Skip to Main Content

Cages Aren’t Fit for Kids or Dogs

Written by PETA | April 14, 2011

A Vancouver couple made international news when they did the unthinkable: locked their two autistic sons for months in a bedroom with bars on the window and door, turning it into a cage.  If you are disgusted by this (and who wouldn’t be?), consider this: If we force a dog to stay in a crate all day, we do essentially the same thing. To get people thinking about the cruelty of crating, PETA wants to erect this billboard in Vancouver:


Confining dogs to a crate for hours on end deprives them of the opportunity to engage in basic activities that are natural and enjoyable to them, such as stretching out, looking out a window, walking around, running, and playing. Dogs are highly social animals who desire companionship, praise, and exercise. Studies have shown that such confinement is detrimental to their physical and psychological well-being.

You wouldn’t put your child in a cage, so please don’t put your animal friend in one, either. If you have to be gone for an extended time, consider a dog walker, a pet sitter, a “doggie door” leading out into a secure fenced yard, or doggie daycare.  

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Annette says:

    I have spent my life as an animal trainer and can tell you that crates and training have nothing to do with each other and are an avenue to animal abuse . Because it is human nature to be lazy and sadly cruel . Crate manufactures certainly promote the use of crates dog trainers sadly buy in .My professional opinion as an animal behaviorist is that crates should only be used for transport and yes an animal should slowly be adapted to it but that’s all no one uses them for confinement in Europe no one used them before 30 years ago there are smarter ways to deal with companion animals .further more the use of crates for confinement will put you pet at risk of developing unwanted behaviors

  • Annette says:

    Here’s something that Steven r.  Lindsay a world renowned animal behaviorist and author has to say about crating:  “Many advocates of long-term crate confinement claim that dogs are phylogenetically preadapted to live in a crate. These conclusions are based on various fallacious assumptions derived from inappropriate comparisons with the use of dens by wild canids and feral dogs. In reality, a crate has far more in common with a trap (or grave) than it does with a den [emphasis mine]. Further, a den actually has far more in common with a home, the natural environment of a dog, providing access to communal indoor and outdoor living spaces via a two-way door. An obvious distinction between a den and a crate is physical entrapment, isolation, and inescapability. While the den provides the mother with the seclusion and security that she needs to deliver and care for her young, it does not restrict her freedom of movement, as the crate does. Instead of providing a safe environ for her young, the crate serves the express purpose of separating the dog from social attachment objects. Further, instead of promoting comfort and safety, the inescapable exclusion imposed by crate confinement appears to confer an increased vulnerability for disruptive emotional arousal and insecure place attachments. Most puppies and dogs show a high degree of aversive arousal when first exposed to crate confinement, which is consistent with the foregoing comparison. After learning that the crate is inescapable, however, dogs appear to treat the crate in a paradoxical manner analogous to persons affected by the Stockholm syndrome; that is, they appear to form strong attachments with the crate, which becomes the place they identify as home” [emphasis mine]. 

  • clem says:

    Gloria, just for the record my dog has a room that we have blocked off where we keep her crate that she still sleeps in. Through the months she was a pup she wasn’t in there for more than 2-3 hrs at a time and only while we were at work. Unfortunately I work and can’t stay home all day.

  • karen says:

    I have just adopted a dog that was kept pretty much permanantly in a crate for 5 years. He was not housetrained and wrecked the furniture.He had no discipline and ran riot. (The reasons he was kept in a crate, I guess!!)There was NO WAY I was going to keep him in a cage. It was heartbreaking to see him in one. I accepted he would have to start training from the start and knew there would be puddles and poos and chewed furniture for a while. There was!! Within a month he was totally housetrained.He’s a very quick learner and mostly very obedient.He goes for very long runs on the downs every night and he is a settled, happy dog. He has not seen the inside of a crate since he came here and will never see one again.As Ceser Millan say’s….Exercise, discipline and love.(Lack of exercise being the main reason for unhappy,destructive dogs.)

  • Kim a Dog Breeder says:

    How can compaire child/disabled abuse to people that want to keep their animals safe in their crates. I crate my dogs for safety and I also kennel them in dog runs. My dogs are crated and kenneled when house or yard workers come over and they workers ofen or not leave the gate or door open and my dogs are crated in the car,.. because it also will save them if you are in a accident!

  • furbabies rokk says:

    Although crating can be misused, it can also be a place of security if used properly. Many dogs will seek them out as a quiet place to go when things get hectic in their household. My furkids get sectioned off to the kitchen (which is bigger than many people’s entire homes!!) while I am gone…they have always known it to be a safe place with 4 oversized fleece blankets, toys and small treats while mommy is gone. If used properly, x-pens (giant oversized crates without tops) are a great alternative that helped my babies when they were puppies…you may have missed the mark a bit on this one Peta…but good idea to draw attention to the issue….

  • John says:

    I definitely agree that extensive crating is unfair to dogs, however in some cases it is necessary. I crate my dog because she has separation anxiety, and becomes destructive when left alone too long. Her crate makes her feel safe and secure.

