Written by Alisa Mullins
Accompanied by his own former "shelter dog", Sky,
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law last week naming animals adopted from
shelters Colorado's official "state pet." Colorado is the first state to distinguish—and promote the adoption of—animals
from shelters in this way.
The law was spearheaded by students at Peakview School in Walsenburg and
Rooney Ranch Elementary school in Lakewood as part of a school project to learn about
the legislative process. Kids attended a Senate committee hearing to testify in
favor of the bill. One legislator's rescued dog, Angus, also took part.
At the hearing, 14-year-old Peakview student Roger Arellano
reminded legislators that raising awareness about the need to adopt animals
from shelters is "a matter of life and death."
In recognition of
their achievement, PETA Kids has honored students at both schools with
Compassionate Kids awards, and we've also sent thank-you notes and vegan
chocolates to the bill's sponsors as well as the governor.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
pomp and pageantry of the Westminster
dog show is over. Many of the
dogs have been shipped back to their breeders after living in their
handlers' crates for years. Now, the females will be forced to bear litter
after litter of puppies, only to have them all taken away to be sold. Every
year following Westminster, there is a rush to buy dogs of the winning breed and other "designer
dogs" who appeared on the
screen. And breeders and pet
stores are happy to oblige,
taking as many orders as they can get and raking in money hand over fist.
an industry in which dogs are viewed as commodities, their health and
well-being matter less than the bottom line. To minimize expenses, breeders and
puppy mills commonly warehouse breeder
dogs in tiny, filthy cages; deny them veterinary care; and repeatedly get them pregnant,
until the dogs can no longer produce puppies—at which point, they are often
auctioned off, discarded at shelters, or killed.
this month, in yet another horror story, authorities raided a breeder and dog-show judge's home
and found 38 dogs
living in small crates that were caked with feces and fur. The cages were piled
on top of one another in the dark basement, and a radio blared to drown out the
sound of barking. Many of the dogs were malnourished and suffering from eye
diseases and severe periodontal disease. They were so sick that 13 of them had
to be euthanized immediately.
People who buy dogs
from breeders or pet stores keep these puppy pimps in business. They also kill a shelter dog's chance at a
home. Please, urge anyone you
know who is considering buying a dog to adopt instead.
Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) recently announced that its
shelters had a "no-kill December," a month during which the
department reportedly "did not euthanize any treatable or healthy animals
in its care." While this certainly sounds
wonderful and is what every animal shelter strives to achieve, one blogger explains
what the numbers really
translate into and how the welfare of animals is disregarded when statistics
become more of a focus than the animals themselves.
Longtime friend to animals,
Phyllis Daugherty, examined what "no-kill December" really meant for
animals who found refuge at LAAS last month and asked, "Are we really to
believe that with no other changes but a change of mind, suddenly all the least
desirable animals were swept from the shelter into 'forever' homes, or even
just to somewhere that they can be assured a humane life?"
While LAAS announced a 90 percent "live-save" rate
for December, this does not mean a 90 percent adoption rate. The term "live-save" means only that the
animals left the shelter, not that they went to qualified, screened homes. As
Daugherty explains, "Often the pet is merely taken to another shelter by 'transport,'
and possibly transported many times to different shelters in different areas in
the country if [he or she] is not adopted. Once the animal has left the L.A.
shelter, [his or her] impound (ID) number may be changed many times, so we
really don't know what ultimately happens to [him or her]."
Just days after Daugherty's article was posted, humane and sheriff's
officials in Oregon raided a self-purported "rescue" where more than
140 dogs were found starving, stuffed into tiny stacked travel carriers amid
their own waste and without access to water, after being "saved" from
euthanasia at an open-admission animal shelter in California. Many were found
with their eyes sealed shut with mucus and pus, and urine and excrement were dripping
onto them from the cages above. One dog was found in a carrier so small that "he
was unable to lie down, sit or stand up." The
Oregonian reported, "Some of the
dogs were in such an advanced state of starvation that technicians will have to
use a 'refeeding program' to reintroduce small amounts of easily digestible food."
Regarding LAAS, Daugherty rightfully asks, "Is this a
sustainable or desirable solution?" When the focus shifts from protecting
animals to playing a numbers game, animals pay the price, bounced around like
rubber balls and often ending up in situations so cruel and harsh that being
"saved" becomes a fate far worse than a painless exit from a world
that has already betrayed them once.
And unlike rubber balls, animals become confused and distressed
when bounced around, often developing severe separation anxiety and other
behavioral symptoms as they are moved from place to place. PETA has
investigated and exposed many hoarder "rescue" facilities—places such as Caboodle Ranch, Angel's
Gate, All Creatures Great and
Small, and other hellholes—where animals end up languishing in criminally cruel
conditions after they have been "saved" from open-admission shelters that
are desperately trying to fend off criticism from an ill-informed public misled
by the "no-kill" movement.
LAAS reports on its Facebook page that during the December effort, compassionate "volunteers
complained that [LAAS was] keeping too many animals. And it did get crowded."
