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Why Must We Euthanize, Part II

Written by PETA | May 14, 2009

PLEASE NOTE: There’s a picture below that is very disturbing, but for people who are concerned about animal suffering and homelessness, it’s important to face the tragic reality of the overpopulation crisis and its consequences. Animals can’t afford to have people look away.


Big Girl


Her name was Big Girl, but there was almost nothing left of her. She was so still, so slight, and so cold to the touch that field workers thought that she was already dead. But the tiny 6-month-old pit bull was still alive. Barely.

Big Girl never knew the love and care that we wish every dog experienced; by the time we arrived, she had endured prolonged, incomprehensible agony. When we found her collapsed on the ground, she weighed less than the chain she was tied to. She had clearly been starved—she was a pile of bones and had raw, mostly hairless skin with absolutely no body fat. A veterinarian later told us that Big Girl’s stomach contained nothing but dirt, leaves, a piece of corn cob with two kernels on it, and a piece of dry, caked fecal matter. Big Girl had been left to suffer for so long that she had begun to decompose. Four different generations of maggots were eating away at her body. When we gently peeled her off the ground, she moaned. She could not see us or hear us, but we hope she knew that we were there to help her.

We sent Big Girl off to heaven with kind words and a gentle lethal injection. We wished we could have ended her misery much, much sooner. Those who condemn open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA for having to euthanize sick, injured, dying, and unwanted animals must look closely at the source of the overpopulation crisis—people who breed animals, those who neglect and abuse them, and consumers who choose to buy animals from breeders and pet shops instead of adopting from their local animal shelter.

No one hates the ugly reality of euthanasia more than the shelter workers who hold the syringe. Sometimes, especially when animals have known no kindness and are suffering, the best that we can offer an animal like Big Girl, Asia, and others is a painless and dignified release from a world that showed them no love or compassion.

P.S. The man responsible for Big Girl’s horrific condition (as well as that of another dog, who suffered from a vaginal prolapse) was charged and convicted for the condition of both dogs, and he was prohibited from owning animals.

Written by Jeff Mackey

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  • Jonathan Dean says:

    I watched a very disturbing video on people killing animals. Cruelty to animals and such. I have nightmares from the last scene in the video of an animal whos skin was ripped off. Just typing this bring tears to my eyes. I am sorry but I can’t type anymore.

  • Pat says:

    How long did Little Girl’s abuser get? It said he was charged and convicted but courts usually treat animal abusers gently like it was the same as overtime parking or parking in a nopark zone. People who abuse animals move up to abusing or killing people. And who is going to watch him to make sure that he does not get another pet to abuse again? Disgusting….

  • David says:

    Poor baby I hope she knewI’m sure she didthat someone cared before she was released into her next life. How could anyone do something this horrific to a poor helpless creature that all she wanted was for someone to love her in return for all the love and devotion she gave?! The personand I use the term looselydesrves a long slow lingering death. At least you were there so she did not have to go alone. Thank you for easing this poor girl into the next life hoping she will have an easier time. No creature desrves to have happen to them what happened to Big Girl. Rest in Peace sweet girl and know that justice will prevail in your honor.

  • Debbie says:

    I volunteer 2530 hours a week for a nokill shelter. I also support all the good work PETA does. We all the animal welfare organizations really want the same result. There are enough people on the other side of the animal welfare fence to fight we don’t need to be doing that within ourselves.

  • lena says:

    it is amazing the amount of people out ther that inflict this tragic ending on their so called pets! I worked at a humane society and we see this every day. the photo is not as shocking as the person that steps over this poor animal to go about their daily life. How people can be so cruel is beyond me. Big girl is finally running free in the world she belongs in. Bless you everyone that is involved with Peta

  • George Sidoti says:

    This act of cruelty offers testimony to the need for human oversight of all animals. That oversight should include the law as well as humane organizations designed to prevent abuse and neglect of all animals. That law must be enforced and strengthened to include longer jail terms and greater civil penalties.

  • Erika Comellas says:

    It is unbearable to watch. For me the pain is too much to speak of BUT it is a necessity to publish these monstrosities to media’s mainstream. How else can people see how cruelty still lives and thrives in the heart of some evil individuals. It must be seen. It has to be understood that cruelty of any kind affects mankind as a whole. And innocence should never be abused let alone trampled. God bless this angel.

  • Donna R says:

    I feel people guilty of such horrific crimes as this should also have their picture made public so they are made to feel the true shamefulness of their absolutely horrific deed! Post their picture for all to see so they may realize they can’t hide. This is truly disgusting!

  • Sarah Dee says:

    What they found in Big Girl’s stomach is awful she was so desperate…

  • David Friant says:

    It’s time for chemical castration for wild sreet dogs and cats. Shut down all puppy millsno excueses!!! Plus impose harsher penalties for dog fighting!!

