Written by Michelle Kretzer
We've learned, haven't we, when you are
told "You're a winner!" that there's some fine print and a catch. The
same is true with the magic words that imply that dogs and cats are winners,
too: "no kill"! Here, too, there is fine print, and it can be much
more damaging than finding that you are being billed for a subscription you
didn't want. The fact is that many limited-admission shelters, now often given
the great-sounding, dressed-up title "no-kill shelter," actually hurt animals every single day. Not necessarily the ones they take in,
who may or may not be well cared for, but rather, the ones they don't. The
animals someone else has to decide what to do with or who just end up abandoned
or worse when the "no-kill" shelter is full, as it inevitably
These glorious-sounding shelters generally
turn away many more
animals than they accept, picking, choosing, and admitting only the youngest,
healthiest, prettiest, and most adoptable, if any, because on most days, they
will tell all comers, "We're full." The rest are sent away to suffer
on the streets or to be left in the hands of people who don't want them. Some "no-kills" do accept
animals when they shouldn't, by which I mean when their facilities are already
crammed beyond capacity, subjecting all of the shelter's tenants to crowded, unsanitary
conditions, illness, and often a painful death from parvovirus or from fighting.
And if the animals they do take in are not adopted, many so-called "no-kill"
shelters warehouse them in cages for years, unwanted and unloved, even after
they are driven "cage crazy" from the stress of confinement. I've seen them
sit with their back to visitors, withdrawn into a world of depression and lost
"No-kill" advocates are quick
to throw stones at open-admission
offer refuge to every animal who comes through their doors and euthanize animals when they are
not adoptable, when they run out of appropriate living space for them,
or when the animals brought in are injured, aggressive or gravely ill. So in
return, PETA is quick to expose the cracks in the rosy picture that "no-kills"
try to paint. Here are just a few of the recent additions to our long, ever-expanding
list of "no-kill"
failures that cause animals to suffer:
September 13, 2012/Corpus
Christi, Texas: Area animal
shelters report that they are filled to capacity and that homeless, roaming animals in the
area are at “epidemic” levels. The
shelter director at no-kill "Pee Wee's Pet Adoption World and Sanctuary"
stated, "I get 75 calls a day, and people get angry because I can't take
75 animals a day .… If you multiply 75 times 365 days a year, I would have to
take in 27,000 plus animals a year." The Gulf Coast Humane Society
director reports that his shelter "turn[s] people away right and
2012/Northeast Mississippi: Area open-admission animal shelters
are suffering from the effects of some private shelters' picking and choosing in
order to limit admissions in a ploy to call themselves "no-kill"
for fundraising appeals. A local news outlet reported that, while the [no-kill] policy keeps
current shelter residents alive, it limits the number of pets those facilities
can house and means new arrivals routinely are turned away. Some then are "dumped
alongside roads, abandoned at a neighbor's house or shot and killed," according to representatives of no-kill
shelters citing what jilted pet owners have told them. The writer spoke with a woman taking
three unwanted dogs to an open-admission shelter and whose husband had made his
family's options and intentions clear: "It was either that or shoot them."
July 17, 2012/Willis,
Texas: "Considered one
of the country's [premier] sanctuaries for pit bulls," was the no-kill Spindletop Dog Refuge was raided
by authorities who seized approximately 300 pit bulls found in tiny plastic
carriers with no water and unable to fully stand up. Some dogs were seen
drinking their own urine and a police news report revealed that "[o]ne dog's
feet were so scalded it was laying on its back in its own urine in feces,
presumably to take the pain off of its feet."
As long as outspoken "no-kill"
proponents continue to criticize open-admission shelters even
in the face of the animal
homelessness crisis, PETA will continue to save
animals by exposing "no-kills" for what they really are: "slow-kills."
my German shepherd-something-something-something mix, and I love our walks. I
let her choose which direction she wants to head in, and we ramble off in
search of new sights and smells.
matter which path strikes Hannah's fancy, we always seem to see other dogs out
for their evening strolls whose guardians act like it's a race to the end of
the block. When the dogs try to stop and sniff something, send some "pee-mail,"
or greet Hannah, their guardians sometimes yank them away and drag them down
the street. You can practically see the dog's nose twitching, trying
desperately to catch whatever interesting smells he or she can as their human rushes
along like a marathoner.
developed a little trick to use when Hannah starts to approach a dog or when
another dog wants to stop
and sniff near us: I say to her,
loud enough for the other guardian to hear, "OK, just say 'Hi' for a minute,"
and that's usually sufficient to spare the other dog a bad case of leash-lash. My
boss, who is equally irked by leash-lashers, takes a more direct approach. She
matter-of-factly says, "Can our dogs meet for a minute?" or "Why
don't we just let them sniff?"
