Written by PETA
Thanks to a sharp-eyed shopper and the quick work of PETA's Cruelty Investigations Department, baby turtles have been rescued from a store in NYC's Chinatown.
These little guys were small—so small that it's actually illegal to sell them—yet they were being hawked as "pets" to unwitting tourists who often don't have a clue about how to take care of such delicate animals.
And that's where the concern of one compassionate citizen really made a difference. She wasn't an expert on turtle care, but after visiting the store, this young woman knew that these turtles were being inhumanely treated. Not only were they tiny, they were being kept in little plastic containers with very little water and nothing else. They were also living outside the shop in direct sunlight for most of the day.
After hitting a brick wall with local officials, the young lady called PETA. Faster than you can say "salmonella souvenirs" (according to the FDA, there are more than 74,000 "pet" turtle–related cases of human salmonella poisoning every year), a PETA cruelty caseworker got the DOH to respond ASAP. That same day, the agency seized eight of the turtles and issued citations to the seedy store for violating New York State Department of Health codes that make it illegal to sell turtles smaller than 4 inches long.
Now living large at a turtle sanctuary, these eight tiny turtles have been given the opportunity to live out their lives in luxury. But there are still aquatic animals who need our help. Won't you tell Brookstone head honchos to get their heads out of their, er, shells and end the sale of Frog-O-Spheres today?
Written by Amy Elizabeth
This is one of those stories that starts off sad, but gets better—I promise!
Earlier this summer, a man in Louisville, Kentucky, threw a puppy off a bridge and into the Ohio River. Kelsey Westbrook, a college student who works part-time at a riverfront restaurant, saw the dog swimming in circles and immediately raced down to the water's edge and helped nearby firefighters guide the dog to safety.
Although Kelsey had originally planned to find a good home for the dog—whom she named Sunny for her loving disposition—the bond between them grew, and Kelsey soon realized that Sunny had become part of her family. So, Kelsey and her other dog—a 2-year-old rescue mix—asked Sunny to stay.
The warm-fuzzies don't stop there. Kelsey has decided to turn the attention she's receiving towards the issue of cruelty to animals. She's organizing a fundraiser at the restaurant next month, and the proceeds will go to local low-income spay-and-neuter clinics. Now that's compassionate. And because Kelsey keeps going that extra mile to help animals in need, we're happy to be sending her a Compassionate Action Award—along with some treats for Sunny, of course.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Despite complaints from thousands of concerned consumers, undercover photos of frogs living in decrepit conditions, reports of dying frogs, and a run-in with the law in New Jersey—Brookstone still refuses to stop selling its cruel Frog-O-Spheres.
As the death toll mounts, we're turning up the pressure:
Please urge Brookstone to immediately stop selling Frog-O-Spheres and implement a policy against the sale of any live animals at Brookstone stores.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Late last year, one of PETA's fieldworkers answered a request for a PETA dog house, and she spotted Buxton—then just 8 weeks old—hobbling down the road by himself. When she went to pick him up, he screamed in pain and wet himself. It turns out that his harness had become embedded and had caused deep gashes under his arms and across his chest—the wounds reeked of infection and were oozing pus.
Knocking on neighborhood doors didn't turn up anyone who knew the pup, so PETA's fieldworker, Misty, rushed him to an emergency veterinary hospital where the harness was cut away and his wounds were treated. The vet estimated that the harness had been cutting into Buxton's body for at least two weeks.
Following a lead, our field staff eventually did find Buxton's "owners"—a mother and son—and they told us to keep him. We filed charges against them, of course, and in April, Catina Beasley and Calvin Holland were found guilty of cruelty to animals. They have both been permanently barred from owning animals, and Holland was ordered to pay a $100 fine and nearly $400 in restitution for Buxton's medical care.
As for Buxton? Here he is with his new family:
Of course, not all dogs are as lucky. Our case workers are deluged with calls. Animals are poisoned, beaten, starved, and neglected—some have even have their mouths duct-taped shut for "barking too much." Cats and dogs are put into microwaves, dismembered, sexually assaulted, hanged, set on fire, bludgeoned, buried alive, and otherwise tortured and killed. Please do something to help, and be an advocate for them all. Being heartbroken doesn't cut it. If you suspect that an animal is being neglected or you witness cruelty to animals, don't hesitate: Report it to your local law-enforcement agency immediately and follow up until it's resolved.
