Written by PETA
In college, I volunteered at a small animal shelter in Ohio. I never thought much about the shelter's policies. Only later did I realize how much suffering its limited-admission policy caused. All "no kill" animal shelters—big or small—are limited-admission facilities.
The dogs no one wanted sat for years (yes, years) in solitary concrete and metal cages. The only bright spot in their day was when a volunteer would walk them for 15 minutes and give them a bit of time to wander in a dirt pen outdoors. Otherwise, they spent their days and nights confined to cages. On weekends, when everyone else was in the park or at the movies … on holidays, when everyone else was with their families and opening presents … 365 days a year, they sat in a cage. Occasionally, a puppy would be brought in and quickly adopted, but many of the older, bigger dogs sat hopelessly month after month.
I befriended a dog named Tigger, who probably weighed 80 pounds, was very cute, and had a wonderful personality. He was one of the sweetest dogs. (I suspect that he wasn't adopted because of his size, because he was a mutt, and because he didn't look like a dog you'd see in a magazine. I would have adopted him without hesitation, but animals weren't allowed in my dorm.) It broke my heart to leave him after our walks because I could see how lonely he was and how our walks were all that he looked forward to each day.
Looking back, I think of all the Tiggers languishing in limited-admission shelters and all the animals who are turned away from those shelters only to suffer on the streets or in abusive households. I wonder why people think those fates are preferable to giving animals a chance to be adopted at an open-admission shelter and, if no home can be found, a peaceful, dignified, painless exit in a loving person's arms. I sympathize with the folks who run limited-admission shelters—as I saw, many of them really do care about animals. But they often have such a fanatical fear of euthanasia that they will let an animal's spirit die for lack of joy or love or a home, just to keep them breathing for breathing's sake. The limited-admission model has proved over and over again that it isn't the answer—it's just sweeping the problem under the rug.
I have so much gratitude for people who work in open-admission shelters and have the thankless task of having to euthanize the animals they have fed, walked, cared for, and loved while constantly dealing with the question "Why aren't you 'no kill'?" We all need to speak out in support of shelters that accept every animal in need and support aggressive spay-and-neuter and "adopt—don't buy" campaigns. And next time you are chatting with staffers or volunteers at an open-admission shelter, thank them for their courage and compassion.
Written by Chris Holbein, associate director of special projects
Before coming to PETA, I worked at a small animal shelter in
rural South Carolina, where I saw firsthand why it's crucial for shelters to
accept every animal in need instead of turning animals away, as most so-called "no-kill" shelters
One day, a man showed up with a carrier containing a mother
cat and five kittens. They were bony, greasy, and crawling with fleas. "This
is the best cat in the world," the man said. "This is her 18th
litter of kittens!" I had to practically bite off my tongue to avoid
bluntly informing him of how badly he'd contributed to the animal overpopulation and homelessness
Instead, I politely accepted the cats and told him we'd sterilize his animals
for free if he got any more.
Another time, a woman walked up carrying an old flour bag and
a fruit bag, both of which were knotted shut. The bags contained terrified, unsocialized cats.
"These cats are taking over—you gotta take 'em," she said. On another
occasion, we were called out to pick up nine newborn puppies who were still
nursing off their dead mother's body under the house where their owners lived.
And I will never forget the day that a large, rough-looking
man raced up in an old truck with an elderly dog in the back. I met him outside
with a give-up form, waiting to hear his excuse. Instead, I got a rare glimpse
of kindness: The dog wasn't his. He'd found her looking ill by some train tracks,
carried her to his truck, and sped to the shelter for help.
An examination revealed that she was suffering badly, possibly
from congestive heart failure, and I explained that the best I could give her
was a peaceful passing.
The man agreed and insisted on staying while I wrapped the dog in a towel, carried
her gently to an exam table, kissed her head, and gave her a lethal injection
to end her suffering. If not for him, this poor angel would have surely died
slowly and in agony.
Whenever I hear "no-kill" propaganda,
I think of all the animals we helped at that open-admission shelter. Turning them
away would have meant their suffering and certain, painful deaths, and caging them indefinitely
is never a humane option. Some are too broken, too old, or just plain unwanted
and will not be adopted. Euthanasia was and remains a mercy for many animals,
although it breaks the hearts of those who choose to provide this kindness. What
gives me hope is that spaying
can drastically reduce the number of animals who end up homeless. Please, if
you haven't already, have your animals sterilized as soon as possible—and urge
everyone you know to do so as well.
Written by Teresa
Chagrin, PETA's animal care & control specialist
Whoa! Joey Lawrence rescued a dog from a
local animal shelter while filming in
Australia. He called his new family member "the most amazing little thing ever."
Another shelter dog—a pit bull who was rescued from a trash chute—has inspired Newark Mayor Cory Booker
to build a new state-of-the-art animal shelter. And to further fight cruelty to
animals, the mayor's also a vegetarian.
The Rev. Al Sharpton has made the heavenly
decision to cut meat almost completely out of his diet too. And Lady Gaga
will have to cut meat out of her wardrobe
when she performs for Bill
at the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow. The former pres told David Letterman, "In deference to
my diet, she'll be meatless that night."
Speaking of cruelty-free garb, The Veronicas
sent flowers to Australian designer Rachel Gilbert to thank her for
And just check out what these
compassionate celebs had to say to their Twitter followers:
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Get ready to practice your high-fives
and Bronx cheers—here's
our quasi-monthly round-up of animal friends and foes:
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.