  • lisa says:

    Is this a common practice then in America? Whats the point in having a dog if you are out at work allday and it spends its days in a crate, not much of a life for it. If you dont want your house distroyed dont have a dog the reason why they chew things is through boredem. In what way do you think your going to benefit the dog??? And keep him safe for what??? If there’s a fire he’s goin to burn to death in his cage because he cant escape and if someone breaks in he’s not going to be able to defend himself or your home, yes if the crate door is open thats great but to lock him in it are you serious?? i agree with one poster they are for lazy humans.

  • katy says:

    Give the dog a bed to lie on and a friend to keep them occupied or take them to doggie daycamp. You wouldn’t lock your child in a playpen all day. Does they dog chew stuff up? that means it needs attention, training and toys! And don’t get expensive furniture if you’re worried about it being chewed. I agree that dogs are pack animals and naturally want a safe den like place to go. Then let it have a bed in your room or in the corner of the kitchen and have a doggie door so they can get fresh air. Lock up chemicals and put baby locks on doors. Treat training your dog like you have a small child… because you do! its the same mentality. Why do you think its common for the “dog test”? Getting a dog before having children is much the same kind of responsibility

  • Gloria says:

    Clem, there are far better ways to house train a dog without confining it in a prison. I share my home with 11 Chihuahuas, and not a single one of them have ever seen the inside of a cage. I used love and encouragement, and a big dose of playtime as a reward for using their litter box. This same method worked just as well when I shared my home with larger breeds (I had a German Shepherd, a Lab, and a Pitt Bull). dogs are very social animals. They need and thrive on companionship. Confining them in cages is cruel. I’ve been caring for dogs since I was 12 years old, and I have just passed my 60th birthday. I speak from many years of experience.

  • Rachel says:

    Crates can be good or bad. My dogs veiw their cages as a safe haven. They lay in them while I’m home cause the have blankets in there, it’s more comfortable then the floor. My one dog goes in there at feeding time even though she hasn’t been fed in there in over a year.

  • Heather says:

    I crate my 3 dogs while I am work. It is not done to be mean. What if there is a fire? What if they eat something they shouldn’t. My boxer has and will eat my couch and carpet and anything else she can chew on. But it is mean if I crate her. I guess it is a lot nicer to let my vet operate of her to remove the things she eats. Dogs hide during a fire too. Can you be sure your will not hide from the fire Dept? I am a paramedic and I have seen lots of dead dogs removed from home because the FD couldn’t find them. I disagree with this article. I put my son in a crib as a baby was that mean too?

  • Karin says:

    To anyone using crates on dogs suggesting that this is actual beneficial as it gives the dog security: Why not give the dog a nice snug secure place like an OPEN wooden box or the place beneath your bed? Any place that the rest of the pack recognizes as the dogs will be accepted by him as his refuge. So there is no need for crates!

  • Clem says:

    I support most of your views and am a vegitarian but crating ( as long as it is not for a lengthy period) is actually beneficial to your dog’s well-being. It was instrumental in house training my dog and we did have a dog walker who came in daily while we were at work. My dog now views her crate as a safe place and sleeps in there every day as we leave the door open for her. Wild dogs sleep in dens and sleeping in an enclosed space relieves anxiety and provides a sense of security for the dog. I know this as I am a professional animal behaviourist. When a dog is left at home by itself it is totally unnatural as they are pack animals and crating prevents them from suffering from seperation anxiety. As long as the crate is not used for punishment it is a great tool for training and building a healthy happy dog. So get educated on the topic before starting a campaign.

  • Jessicaa says:

    I don’t put my dog in a crate but i block off the kitchen when we go out and leave him in there. Is that wrong? 🙁

  • George says:

    Right on, PETA. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a locked crate, so I would never lock a dog in one, either. Crates are a convenience for lazy humans, and cruel to dogs.

  • Laure Venara says:

    Make it stop

  • Tom Lyon says:

    Hi Michelle, You could go a little easier on crates. Our dogs have always loved them. It’s their own special place, and also allows us to keep them safe when we do have to be away. We work out of the home and are rarely away, but our dog still loves her crate. It’s not emotionally taxing for her, even if we are gone for several hours. I agree that crates have to be used properly and in a way that doesn’t cause stress for the dog, but I don’t think a billboard denouncing them is a good idea. Thanks.

  • Ramune says:

    I hope this action would help.


    why be wicked??????????//

  • Rachel says:

    I know someone who puts two dogs– a pit bull and lab– in crates everyday. It’s very sad. 🙁

  • Cris says:

    Finally!!! – been waiting for some common sense for a while now. Animals do NOT beling in cages, at any time. Who came up with this idea anyway?

  • Tierney says:

    I agree with this 100%, but I have a legitimate question as well. I have a mastiff-lab mix who does not fit in the cab of my pickup truck, so the best solution for transporting her seemed to be a kennel secured to the bed. Is this okay? Does anyone have any other suggestions?

  • Cheryl says:

    I don’t think crate training a dog is unethical sometimes you have to, to keep them safe when you go out. Also to stop them from destroying a $1500 couch

  • Cindy L. Austin,Tx says:

    I strongly support this billboard’s message. Thank you for all of your hard work friends of PETA.