Written by PETA
It was 20 degrees in Michigan, and this small dog was tethered outdoors without any shelter to protect her from the plummeting temperatures. She was shivering, lonely, and suffering from a severe skin infection that was causing her fur—her only defense against the bitter cold—to fall out.
A compassionate passerby alerted PETA's Emergency Response Team that the dog appeared to be in danger. It was late, but we promptly notified a solid dedicated humane officer who with whom we'd worked with in the past. Despite being off duty at the time, he rushed to the scene and made a heartfelt plea to the dog's guardians, who, thankfully, agreed to relinquish her into his custody on the spot. The dog, later named Suzy, was whisked to a nearby animal shelter for immediate assessment and care. Shortly after the rescue, the wonderful humane officer posted pictures of Suzy and an account of the incident on his Facebook page. His post stated, "Strange thing just happened; I just got a call from PETA requesting I check on a dog …. Don't know how they got my # but I'm off to go check, after all I gave my word that I would."
Every winter, we're inundated with calls about dogs who are relegated to lonely back yards by people who refuse to allow them inside and make them a part of their family. These dogs are often forced to withstand freezing temperatures, often with nothing more than a plastic barrel or a lean-to as shelter from the ice, sleet, and snow. Not only are these dogs cold and miserable, they are susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite, and even death. Although winter is especially harsh, chaining a dog is never a safe or acceptable option. Dogs are social pack animals who want and deserve companionship. If you ever spot a dog in need, please do everything you can to help, including alerting local officials to your concerns. Your voice can make a difference!
Written by Logan Scherer
For months, we had received calls from tourists, residents, and whistleblowers about six horses in Chicago who were under the "care" of carriage-ride operator JC Cutters. These horses were reportedly forced to endure Chicago's freezing winter weather in a tent without adequate food or water. In February, we let you know that Chicago officials had investigated the horses' living conditions and their quickly diminishing weight and had impounded the horses.
After receiving endless complaints about these cruel operators, working with tireless Chicago activists, and making repeated calls and sending numerous letters to city officials, we're glad to report that two former employees (a manager and horse owner) of JC Cutters were found guilty Wednesday on six misdemeanor counts related to animal neglect and one misdemeanor count for failing to meet the minimum standards for feeding and sheltering the animals in their care.
The story of these six horses has a happy ending, but unfortunately, there are still countless others in the carriage industry who are living in decrepit conditions in cities across the U.S. How about taking a cue from our friend Jon Stewart? While you might not have an Emmy-winning talk show, you can speak up for the tired and weary horses who are forced to pull carriages day in and day out. Let city officials know that horse-drawn carriage operations should be shut down in Chicago, New York City, and in your own hometown. With the widespread availability of humane transportation around the world, horse-drawn carriages are clearly a thing of the past.
Written by Liz Graffeo
This is the story of 16 freezing, emaciated dogs on a property in a rural town in Kentucky. The dogs were so thin that their ribs were visible and you could count each vertebra in their spines. Two dogs were tied to empty barrels, another spent all day every day tethered to a dilapidated doghouse, and still more spent all winter shivering under a porch, desperate to escape the bitter cold and likely suffering from hypothermia.
The woman who owned the dogs would leave them for weeks at a time, not only deprived of a loving touch but also without food or water. Yet when complaints were filed with local authorities, the calls were ignored. Nearby residents tried to make sure that the dogs had food and water, but with winter in full force, the water would freeze and—because the dogs were desperate to maintain as much weight as they could to combat the cold—the food would disappear more quickly than the neighbors could supply it.
By the time we were notified, one of the females in this miserable situation had just given birth to a litter of puppies. She was so emaciated that nursing the newborns could have been fatal for her. Because the season's first snow had already fallen, the puppies had little chance of surviving.
We worked quickly to get the sheriff's department to investigate, but in the short time it took them to take action, two of the puppies had already frozen to death under the porch. The surviving animals were immediately seized and taken to the local animal shelter. The owner was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
You might be wondering why we're talking about this heartbreaking case at the beginning of summer. That's because we're entering another deadly season for neglected backyard dogs. Those who somehow survive winter's ice and freezing temperatures will soon face blazing heat and sweltering humidity—if they don't already. Instead of hypothermia, many will suffer heatstroke, flea and tick infestations, and heartworms. Their need for the basics—protection from the elements, food, fresh water, and attention—is year-round.
Chained dogs depend on us to look behind privacy fences and glance under abandoned cars in the junkyard. And please don't tune out their barking. It's their way of crying for help.
Never assume that someone else is already on the case. I can let you know from firsthand experience that not everyone is willing to take action. Several years ago, while living in Chicago, I discovered two dogs who were locked in an abandoned building. Longtime residents quickly gathered around me, voicing their pity for the dogs. Yet when I asked if any of them had called authorities about the dogs, they shrugged and turned away. If I hadn't called to report the case, the dogs may not have been rescued and would likely have starved to death.
All of this is meant as a reminder: Please do more than feel sad or sorry about neglected animals. Take action—you could very well be their only hope.
Written by Karin Bennett
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.