PETA Files readers were outraged by yesterday's story about an Akron, Ohio, Petland employee who allegedly drowned two rabbits in the store's back room. Our readers are not alone, and thanks to the overwhelming public outcry, the store where Elizabeth Carlisle was photographed holding two sopping-wet, dead rabbits by the scruff of the neck has been permanently closed.
In other good news, Elizabeth Carlisle has been charged with cruelty to animals and is scheduled to appear in court later this month. We have written to the authorities and are urging them to throw the book at her—hard.
While it's great that this particular hellhole has been shut down, Petland still has a lot of cleaning up to do. PETA receives many complaints alleging abuse and neglect of animals in Petland's stores. Here are just a few examples:
One person claiming to be a former Petland employee writes, "[I] used to work at a Petland … and [I] can totally relate to this picture … The stores … have puppies dying all the time, due to not having water and food. [T]he kennel techs are untrained and underpaid and they get back at the company by not taking care of the animals! … [A]ll Petlands should be shut down or the animals should all be taken away. [A]ll they care about is money, money, money!"
Another writes, "I used to work for Petland … I ended up being let go, because I refused to … [p]ut dying hamsters, parakeets, … kittens, [and] small puppies in plastic bags and put them in the freezer, and let [animals] breed rampantly. I also got in trouble for … wasting company money by cleaning animal cages that were out of customer sight …"
And yet another writes, "I opened the freezer once and there were frozen snakes in there. I asked what they were … They said they weren't paying the vet to treat [the animals], so they put them to sleep in there. Rats and mice, hamsters and gerbils, and other small critters were always committing cannibalism, because of lack of food, and not having enough space."
Petland is unable to monitor all its employees all the time, which means that other animals are bound to suffer as a result. We would like Petland to stop selling animals in all its stores, but if the company isn't willing to make that leap immediately, what it can do right now is stop selling rabbits in order to ensure that these small, vulnerable animals are spared death at the hands of people like Carlisle.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Update: The Petland store has closed, and the employee has been charged with cruelty to animals. Click here for details.
Warning: disturbing image.
This photo was taken in the back room of a Petland store in Akron, Ohio, and posted on Facebook by Elizabeth Carlisle, who can be seen grinning as she holds two dead, soaking-wet rabbits by the scruff of the neck—rabbits she just drowned while on Petland's time clock. On Carlisle's Facebook page, she confirmed a friend's guess that she had drowned these two rabbits and wrote, "[T]he manager took the pic for me. [S]he reminded me that there were people outside as [I] was swearing at them to just hurry up and die but then she was so kind as to take this picture."
These horrific deaths followed what was apparently an equally horrifying life for these rabbits. Other comments Carlisle posted made it clear that the rabbits were drowned after sustaining agonizing injuries when they were allowed to "attack and eat each other." The rabbits suffered from "deep wounds all over," "an eye missing," what Petland staff "suspected was a broken jaw," and paralysis from the waist down—injuries that would not have occurred had these animals been provided with proper care and supervision.
Undercover investigations have revealed time and time again that companies that breed and sell animals are concerned about profits, not animals' well-being. We are urging Petland to think long and hard about what this incident makes clear: The company has no business selling any animals.
To prevent future incidents like this one, please, never buy from pet stores and urge Petland at the very least to stop selling rabbits.
Click here to take action against Petland.
Written by Liz Graffeo
For two days, the exhausted dairy cow had lain in the pasture, dying. Her eyes were missing, probably eaten by birds. A commuter passing by saw her and had been trying desperately to get help, with no luck. Eventually, this kind person, frantic to find help for the tormented animal, contacted PETA's after hours emergency hotline, and we were able to work with law enforcement officials, urging them to take immediate action.
Our caseworkers stayed on the phone late into the night as deputies knocked on every door in the area, waking up residents in hopes of finding out who owned the property and the cow. After hours of searching, the man was finally located, and the deputies were mercifully able to put an end to the cow's suffering.
