Written by PETA
It's a boy girl kitty! Nicole Richie's household recently grew by one when a stray cat showed up on the celebutante's doorstep. "[S]he was so skinny and I could tell she was starving. I couldn't resist," wrote Richie on her blog. After a nice square meal, the kitty, now called Tabitha, was "as happy as Benji Madden in a sorority house."
Congratulations, Nicole, on helping a homeless kitty girl find a place to call home and being rewarded with a furry bundle of purring perfection. Tabitha's cute—but is she the cutest cat in the whole wide world? Readers, you make the call.
Written by Alisa Mullins
OK, we confess. Our area of expertise is registration papers for dogs. And dogs shouldn't need documentation to have a place in our homes and communities. That's the point we're making by displaying our new billboards in the Copper State in the wake of the controversial anti-immigration measure there—though it could apply anywhere else in the good ol' USA.
You know the kind of papers we mean: The ones that the AKC gives out to prove that a dog has "pure bloodlines." Every year, breeders produce more and more purebreds even as millions of wonderful, healthy, loving animals must be euthanized in animal shelters because there aren't enough homes for but the tiniest fraction of them. We hope that you will join us in decrying registration papers for dogs!
Written by Jeff Mackey
Come November, Missourians will have a chance to shed the dubious distinction of being known as the nation's puppy-mill capital thanks to Proposition B, a ballot initiative that will allow voters to decide whether or not to ban breeding operations with more than 50 dogs and to require large-scale breeding operations to provide dogs with adequate food, water, shelter, space, exercise, and veterinary care.
Puppy mill operators are up in arms because Proposition B would make "puppy mill cruelty" a misdemeanor crime. As it turns out, puppy mill owners don't like it when their "businesses" are called "puppy mills." They claim that the term is prejudicial, and they are suing to have it removed from materials describing the initiative.
A blogger for St. Louis' Riverfront Times newspaper playfully suggested that "dog-breeding factories" might have a better ring to it. What do you think?
It's been barely a week since the fabulous Pamela Anderson rolled up her sleeves and opened her wallet to help PETA rescue nearly 50 dogs from overflowing Gulf-area animal shelters, and she's already back in action—this time, she's helping PETA rescue a special group of cats.
Pamela is helping pay for veterinary care for nearly 30 "special needs" cats, many of whom are suffering from illnesses and injuries (one has a misshapen face, another is half a leg short of four) or from chronic stress from being left at an animal shelter some years ago. The gang of 30 is en route from New Orleans–area shelters to PETA's headquarters. uShip, an online shipping company, has generously donated its services to transport the cats, and our staff is taking care of the animals along the way. Two desperate dogs—Sandy, a lab mix with a flea allergy, and Cassie, a pug mix—came along as stowaways and will be transferred to our friends at the Washington Animal Rescue League's well-run shelter in Washington, D.C.
Countless cats have been abandoned in the wake of the Gulf oil gusher. Older and "special needs" cats have an especially hard time finding homes because animal shelters are flooded with kittens who were born because people didn't have their cats spayed or neutered. There are many advantages to adopting a mature feline—including knowing what the cat's personality is like and bypassing the rambunctious kitten stage. Virginia residents with exemplary veterinary references and quiet households who are interested in giving one (or two!) of these hard-luck cats a second chance can visit PETA.org to fill out an adoption application.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
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.
You say you care about lonely, neglected dogs who are chained up in all weather extremes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? How far would you go to prove it? Seminole County resident and PETA member Bryan Wilson (right) and a friend went so far as to chain themselves up for eight hours in the blazing Florida heat to call attention to the plight of dogs who spend all day, every day fighting off flies, fleas, and hopelessness.
"Dogs are very social animals," Wilson told a reporter. "By [depriving] them of their human packs, they are essentially reduced from family members to lawn ornaments."
