts break while carrying out this work.
Amanda Kyle goes out into the community every day to rescue and improve the lives of animals in PETA’s own neighborhood.
One of the best things about working for the PETA Foundation is the knowledge that we are helping make a difference in the lives of animals every day. Even those of us in support roles (such as Finance and Human Resources departments) have the option to get out of the office and spend a day with PETA's amazing Community Animal Project fieldworkers.
On April 15, I did just that. I traded my heels for work boots, and I took a day off from helping humans so that I could make a huge difference in the lives of some very special dogs in our community.
The experience was as heartbreaking as it was rewarding. These beautiful dogs exist in backyards, exiled from the families they long to love, with little food or water, chained to whatever will hold them. They are kept among the trash, in blocked-off areas only few square feet in area. Sometimes we could barely tell that there were animals in the yards.
At each house we visited, we got right to work. We untangled and replaced heavy chains with lighter tie-outs so that the dogs could have room to move. We relocated doghouses to shadier spots, and we moved crap (both figurative and literal) out of the way so that the dogs would have a cleaner, drier place to lie down.
We were so lucky to come across Fluffy, whose area was so full of feces that it reached the top of his food bowl! I could barely stand the stench for 15 minutes—I can't imagine how he could spend his whole life among it. After a lot of hard work, we were able to move his PETA doghouse under a tree, secure his water bucket, and finally give him some fresh air to breathe.
With that, we were on to the next house. At this house I met an angel. She doesn't have a name and simply exists in a backyard, tied to a tree—and I'm unable to get her out of my head. My mission was to clean her filthy water bowl, but it was clear that what she really wanted was my attention. She could barely contain her excitement. She continually jumped up and down, wiggling her whole body, so happy to have someone notice her. If I tried to leave, she would jump up, grab my legs, and look into my eyes. This girl was starving … for affection.
At the end of the day, I'm not sure which was harder: Seeing the way these animals were forced to live or having to walk away.
If you're inspired by these stories, there are so many ways that you can help. First, you should have your animal companions spayed or neutered so that fewer dogs and cats end up in situations like these. You can volunteer in your community to help backyard dogs or to educate your neighbors about the importance of spaying and neutering. You can also take a moment to donate to PETA's Investigations and Rescue Fund, which supports PETA's outreach efforts.
Written by Vicki Carey, PETA Foundation Director of Human Resources
Because of your support, PETA is able to work in local communities, helping individual animals in need. Thousands of animals are helped by PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) each year. This is the first edition of a series of posts chronicling the work of CAP—this post is from Emily Allen, assistant manager for CAP.
Before I started at PETA nearly five years ago, I didn't realize how dire the situation for animals was in so many rural and impoverished areas. There are millions of individual dogs out there who need help. They suffer in all weather extremes, at the mercy of people who often fail to do even the very minimum to care for them. If there is a chance that we can make their lives a little less hellish, we'll certainly try.
PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) drives for more than two hours each way every week—sometimes several times—in our effort to spare North Carolina's animals as much misery as possible. Many of these animals don't have anything good in their lives—certainly not the hope of an indoor life or a decent animal protection law to keep them safe, let alone a law enforcement agency that gives a hoot. Here are just a few of the dogs we met this week during one of our North Carolina trips:
Our first stop of the day was checking on a playful lab mix named Mariah. Last winter, we persuaded Mariah's humans to allow us to spay her. We transported Mariah to and from her spay appointment, and we provided her with a sturdy doghouse. The ride to and from her spay appointment was the first time that Mariah had ever been in a car. It was also the first—and only—time that she has ever seen a veterinarian. She gets uncontrollably frantic with excitement whenever she's off her tether, which, unfortunately, doesn't happen very often. Mariah's people are elderly and frail. And while they feed her regularly and talk nicely to her, they just aren't able to give her all the attention and exercise that she needs so desperately. And they aren't willing to give her up either. I try to stop at Mariah's house whenever I can and take her for a walk around the block so that she'll have the opportunity to smell new things and experience a bit of freedom.
The following is a guest post from PETA Prime's Scott VanValkenburg.
Did you know that February 23 is Spay Day? Leading up to this very important "holiday," PETA Files readers are going to be treated to a series of posts that are aimed at highlighting the importance of making sure that animal companions are spayed or neutered.
In my time at PETA headquarters, I can honestly say that nothing has changed the situation more for dogs and cats in the border region between North Carolina and Virginia than have PETA's mobile clinics. The original "Spay and Neuter Immediately, Please!" (SNIP) clinic has been joined by the Animal Birth Control DogDoc clinic. Last year was a banner year for the struggle to end companion animal overpopulation in the poor urban and rural communities served by PETA's clinics.
In 2009, our mobile clinics performed 8,677 spay or neuter surgeries, preventing the birth of as many as 62,472 kittens and 55,536 pups in the next year alone. That's easily equal to the local animal shelter intake for one year! The local shelters (where they exist in these areas) are bursting at the seams—so no adoption program can possibly solve the problem—and exporting pups and kittens to shelters in areas with a lower population also doesn't address the root of the issue.
PETA not only drives the clinics to towns where there are no veterinary services at all (let alone a low-cost clinic) but also uses creative grassroots work to reach people. Volunteers from PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) march in the "Peanut Parade" (this is the South, after all) and go door to door trying to help "backyard" dogs. Many of the animals who receive free doghouses from PETA are also spayed or neutered by SNIP. PETA now has a full-time employee in North Carolina who drives a small van to remote residences (many on roads with no street signs) to pick up dogs and cats to take to the clinics. Last year, 562 animals got a free round-trip ride to the clinics. It was definitely the first ride that many of these animals had ever had!
PETA has also worked to have legislation passed that promotes spay and neuter surgeries.
PETA's clinics are among the few that provide "early" spaying and neutering, which not only prevents accidental litters and helps the shelters we serve with pre-adoption sterilization but also helps the individual animals avoid many health problems. Last year, 2,917 puppies and kittens were "snipped" so that they'll never have a litter! Our clinics also helped the most abused breed of dog by providing 210 low-cost or free surgeries to pit bulls. And feral cat caretakers brought in 735 felines, moving us closer to the day when there are no outdoor cats.
One local animal shelter reported that it received 100 fewer pups last year than it did in 2008, attributing the decrease almost entirely to PETA's mobile clinic services. The flood of dogs and cats needing homes continues, but PETA's local and national programs are helping to stem the tide. Have you waded into this issue?
Written by Scott VanValkenburg
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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.