Written by PETA
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
PETA held a press conference today in Richmond to announce our new video PSA about the practice of chaining dogs. Before I started doing this animal stuff professionally, it just wouldn't have occurred to me that so many dogs spend their entire lives chained to old tires or barrels in someone's backyard. You kind of have to see it for yourself to get an idea of exactly how much that sucks when it snows. Anyway, before I start getting all sappy and rhetorical about this, here's the video. The young lady who narrated it for us lost her 2-year-old cousin last year to a pair of chained dogs who had become aggressive.
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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.