Written by Alisa Mullins
How did you celebrate your last birthday? Did you have dinner at a nice restaurant? Take in a ballgame? Go to your friend's house for a surprise party? PETA Foundation staffer Kendall Bryant—aka "The Straw Boss"—would have none of that. She spent her birthday delivering straw bedding to cold dogs in North Carolina with her accomplice Dan "CircusesHurtAnimals.com" Carron. And because Kendall is a talented photographer and videographer, she documented her trip and turned it into a must-see video:
Kendall and Dan met pit bulls Tyson, Diamond, Pretty, and Tiger, who were all struggling to stay warm as best they could during the first snowfall of the winter. You can tell by their furiously wagging tails that they were nearly as thrilled to get some attention as they were to get fluffy straw, a hearty meal, and, in the case of Tyson, a lightweight tie-out to replace his heavy logging chain.
The pair also helped Bear, a golden retriever mix whose drinking water had frozen solid, and a pack of beagles, possibly used for hunting, who eagerly gobbled up the food that they were offered. (Many people don't realize that dogs kept outside in the wintertime burn more calories to keep warm and therefore need more food.)
In total, Kendall and Dan helped 18 dogs, three rabbits, a cat, and a rooster that day. I'd call that a birthday well spent.
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.
Today, as Americans from sea
to shining sea celebrate the Founding Fathers' determination to be free from
British rule by setting off fireworks and hosting backyard barbecues, how many
of us will notice that some Americans remain in bondage—sometimes just a few
feet from the grill?
Alex E. Proimos|cc by 2.0
Millions of dogs live their
entire lives—24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year—in chains. They get food when their owners remember to toss it
out the back door. They get a drink whenever they manage to avoid tipping over
their water bucket (if they even have one). James Madison was in the White
House the last time that they got a walk. Entertainment options? Counting the
flies circling their heads, gnawing on rocks or the chains that bind them, or watching
their families flip burgers and twirl sparklers on the deck from a distant
corner of the backyard.
Like us, dogs are social
animals. They crave contact with humans and other dogs and can go insane if
they are denied it. If you know of a "backyard dog," why not do what
you can to make his or her life a little better? Here are just a few of the
ways you can improve a chained
Being stuck outdoors on a
chain is like being a prisoner of war—only dogs are not our enemies, we are not
at war with them, and they are never going to be set free. That is, unless
those who think that chaining a dog is an act of betrayal on a par with that of
Benedict Arnold do something about it.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Meet Boss. As you can tell, he's one happy dog:
But Boss wasn't always so happy. In fact, here he is just a
short while before:
What made the difference? One of PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) fieldworkers noticed Boss during one of her visits to a trailer park in a
very impoverished part of North Carolina, where CAP delivers straw and signs up residents for SNIP's
Boss' owner had moved out and was paying someone to give the
dog food and water, but the "caretaker" was simply throwing food over
the top of the pen, which hadn't been raked or cleaned in some time. There was
no clean or dry place for Boss to sit or stand. Even his Igloo doghouse was
full of urine and feces, and his feet were wet, red, and irritated from
standing in his own waste.
Determined not to leave him in that miserable condition, the
fieldworker who found Boss persuaded the owner's mother to care for the dog and
then drove Boss to her house, where he rolled in the grass. "He was so
freaking happy," the fieldworker says, "I thought I was going to cry."
Please always be prepared to help animals in need and you may be rewarded with a smile that you'll never forget—like the one on Boss'
Written by PETA
Now that spring is in full bloom in much of the country, we won't be hearing reports of "backyard dogs" freezing in the snow for a while. But other sad stories are in no short supply: Many puppies born this spring will be taken away from their mothers only to end up chained alone in someone's yard, and they will stay in that same spot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of their lives, with nothing but a patch of worn-down dirt and no companions, scant attention, and all freedom lost forever. And if that weren't enough, many chained dogs strangle on the chains; get ripped apart by other dogs; are tormented, teased, injured, and killed by cruel humans; or are stolen by "bunchers" who resell them to laboratories. Others will simply starve to death when no one remembers to bring them food and water.
But there's hope for dogs who are suffering on chains. As USA Today reported, dog chaining is "inching its way toward unacceptability" as ever more jurisdictions pass laws banning or restricting chaining. California already has a law restricting tethering to three hours per day—as does PETA's hometown of Norfolk, Virginia—and the Illinois General Assembly is currently considering a statewide law that would ban dog chaining between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The Illinois bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House Rules Committee.
You can help chained dogs! If you live in Illinois, please contact your legislators and ask them to support Senate Bill 2580. If you live elsewhere, please lobby for an ordinance in your community. To get started, call us at 202-540-2174 for a free guide on getting the job done, and we'll help you every step of the way.