  • antonella Bonansea says:

    I understand and I support euthanasia in this case but i dont agree in killing animals in shelters because they are not adopted that is MEAN! i think the government should donate more money or maybe have more shelters those animals dont deserve to die because no one came for them i love animals and i compare with people we dont kill people that is not adopted so I think there something we can do and PETA to help shelters

  • Karen Knight says:

    It makes me sick that we have to share the world with these disgusting sadistic people. Why is it mainly guys who do these things? I hope the guy who did this gets his just desserts and goes to Hell. I really hate people who are cruel to poor defenceless animals.

  • BW says:

    It’s sad this is why I foster animnals. I still have a hard time believing people can be so cruel but I see it everyday. And then I listen to people around me and realize some would rather put an animal out in the street rather than be inconvenienced. A life is not something you just discard we would not give up our lives easily and I don’t believe these animals would either if given the chance.

  • meganvegan says:

    while this is truly heartbreaking i believe KaRMa will happen.. that this is a photo that can indeed get it into peoples head that this sort of sick neglect abuse does go on… yet again PeTa have pushed people away by twisting the truth. by implying that those for NO KiLL are saying that they wouldnt put a dying creature down.. as per usual its this sort of exaggeration media hype that makes people potential followersbelievers turn away and think we are all a bunch of cookoos… do us all the aNiMaLS a favour Peta stop your media hype.. its having an opposite affect on the industry!!

  • Sarah Gyle says:

    This is why I know I would never be able to be an animal cop. I would slaughter the person I found who has even touched a hair on an innocent animal’s body. The thing that gets me the most is how can anyone hurt something that loves you no matter what? The most awful thing is that throughout all the pain these dogs suffered they probably still loved that dirtbag. I think it’s great that he’s not allowed to own anymore animals. I only wish the law wasn’t that lenient and just gave him the electric chair.

  • P K Seshan says:

    Euthanasia is euphemism for killing. The rationale is presented to be mercy towards suffering animals. Euthanasia pertains to methods of killing and not to measurement of suffering. How can you measure suffering? Current technology does not provide an instrument for direct measurement of suffering. Indirect measurements are possible such as of brain waves which are erratic of spinal jerk signals even down to one per day and presence of antibiotic and immunogenic activity in any part of the body. Direct measurements require soul links with the victim to sense suffering. Most painless termination of life functions in a body is by gradual depletion of blood until the body is emptied of blood over a period of at least three hours. Gradual deprivation of oxygen is more painful but better than euthanizing injections.

  • Simone Gardoni says:

    How could this dog be in this condition when PETA finally found her? Why wasn’t she found earlier than this? I believe we all have a responsibility to look out for and rescue any animal being abused neglected before they get to this stage. RIP Big Girl.

  • Dr. Charles Faulkner says:

    As a professionally qualified Veterinarian and strict Vegan I can honestly say that in 11 years that is without a shadow of doubt the worst case of intentional animal abuse I have ever seen. We never saw photos that shocking or disturbing even in College. May she rest with the respect she should have had during her short little life.

  • Kelsey says:

    Quality of life is much more important than quantity. If people have a problem with euthanizing animals who aren’t able to be rehomed than they need to open a shelter and provide a loving home and one on one attention for every animal who isn’t adopted. If you can’t do it if you can’t take on the 100 “healthy” cats that are euthanized a day in a given shelter than you should stop sharing your opinion about it. And sheltering an animal is NOT a quality life…being in a clean cage and getting fed and provided fresh water every day is ONLY enough to allow an animal to be sustained physically not enough for HAPPY life!

  • Chris Adams says:

    Not allowed to own animals? That’s this scumbags punishment. People like this should have the shit kicked out of them and I’d be first in line. Incredible!!! As much as I believe in a Libertarian philosophy I also believe we need to lobby more agressivley for tougher laws. This is incredibly sad.

  • Linda Halinski says:

    I believe animal abuse of any kinde should be a FELONY with Jaol time in prison. I have no tolerance for people who abuse animals in any way. Linda Halinski

  • NIKKI says:

    I have NEVER seen anything as cruel and evil as this! I believe that the person responsible for this should be starved and tied up on a chain left to wither and die horribly like this poor defenseless dog had to! This is why EVERYONE should support PETA!!!

  • Suzanne says:

    Is it just me or are dog shows weird ? I think of animals as my best friends my children my family members. I can’t imagine prancing them around in front of a crowd and showing off their physical traits. The point being that I worry it encourages breeders to produce too many animals in order to get the perfect specimen. This doesn’t feel like humane and responsible behavior….however I admit I don’t have the stats on how many animals the breeders produce. Does anybody ???