When a friend of mine is out and sees anyone with a dog—although she doesn't
have one—she always stops and says, "Oh, what a beautiful, smart face!"
or "They love to be outdoors, don't they?" to get people to
appreciate their dogs and to remember how much walks matter to them. When
provoked, that friend can bite, too! Seeing someone dragging a dog along or
keeping a leash too tight, she will say to the guardian, "Boy, that dog
isn't allowed much fun on his walk, is he!"
approach works, I think we owe it to dogs to try to stop their guardians from yanking
them away from whatever they're interested in, denying them the social
interaction and ability to explore surroundings that they need and crave and
possibly even injuring them. When you consider that
a walk is the highlight of the day for most dogs, don't they deserve to enjoy
Written by Jeff Mackey
Anyone who has a hard time understanding why PETA hasn't hopped
onto the "no-kill" bandwagon should have a look at this long list of failures of limited-admission
(i.e., "no-kill") shelters and rescues. There have been so many raids, busts, and seizures that we can't even be sure that
we have kept up with them all.
Rescued From a 'Rescue'?
One of the latest tragedies comes from Muncie, Indiana,
where 63 dogs and puppies were seized from a single-story house operating as "Adopt a Lab Rescue and Adoption."
Living conditions were so foul that one official characterized it as being "like a dungeon in the
basement." Some of the dogs had reportedly been bought from a "broker." This
same facility had also been raided in 2010, when 30 dogs were removed because
of poor conditions, including keeping animals in crates without food or water
for up to 21 hours a day.
No one wants to euthanize animals, least of all people who dedicate
their lives to helping them. And we should all be deeply upset that in this day
and age, shelters must still resort to euthanasia—but breeding and buying
animals from pet shops is still legal (in most places)! The reality is that there
are more animals in need
of homes than there are people ready to adopt them. Even if we could build enough shelters to hold all of them, these animals need real
homes and families to love them. They can't be warehoused forever just to make
us feel better.
Euthanasia prevents suffering—it is, by definition, humane.
But turning away animals in need of shelter is anything but humane. Forcing animals to exist in cages, joyless, for months
or years or their entire lives, is inhumane, too, as is allowing animals to
suffer in squalor, loneliness, deprivation, and illness.
What You Can Do
There is an answer, and it lies in prevention! We can reduce
euthanasia and the need for it by taking the smart, effective approach: animal birth
control (ABC). Please start
an ABC campaign in your community, and never be silent when animals are at risk.
It seems as if every
other week there's another horror story about an animal who has died or gone
missing during airline travel. The most recent one involves Xiaohwa, a
frightened cat who bolted when an employee opened her crate at John F. Kennedy
International Airport—she is still lost inside the building.
It's just not a good
idea to entrust our beloved animals to a system that we barely trust with our
shampoo and underwear.
Although some airlines do allow a limited
number of small animals to ride inside the cabin, many still think that animals should be
treated like baggage. The cargo hold of a plane is a loud, terrifying—and often
deadly—place. Because it isn't climate-controlled,
it can quickly become sweltering or freezing, putting animals at risk of dying from heatstroke or exposure.
So as the holiday
season approaches, many animal guardians are opting to take the scenic route
and drive to their destinations. Here are our top tips for traveling with animals to help make the trip smooth sailing:
Some people find that it's easier on animals
if they're allowed to stay at home in the care of trusted family members,
friends, or sitters. When your animal companions are staying at home, you will
want to do the following:
Happy holidays to
you and all your family members!
Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident William Lewallen is facing charges of child neglect, after police reportedly found his 4-year-old toddler locked outside, naked and crying, and his 18-month-old daughter locked inside a crate and covered with feces.
Although the children apparently showed no immediate, obvious signs of physical injury, PETA is sending the Tulsa District Attorney's Office a book containing some surprising facts about just how deleterious, phsyically and psychologically, crating can be to living beings: Dog in a Box (there's also Dogs Hate Crates).