Wilson, who helped draft a proposed law restricting chaining in his county, isn't the only one going to bat for chained dogs. Deborah Linz and Paulette Dean, who are featured in the current issue of PETA's quarterly magazine, Animal Times, were each successful in passing ordinances restricting chaining in Kanawha County, West Virginia, and Danville, Virginia, respectively. More than six states and 120 communities across the country have banned or restricted chaining.
Want to be a hero to dogs by working to pass an anti-chaining ordinance in your community? You'll die happy! To get started, visit HelpingAnimals.com for information on lobbying for anti-chaining laws.
If you're a regular PETA Files reader, you probably already know about the physical and psychological problems that plague specially bred (meaning inbred) dogs. Labrador retrievers commonly suffer from hip dysplasia, cataracts, and retinal degeneration. German shepherds are prone not only to hip dysplasia but also to spinal paralysis, epilepsy, and blood disorders. Bulldogs often develop heart problems and hip disease. (Purebred cats are prone to health problems, too, as I discovered after adopting an adult Siamese cat from a local rescue group and finding out that he has asthma—a condition that affects Siamese kitties more than any other type of cat.)
But a new study shows that breeding is messing with more than dogs' bodies: It's actually changing their brains. The study's researchers found that the brains of many dogs with short snouts, such as mastiffs and pugs, have rotated forward by as much as 15 degrees and that the olfactory bulbs of these animals have drifted downward—possibly affecting their ability to smell! Researchers aren't sure if these changes could also affect behavior, but they may.
This is just one more reason why breeding animals should be nixed—and dogs should be mixed!
Written by Paula Moore
On Monday, we blogged about the risks posed to animals who are stowed away like luggage in the cargo holds of planes. On Tuesday, those warnings became a heartbreaking reality for seven puppies who died after being shipped from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Chicago in the hold of a commercial airline.
Shipping animals as if they were duffel bags or cosmetics cases is wrong for many reasons, one being that the cargo holds of airplanes are often not temperature-controlled. During the summer months, the temperature in this area of a plane can be deadly. Investigators are considering heatstroke as one possible cause of death for the puppies. It's believed that temperatures in Tulsa were already 86 degrees before 7 a.m., and the puppies were loaded into the cargo hold and left there as the flight was delayed on the tarmac for more than an hour. If this is the case, the puppies may have been baked alive in temperatures well above 100 degrees. A dog can succumb to heatstroke in just 15 minutes, and it's not a pleasant way to go.
We have set up a memorial page for the animals over on our True Friends Memorials site. Please take a minute to leave some kind words and consider donating to help other animals in need. And the next time you travel with your animal companions, only fly if they can fly in the cabin with you—or make it a road trip, and let Fido ride shotgun.
Written by Shawna Flavell
On an average day, PETA's Cruelty Investigations Department (CID) receives dozens of phone calls from caring individuals reporting cases of animal abuse. When an animal is in trouble, our caseworkers fly into action. Able to leap great obstacles for a single hound, they help fight injustice, collar bad guys, and rescue animals in distress. Seriously. In an average week, CID caseworkers process more than 300 reports of cruelty. Here are just a few of the many animals they recently helped:
These cases are a reminder of why it's vital to report cruelty to animals immediately. PETA's CID needs your help to prevent other animals from meeting a similar fate. Keep your eyes open for animals in need, be a nosy neighbor, trust your instincts, and always alert police or animal control officials right away if you know or suspect that animals are being abused or neglected.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
Some of the gruesome scenes in the upcoming horror movie The Last Exorcism might make you lose your lunch, but at least you can take comfort in knowing that Ashley Bell's onscreen vomit is … vegan! Ashley, who plays the demonically possessed Nell Sweetzer, told Nylon magazine that the film's director called her up to ask if she was vegetarian—because he needed to know if he should make her barf out of Gatorade or chicken broth. Ashley doesn't eat meat, so Gatorade it was.
We're not surprised that the film's crew was so thoughtful. After all, PETA pal Eli Roth is one of the producers!
Ashley and her veggie vomit will be hitting theaters August 27.
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
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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.