  • Jud in LA says:

    I agree with Courtnie!! I really don’t understand how being prohibited from owning an animal again in the future is any kind of punishment for this crime. That’s like saying if I ran over someone with my car and was punished by not being able to own a car again in the future. What about the life that was taken?? What do we have to do to make the laws stronger against these cruel evil disgusting antipeople?? I refuse to accept that they are human beings. They are much less than human. I wish we really could do an eyeforaneye. Or in this case a meal of sht with maggot toppings for these subhuman monsters. GOD THIS PISSES ME OFF. THEY BETTER THANK GOD I DIDN’T FIND THEM WITH THOSE DOGS. I WOULD HAVE GONE “TEMPORARILY INSANE” ON THEM. THE LAWS WE HAVE ARE WAY TOO SOFT.

  • The Nagual says:

    The person who mentioned Hitler failed to mention that he was a renowned animal lover. Just didn’t like people. My kinda guy. Incidentally the human overpopulation problem is a far worse epidemic. In fact humans are destroying this very planet for profit. So when do we get to start euthanizing them?!?

  • Laura delaNux says:

    I hope this owner is being prosecuted for what heshe did to Big Girl. No excuse for this. Harsher penalties for people who do this to pets any pet. Thank God Big Girl is in a better place now….my heart breaks for how she suffered.

  • Debbie says:

    Poor thing. This is the stuff that made an atheist out of me.

  • Pepsi One is Fun says:

    Sandra I don’t think anti euthanize people talk about cases where the animal obviously is better off dead. I think its more along the lines of simply eutahnizing an animal in a shelter because it can’t find a home.

  • Sarah says:

    Coincidentally a member of my family has just had to have her beloved cat Harry put to sleep today. I was feeling low about it and reading this has reminded me that sometimes it is the kinder option. If there is any justice in this world clearly not in the justice system otherwise this evil scum bag would be in prison he will rot for eternity for what he has done.

  • roxanne says:

    I hate MIchael Vick and I hate all these animal abusers who lie about Peta. it is the BREEDERS and the dog FIGHTERS who are causing all these cruelty and then leaves the issue for PETA and others to resolve. They have NO shame and have the NERVE to criticize us. Don’t believe the lies. Peta is doing good work for the animals and that ti why they are under attack. If Peta is ineffective then they wouldn’t be criticize. The more criticism of Peta the More I SUPPORT PETA.

  • pam says:

    Many no kill animal shelters will send what they call “lost causes” to the local humane society to be euthanized just so they the no kill shelter can continue to call themselves such. This only contributes to the problems humane societies face as they will not turn any animal away. I used to volunteer at the local humane society. The number of animals showing up there because they were “lost causes” and turned away from the no kill shelters was staggering. While education is important to reduce the number of animals that are euthanized every year the problem will continue until everyone including animal care givers get with the program. The most important issue is to prevent these animals from being born in the first place. The second to is change the laws regarding animal cruelty. The current laws are a joke. A life is a life and no living thing deserve to suffer like Big Girl did.

  • Vegan says:

    Heartbreaking beyond comprehension. I pray there is a special place in hell for the garbage who commit these crimes.

  • oceanworior says:

    i can see where dogs like that should be put out of their suffering and i wonder what sick monster would do something like this but no kill means dont kill them unless their is no alternative but it is not fair to euthanize when they are perfectly healthy and can be rehabilitated and adopted

  • cb says:

    How the heck does “NO KILL” all of the sudden get blamed for criminals who abuse dogs and breeders? How ridiculous. I spend 20 hrs. a week at a shelter that is no kill and they do not turn away dogs to die on the street. They adopt out hundreds of dogs. I have been there 6 months and have only seen about 6 dogs put down due to serious issues. And trust me a breeder is not a friend to a shelter as breeders just perpetuate the overpopulation of dogs. We would much rather have people come see us instead of a breederanimal store. You are simply ridiculous to label a WHOLE SYSTEMGROUP as evil because some bad apples. Guess what that is the same in every single group race society. there is always a knucklehead that will pick out a scumbag and then label the whole group race of organization he belongs to. Infantile! There is a place for euthanasia when a medical necessity or a dangerous dog that cannot be rehabilitated…and it has nothing to do with a certain breed but an individual dog and his history. Euthanasia is is not a black and white issue. If a no kill shelter cares for its animals and uses euthanasia as last choice they are being responsible and helping animals like any other shelter. By the way I support PETA AND work at a no kill. So stop making stupid generalizations.

  • Jaquie says:

    God how could anyone do this to a poor animal i am ashamed that this EVIL THING is part of the human race. Where is this guy now? If he is capable of this cruelty he will continue to do so One day he will get what he deserves when you live by the sword you die by the sword.