Both books are the result of extensive research revealing that crated dogs suffer from loneliness, confusion, and fear and present case studies showing that when dogs are deprived of the social interaction, companionship, and exercise that they (and humans) need, the result can be myriad health and behavioral problems, such as aggression, withdrawal, hyperactivity, depression, eating disorders, separation anxiety, and muscle atrophy.
It's easy to see how someone could have suffered psychological torment while locked inside a crate.
PETA hopes that, if the charges against William Lewallen are proven, he gets to find out exactly how it feels to be locked up for a long time.
to barren, muddy pens with no protection from the elements, no food, and no
water, the nearly 70 dogs owned by Cajun Country "Ranch and Animal Rescue" in Wilburton, Oklahoma,
were struggling to survive. Their skin was stretched tightly over their rib
cages, and fleas and ticks had ravaged their bodies. The horses on the property
fared no better, their bones clearly visible. The bones of dead dogs lay piled
up like leaves, and more bones were scattered throughout the property.
PETA received a tip-off, we alerted local officials, who told us that they
shared our concerns. One of our contacts in the area was an expert on hoarding situations, and after
he surveyed the property for us, he confirmed our fears about the "rescue."
next day, armed with a warrant, police raided the property and arrested the
owners, Anne Marie and Shane Duhon. According to news reports when police entered the
couple's home, they found three children living in squalor. Animal feces
covered the house, including the children's beds, and cockroaches crawled
across the littered floor. Reportedly, the children were covered with bites
from fleas, ticks, and other insects. While the Department of Human Services
took the children to a safe location, a multitude of volunteers, mobilized by
PETA supporters in the area, came in with horse trailers and kennels and moved
all the animals to awaiting reputable rescues and animal
of the animals were so far gone that they needed to be euthanized. At
trial, the Duhons pleaded
guilty to child neglect and
cruelty-to-animals charges. They were put on probation for five years, banned
from having any animals during that time, and told that if they violated the
terms of their probation, they could face prison time.
While animal hoarding
behavior stems from a desire to "save" animals, hoarders' mental
illness causes them to keep amassing animals, and well-meaning people encourage
hoarders by giving them animals and/or money. They end up with far more animals
than they are capable of caring for—with disastrous, deadly consequences for
their victims. If you suspect that a local "rescue" is actually a
hoarder, alert animal control or PETA immediately.
When PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) fieldworkers first met the sickly Lab mix they had received a call about, her condition broke their hearts. She was covered with fleas and ticks, was malnourished from too many days of going hungry, and was limping because of an injured back leg. Her owner had skipped town, pausing just long enough to tell his neighbor that he was leaving his dog behind and that the neighbor could "have her."
Instead, the neighbor phoned PETA for help. It wasn't CAP's first encounter with the dog's owner. He had let her have a litter of puppies and had called PETA asking us to find homes for them all. Fieldworkers had taken the puppies to the Virginia Beach SPCA for adoption, and now they were meeting the pups' mother. Despite all that she had been through, the sweet dog nuzzled her head under their hands and happily wagged her tail, grateful to be getting a bit of affection.
Back at PETA's Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters, a veterinarian determined that the dog was suffering from heartworm disease and that she had been shot in the leg months ago but was never treated for the injury. She would require heartworm treatment and extensive surgery on her leg. Fortunately, the dog with the dark past and the bright eyes had already captured a PETA Foundation staffer's heart. Robin had just lost one of her dogs, and something about this little girl's soulful eyes spoke to her. Within a few hours of the pup's arrival at PETA, she had a new home.
She also had a new name—Maggie—and four new canine siblings with whom she instantly bonded. Robin got her in to see her vet right away, and after hearing Maggie's story, he decided to help Robin out with the expensive treatments that Maggie would require. A bone graft, two rods, two screws, and a cast later, Maggie was on the mend.
With heartworm treatment and good food, she gained 20 pounds, and Robin reports that she can practically see herself in Maggie's shiny coat. Now she is a joyous, bouncy girl who loves to swim, go to the dog park, and "review" her guardians' DVDs (she gave Harry Potter two paws down—but it tasted delicious!). After likely getting no affection her entire life, Maggie soaks it up now, and she will gladly play from sunup to sundown.