Unfortunately, this story is not unusual in the meat and dairy industry, where living beings are looked at as property and products. In fact, cows too sick to walk or stand are so common on factory farms and in slaughterhouses that there's a word for them: downers.
It's easy to look at cows in a field and think that they live idyllic lives, but they're commonly subjected to abuses that could warrant felony cruelty-to-animals charges if they were dogs or cats. Fortunately, though, it's so easy to opt out of contributing to their misery.
And I know that we just talked about this, but it bears repeating: If you see an animal who is suffering, report it to the authorities—and don't give up until they do something about it!
Written by Jeff Mackey
Yes, you read that right. The manager of a Wal-Mart store in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, (along with an exterminator) was charged with cruelty to animals for setting traps for birds who fly into the store and allegedly failing to checking the traps for days on end, causing birds to die of dehydration. The apparently kick-ass Atlantic City SPCA filed the charges after three dead birds were found—along with 10 live ones—in a cage trap that apparently hadn't been checked for nearly a week. In a move that would be funny if it weren't so tragically stupid, the traps were equipped with water bottles—which wild birds don't know how to use.
As the Atlantic City SPCA pointed out, there are plenty of nonlethal ways to deal with birds who fly into big-box stores, including installing high-power fans over doors, installing "air doors"—which are energy-efficient and bird-friendly—and setting live traps and actually checking them from time to time. One of our local Home Depot stores here in Norfolk, Virginia, (at PETA's suggestion) plays a recording of frightened bird calls in the garden center as a warning to birds to stay away—and, for the most part, they do.
From time to time, PETA also gets reports of big-box stores that use glue traps to trap birds who wander in (in addition to selling the traps, as Lowe's does). If you ever see birds flying around inside a store, ask to speak to the manager and find out what methods the store uses to remove and deter birds. If you suspect cruelty, alert your local humane society or animal control, or call PETA.
As you can imagine, PETA hears about lots of cases of cruelty to animals. For folks who love animals as much as we do, that's never fun, but we can't make things better if we bury our heads in the sand. Still, it takes a lot to really strike a nerve with us, but one recent case stands out.
Carrie Cagata, James Cullen, and Shannon Kraham of Fort Myers, Florida, have been charged with multiple counts of cruelty to animals and animal abandonment. Lee County deputies reportedly found more than 80 dogs, cats, and other animals who had been entrusted to the trio malnourished or dead. While that's awful, it's not entirely unusual (unfortunately), but this is: Cagata is the owner of My Best Friend Inc., a supposed animal rescue organization. Detectives are alleging that she adopted abandoned animals from animal shelters and then tried to sell them for a profit—if the animals didn't sell, the detectives claim, they were apparently shipped off to "the farm," where they were left to starve.
While starving and abandoning animals is horrible enough, to do so while allegedly pretending to be rescuing them is over-the-top hideous—and an insult to the wonderful people who operate legitimate rescue groups. We fired off a letter to the head of the felony division of the Florida attorney's office, demanding that this case be prosecuted vigorously.
The letter also stated, "On behalf of our thousands of members and supporters in Florida, we respectfully ask that, if convicted and in addition to serving a period of incarceration, the three defendants (and any codefendants later named) be required to undergo psychological evaluations followed by mandatory counseling at their own expense." You can read the full letter here.
Update: You can read PETA’s letter to the Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) about this video here, and if you want to show your support for investigating and punishing those involved, you can do so here.
A lot of people have been writing in and commenting about a shocking video that has recently surfaced which shows a smiling marine throwing a live puppy off a cliff while his friend laughs. Witnessing this kind of sadism under any circumstances is incredibly disturbing, but there’s something particularly horrifying about seeing it perpetrated by members of the military, and our caseworkers are currently analyzing the video footage to determine its legitimacy, as well as pushing military authorities to follow through on their own thorough investigation of this reprehensible act.
From what I understand, the culprit is believed to be based in Hawaii, and we intend to ensure that he—and anyone else involved in this atrocity—is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if this video is determined to be authentic. I’ll keep you posted.
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.