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
It's time to play another round of "Who Wore It Worse?" In this round, two singers who consistently hit only low notes—thanks to their garish fur garments—are about to face off.
First up: Is this "Loco for fur" Latina still "from the block?" That ghastly coat certainly suggests that she spends her nights walking the streets.
Not to be outdone, the "Queen of Cold's" wailing performance in this gruesome getup had some holiday revelers worried that they were witnessing the death throes of a bear.
By now you know how to play: First, name the fur hags pictured above, and then cast your vote for "Who Wore It Worse?" And be sure to tune in tomorrow for round four!
Written by Karin Bennett
It was 20 degrees in Michigan, and this small dog was tethered outdoors without any shelter to protect her from the plummeting temperatures. She was shivering, lonely, and suffering from a severe skin infection that was causing her fur—her only defense against the bitter cold—to fall out.
A compassionate passerby alerted PETA's Emergency Response Team that the dog appeared to be in danger. It was late, but we promptly notified a solid dedicated humane officer who with whom we'd worked with in the past. Despite being off duty at the time, he rushed to the scene and made a heartfelt plea to the dog's guardians, who, thankfully, agreed to relinquish her into his custody on the spot. The dog, later named Suzy, was whisked to a nearby animal shelter for immediate assessment and care. Shortly after the rescue, the wonderful humane officer posted pictures of Suzy and an account of the incident on his Facebook page. His post stated, "Strange thing just happened; I just got a call from PETA requesting I check on a dog …. Don't know how they got my # but I'm off to go check, after all I gave my word that I would."
Every winter, we're inundated with calls about dogs who are relegated to lonely back yards by people who refuse to allow them inside and make them a part of their family. These dogs are often forced to withstand freezing temperatures, often with nothing more than a plastic barrel or a lean-to as shelter from the ice, sleet, and snow. Not only are these dogs cold and miserable, they are susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite, and even death. Although winter is especially harsh, chaining a dog is never a safe or acceptable option. Dogs are social pack animals who want and deserve companionship. If you ever spot a dog in need, please do everything you can to help, including alerting local officials to your concerns. Your voice can make a difference!
Written by Logan Scherer
… from a miserable life under a pile of heavy cinder blocks and plywood?
This makeshift pen was "home" for a sweet 5-month-old mutt named Dollar, who was discovered by a PETA fieldworker in North Carolina.
Our relentless efforts to educate people about the terrible mental and physical suffering endured by backyard dogs—as well as the dangers posed by cruel humans and occasionally other animals—almost always make an impact. Occasionally, the owners agree to bring the dogs inside. Other times, they shrug and hand us the leash.
In this case, our fieldworker was canvassing a North Carolina neighborhood and signing up needy dogs for PETA's spay-and-neuter and doghouse programs when she spotted Dollar's head poking out of his ramshackle "fence." It was a dangerous barricade that possibly could have collapsed and crushed him. Dollar's guardian refused to bring Dollar inside or to let us take him.
Dollar's owner did agree, however, to let us neuter him and to clear the cinder blocks from around his doghouse.
There is no doubt that Dollar's life is better than it was. He's no longer forced to eat and sleep in that feces-littered cinder-block prison that was about to cave in on him. He's also scheduled to receive a in the coming days. But there's also no doubt that Dollar's life, like that of so many other backyard dogs, could still be so much better.
Backyard dogs spend every moment of their lives yearning for a family who loves them and keeps them indoors where it's warm and dry—and you can help them by taking action. If your neighbors keep backyard dogs, talk to them and educate them about the animals' social, physical, and mental needs. Investigate chaining laws and shelter requirements in your area, and work with legislators to strengthen the laws. Our information about anti-chaining ordinances can help.
Fall is here, and winter is right around the corner. Make a decision to be a person who refuses to give backyard dogs the cold shoulder.
This past June, a Maryland man, David Beers, who sought revenge against a couple who had asked him to leave their property, admitted that after leaving the couple's yard in a huff, he later returned and snatched their 18-month-old dog, Zoey. Beers drove off with Zoey and then hurled the four-pound dog out of the passenger side window of his car and over the side of a bridge. Her tiny body was never found.
When we first heard about the story, we wrote to the prosecutor and pushed for vigorous prosecution of Beers. We also asked that Beers be required to undergo a psychological evaluation and receive counseling and also be prohibited from having animals.
Now Beers is headed to court and faces a felony aggravated cruelty-to-animals charge, which could mean three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Zoey's death is a reminder of the dangers that await dogs who are tethered outside or are allowed to roam unsupervised. Please, don't ever take chances with your pooch's well-being—and always take a moment to educate others who might not know any better.
Written by Karin Bennett
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.
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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.