  • Pepsi One is Fun says:

    Um yeah when the dog is nothing but a chunky burnt raisin of course euthanasia is better.

  • jane says:

    I think the owner should be killed wo any pain killers because he is insensitive and damn person.

  • Sandra says:

    AntiEuthanasia people are stupid. If the animal is nearly dead and obviously suffering why would you keep on torturing it when you can just put an end to its pain?

  • simara says:

    these cases specifically that you are sharing are tragic but what about the thousands of HEALTHY animals who’s only tragedy is being homeless? City pounds aka death camps murder thousands of healthy non humans yearly and sell their bodies to rendering plants for gelatin dog and cat food and beauty products. I encourage you to be responsible and not support the murder of healthy non humans who need a home not death.

  • Ariel says:

    While I understand the point PETA is trying to make here I think this piece manages to twist the definition of “no kill” into something somewhat sinister “no kill” doesn’t mean that an animal who is severely injured or terminally ill is never euthanized. “No kill” supporters generally believe that we need to work towards a society that does not euthanize healthy animals just because they are “unwanted.” For example a “no kill” advocate would promote TNR rather than bringing a bunch of feral cats into the town shelter to be killed because no one can adopt them. Euthanasia is a merciful way to end suffering but don’t make “no kill” supporters out to be people who would rather sit there and watch an animal in pain rather than choose euthanasia. While I realize PETA is trying to explain its position it has failed in its attempt by grossly mischaracterizing the “no kill” belief.

  • Courtnie says:

    This breaks my heart and makes me sick to my stomach at the same time to see that there is a piece of $t on this earth that would do this to a poor animal!! Maybe someone should let him only get to eat a leaf and his own feces and maggots can eat his flesh. I really hope he gets what is coming to him. What goes around comes around RIP Big Girl

  • Beryllium says:

    Peta has to start supporting nokill shelters that work and not allow itself to get involved in euthanasia except in extreme cases. Euthanasia of healthy pets is not acceptable for an animal rights organization and a copout.

  • Ellie B. says:

    Okay but people need to remember that there is a difference between putting a suffering animal like Big Girl to rest and killing a healthy and wouldbe happy animal just because there isn’t enough government funding for shelters. I just can’t reconcile the euthanasia of animals ONLY because they cannot be adopted. If they have been mistreated understatement alert! on a scale such as the poor dog above yes they deserve to be put out of their misery? But what about all the healthy and vigorous dogs that shelters pick up? I have known many thriving and spunky dogs from shelters who have been put to death only because the owners thought that no one would adopt them. THAT is wrong. The best solution to that is to encourage more adoptions from shelters but honestly I would just rather the happy and healthy animals stay alive if there is no sign of their suffering! Again not saying that shelters are ideal but come on.

  • EB says:

    I volunteer at a shelter and our shelter dog while nowhere near as hard to look at as Big Girl has severe acid burns on her face. I always hope that it really makes people think when they come in and she’s so friendly that they can’t possibly avoid her. People need to know what happens and not just look away.

  • Aneliese says:

    Well written and I’m glad there was a warning put up in this blog about the photo. Euthanasia is at times a merciful way to end suffering. On this subject I don’t believe in such a thing as humanity. I’m only 16 but I never have believed in humanity and I doubt I ever will. I believe in treating animals equally as humans. I wish people believed in that too.

  • chris says:

    The man who did this to these beautiful animals deserves to DIE a slow painful death. How can ANYONE be so damn selfish where they allow these dogs to suffer so much? PETA please start a department where you guys get these scumbags ARRESTED!

  • Jamie says:

    Poor baby…May she rest in peace. Hopefully Karma will payback the owner 100 times over. At leat she was in loving hands and felt love when she passed.

  • patrick says:

    Euthanasia in this case is certainly justifiable but when I heard that PETA supported putting Michael Vick’s dogs down there is not much you could say to make me agree with that.

  • kelly says:

    The antieuthanasia people are the No kill which is a big scam because they TURN ANIMALS AWAY to die on the streets They also let animals die stuffed and warehoused in cages even killing each other in cages because they run out of room The No Kill killers are joined up with the breeders and their lobbyists like who attacks Peta on behalf of its animal abuse corporations and groups like breeders who make money from animals and for obvious reasons don’t like Peta!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I have said this before but now I repeat it the reason we know that Adolf Hitler killed 11 million people including Jews Gypsies Jehovah’s Witnesses political prisoners gays and P.O.W.s is when the camps were liberated movies and still pictures were taken and sent around the world. This was ordered to be done immediately before Germany could clean up the mess and hide the evidence. Pictures like this are not pleasant but they need to be shown to prove to a largely unbelieving public that atrocities like this do go on. Get those pictures out to the public and never apologize PETA!!