We have to ask why the humane community is so quick to tolerate the suffering
and danger inflicted on animals who are the victims of the "no-kill"
As PETA has stressed for decades—and put its money
where its mouth is by spaying and neutering nearly 90,000 animals at low or no
cost in the past 10 years—the only way that we
can truly hope to become a "no-kill" nation is to work at the roots,
not at the "feel good" treetops. We must first become a no-birth nation through
aggressive spay/neuter initiatives—only then we can truly save lives.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Fun fact: October is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month. And PETA—always an advocate
for adoption—knows just how you can celebrate: Adopt a dog from a shelter already!
a dog from a pet store or breeder means one fewer home for a dog in a shelter—adding to the millions of dogs and cats who must be euthanized each year for lack of good homes. So PETA
never misses a chance to tell everyone within earshot how adopting dogs from
shelters lowers euthanasia
rates while also saving animals from fighting to survive on the streets. That's a
win-win situation, right there. Plus, shelter dogs are just so darn lovable, so
But don't take our word for it—we've called in the experts
to make the case. Since every month
should honor shelter dogs, here are 14 indisputable reasons why you should always adopt, never buy:
9. & 10.
Emma and Charlee
13. & 14.
Turk and Moe Moe
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
What do a tweet, a toy, and a Toyota have in common? They can all be used to help animals! Hey, times are tough, and while lots of people may be in the giving spirit at this time of year, their wallets may not be feeling quite so generous. With that in mind, we've thought of some great ways that anyone can give to animals simply by donating time—or an old car!
Happy holidays from PETA!
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
Bieber and Selena Gomez may
have made beliebers out of nearly 200 homeless dogs and cats. When the stars visited the animals at a
Winnipeg animal shelter,
Gomez found somebody to love (besides the Biebs), a husky mix she named Baylor.
Of course, since Justin advocates for adoption and Selena has five other
rescued dogs, the couple chose a baby, baby, baby from a shelter instead of a pet store.
Will Justin be adopting a new friend for himself
and his dog, Sam?
Never say never (except to buying from
by Michelle Sherrow
the terminally ill Oregon man who approached his cancer with a wry sense of acceptance, has died. He left the world with grace, humor, and purpose.
When PETA learned last year that Aaron wanted to sell advertisements on his urns in order to
reduce the financial burden on his wife, Kristin, we offered to buy two ads, and
Aaron, who had a wonderful sense of humor in addition to being a kind and
practical man, accepted our offer. One of the ads we suggested reads, "I've
Kicked the Bucket—Have You? Boycott KFC." We explained to Aaron that KFC's
suppliers cram the birds slated to end up in all those buckets into huge sheds,
where they live amid their own waste and are bred and drugged to grow such
unnaturally large upper bodies that their legs often become crippled under the weight.
We informed him that many birds suffer broken bones when slammed into shackles
at the slaughterhouse before their throats are cut. Yet the company refuses to
adopt the common-sense improvements recommended by its own animal welfare
Aaron was also an advocate of adopting homeless, mixed-breed
dogs and cats from shelters. He wrote on his blog, Judas Forgiven, about the
importance of donating to shelters and the joy that his beautiful dog, Belle,
brought into his life. Since PETA shared Aaron's concern that every puppy or
kitten born means one home fewer for dogs and cats desperately waiting in a
shelter or roaming the streets, PETA's other urn ad reads, "People Who Buy
Purebred Dogs Really Burn Me Up. Always Adopt."
We ask everyone who knew Aaron or was influenced by this
kind man to honor him by "choosing joy," as he put it, and by doing everything that we
can to allow animals—who are capable of experiencing such unfettered happiness—to
choose joy too.
For those of us
who are proud to share our homes with rescued mixed-breed dogs, referring to
them as "mutts" seems a bit, well, undignified (although we adore the
strip by the same
name). When asked the inevitable question "What kind of dog is that?"
the obvious answer is "a shelter dog," but some of us have come up
with other creative responses like "sock
retriever," "love hound," "bed burrower," "spayed
sweetie" or "melting pot mixture." Now we'd like to make it
official and come up with a one-word name that celebrates all one-of-a-kind
dogs' diversity and uniqueness.
So, please, get with your friends and
family and toss some thoughts around as you think of all the shelter dogs you've
ever met. The name we pick will be made into a bumper sticker reading, "I ♥
my ______," and will be available at PETA's CaféPress store.
person who comes up with the winning name will receive a free sticker and an
awesome doggy gift basket, which includes two bags of vegetarian dog food generously donated from V-dog, a beautiful set of doggy dishes and a complementary treat jar from Daisy
Dog Studio, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk's book Let's Have a Dog Party,
and other toys and treats to keep mutts and their humans happy.
To enter the contest, simply post a
comment below telling us what name you think makes a great alternative to "mutt," and the commenter with the most creative name will be chosen as the winner.*
We'll announce the winner soon and give you a chance to advertise the joys of
rescuing (never buying) a proud pedigree-free canine family member.
deadline for this contest has been extended from the original date when the
contest was launched on August 31, 2011. The new deadline is as follows. Comment submissions
for the contest end November 1, 2011; a poll will post on November 29, 2011 on the blog, asking people to vote for their favorite submission. The poll will close December 12th, and the winner will be notified by December 15; and we'll
announce the winner and showcase the new bumper sticker by December 30, 2011. Be sure
and terms and conditions,
as you're agreeing to both by commenting. No purchase necessary. Prize subject to change. Void where
prohibited by law. Think hard, because if we don’t receive
any entries we believe are creative enough
to use on a PETA bumper sticker, we’ll come up with
one ourselves and declare the PETA bunny the winner.
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.