Maggie's life, like her bowl, was once empty. Now her cup runneth over.
We owe it to our animal companions to learn a little "dogese" or "catish," so here are the meanings of some of the most common animal behaviors:
Now that you're fluent in your animals' language, read up on how to be a great guardian.
It shouldn't happen to any dog, let
alone those who are serving and protecting their communities as K9 officers. Numerous
police dogs lost their lives this summer not at the hands of criminals but at
the hands of the very officers who were supposed to protect them—and instead left them to suffer from heatstroke inside hot patrol cars. PETA is aiming to make those brave K9 victims the last ones, with urgent pleas
to police departments across the country asking them to install heat-alert systems in all K9 patrol cars.
Heat-alert systems monitor the
temperature inside the vehicle and can sound an alarm, page an officer, start
an engine, roll down a window and turn on a fan, or even open a door when the
car gets too hot. A simple device such as this would have saved the lives of Sasha, a police dog in Warwick,
Georgia; Harley from Des Moines,
Iowa; Vegas and Hades of San
Antonio, Texas; and the many other K9 officers who lost their lives just this past summer.
Many K9 officers now wear bulletproof
vests to protect them from gunshots, but heatstroke may be an even more
agonizing way to die. As the dogs' internal temperature rises, they often begin
to salivate heavily and lose control of their bladder and bowels, and shock may
set in. They become terrified and often struggle to escape the vehicle, clawing the car windows and seats so violently that their paws become bloodied.
No dog should ever be left alone in a car on a
warm day. But if a police officer decides to leave a K9 officer in the car to
protect the dog from a potentially deadly situation, he or she needs to make
sure that the car doesn't become one, too.
animal companions give us all the time, attention, and affection that we want,
and in return, they deserve the best care that we can provide. Here are the top
six ways to return the favor:
people, animals need high-quality, nutritious food, which is the basis for good
health. They also benefit from having moist food, which is more palatable and
helps prevent urinary tract infections. If you are concerned about supporting
factory farms when you buy pet food, check out PETA's factsheet on feeding dogs and cats vegetarian
or vegan food. And, of course, we
wouldn't want to drink out of a dirty glass, and our animals don't want to
drink out of a dirty bowl, either. So give them fresh water daily in a clean
It's Potty Time
Have you ever
walked into a public restroom stall only to turn around and walk right back
out? Cats prefer a clean bathroom,
too, so scoop at least twice a day. Similarly, a backyard filled with "land
mines" is no fun for people or
dogs, so be sure to scoop regularly. And dogs shouldn't be expected
to "hold it" all day (not only is this painful, it's also harmful to
their kidneys), so if someone can't go home at lunchtime to let the dog out,
hire a dog walker or, if you have a yard with a secure privacy fence, install a
Don't Keep the
An annual veterinary
visit for a check-up is a must, but if your animal shows any signs of not
feeling well, be sure to schedule an appointment right away. Fleas and ticks
torment dogs and cats, so they must be controlled (try using natural, nontoxic products), and heartworms and intestinal
worms can be easily prevented with once-monthly medications. Additionally, spaying and neutering not only eliminates the
risk of reproductive organ cancer but also prevents females from suffering
through heat cycles and reduces the risk that animals of both sexes will contract
contagious diseases. And why not take an animal CPR class to make sure that
you'll be ready in case of an animal health emergency?
Dogs need regular
brushing to keep their coats clean and to prevent matting. Avoid giving them too
many baths, though. Dogs need to retain the oil in their coat to keep it
healthy, and if your dog has a chronic "doggie odor," that usually
means that a change in diet is called for.
Tiny Chip = Safe
Tags are a great
way to I.D. your dog or cat, but they can fall off or be removed. However, a microchip is permanent, as
evidenced by the recent story of a woman who was reunited—thanks to a microchip—with the dog who had
been stolen from her seven years earlier.
Hannah and I have found our favorite activity: enjoying the sun and surf at the beach.
care is important, what our animals appreciate most is quality time—playing
fetch, taking a walk, chasing a piece of string, or having a cuddle session. You
and your dog could even enroll in a fun, rewards-based agility class. Our
animals depend on us for their exercise and enrichment. By trying out various activities
and toys, even simple items like balled-up paper or an empty paper towel roll,
we can discover what our animal companions really enjoy and have a lot of fun
in the process.
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.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.