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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

Commenting is closed.
  • Charlotte R. Wolfe says:

    Oh that poor baby. She fought with she had to fight with but so much damage was being done to her that she nothing left to fight with. Hopefully the person or persons who did this to her is suffering now or can feel at all. I feel so sorry for that breed of dog. More pain they endure just because of who they are. Thanks for ending her pain.

  • Tanya says:

    So very sad my heart is heavy. People need to take the good with the bad showing the picture is your job looking at the picture is our choice its everyones duty to put an end to cruelty. Thanks again PETA for doing your job as hard as it may be we need you.

  • claire says:

    That’s disgusting it made me burst into tear’s. I hope the guy that did that get’s everything come back on him time’s ten. Human being’s can sometimes be the lowest of the low on this planet. Thank god for Peta putting that animal out of it’s misery. That is the saddest thing I ever saw. God bless that poor dog.

  • Narisha says:

    There should be stiffer penalties for the people who hurt these animals. The same as for humans. We have to lobby for stiffer penalties and more jail time. After seeing that picture the death penalty looks about right for the perpetrator. I can see that there was no other way for Big Girl and thank PETA for making the humane decision. However it is ironic that she was the one who had to die by lethal injection and not the creature passing himself off as a human being.

  • brian says:


  • Barbara says:

    I can hardly believe that SOMEONE did not see this dog way before she got to this state. The owner?should be put on a chain as well and left to rot. I have said this before but I believe that PETA rights more wrongs than it ever does any.

  • Carol Maggler says:

    I can’t imagine there is a question in most people’s mind as to whether the animal in this photo should have been put down. Obviously it was an act of mercy. However euthanizing every healthy animal that crosses our path because of our cynicism towards humanity is wrong. We devote our lives to defending and protecting them. Why would we not put in some efforts to give them a chance at a good life? Although good homes take effort to find they are out there and it is our job to put it out to the universe to find them. I support PETA but I do not support putting down every healthy animal you obtain. Show the photos of the healthy animals too.

  • Jess D says:

    We all have to remember that when there is not enough funding for something it will be shut down or removed. I believe in euthanasia because I don’t even like animals being in shelters in the first place for long periods of time. And for all the people bad mouthing PETA for supporting euthanasia Do you even buy shelter dogs or donate to nonprofit animal shelters to help support your cause? I don’t think so. I am a member of PETA and do everything I can to support my cause so you should too. Don’t bad mouth PETA when you are doing nothing to help “healthy and wouldbe happy animals”. And how do you know the animals being put down are healthy or even happy? Remember all animals in shelters are not in perfect condition and you can’t give away a mean dog or a ferile cat. Remember that.

  • daniel says:

    Fck you who ever done this to big girl this make me sick. i am not prod to be human

  • Karen says:

    Puppy mills need to be eliminated completely. As long as this is allowed we will see this. This is uncomprehensible. You just wonder how anyone could allow this to happen to a poor animal. They are at our mercy and it is just so painful to know this is allowed to happen.

  • Sue-Ellen Kirby says:

    My heart was breaking as I read the story of Big Girl. If this was a perfect world she would not have had to go through the agony she suffered. I can’t begin to imagine her suffering she would have been so scared and alone. In a perfect world this would never have happened but it is not a perfect world and perhaps if she was euthanised when her owners no longer wanted her she would not have had to endue all that pain and suffering. I wish that no animal had to be euthanised unless it is to relieve their suffering but there are so many unwanted and neglected animals and homes can’t be found for all of them what is the alternative. I think it is far kinder to euthanise before they are suffering if a suitable home cannot be found for them.

  • Jenny says:

    Sadly this is nt an uncommon wvent in or worldif people ca treat humans the way they doshould it come as a surprise that they treat animals as such? There are times in life when the kindest thing to do is to put an end to suffering.In the case of this poor soulit came as a relief I have seen many cases of abuse but in all honesty this has to be the worse one yetimagine being alive and in such a state….it bogles the mind that this poor animal even continued to have the will or strength to reach this point. I applaud the people who see the reality for the need to put and end to suffering and know the difference between the useless euthanasia of animals and the cases that leave no question of the need to do so. May peace be yours in lives and to those you bring it to.

  • sheila says:

    We are supposed to be living in civilised societies i don’t think so. What happened to Big Girl makes me feel so sad for her. She never stood a chance.

  • Jessica says:

    People mentioned karma for the person responsable for the suffering of Big Girl and especially some revenge kind of situation. That would not help the world move closer to love! I hope that the person will be an animal lover in his next life or better yet learn to love in this one! and then be in the position to make those agonizing decisions himself or even be in a world where all animals are loved and taken care of. I do not justify his crime but spreading violence is never right.

  • sacha spaaks says:

    I cannot believe this poor dog was still alive it looks like it was dead for weeks allready. How could this dog stay alive for so long? How can it happen that people do this to animals? Why is it still allowed in the USA to keep dogs on chains in Holland where I live it is forbidden to keep dogs on a chain. We keep dogs in the house for company not on a chain outside in the cold or heat. The laws in USA should forbid the chain. The monster who did this to this poor dog should be kept in prison for years with the walls covered with photo’s of his poor dog which was hardly a dog anymore. May this monster die in prison he should be put on a chain too without any food or water until he dies. There is no punishment high enough for this monster. I would like to put him on a chain by myself and see him suffer as much as his poor dog did. How long had this dog been suffering longing for food for water for help and nobody came to help and free him. Did nobody see this dog suffering could nobody free this dog? Who found the dog in the end when it was too late and he was already almost dead? Why nobody called for help earlier? I wish this poor dog could have been saved and found in time. Now it was too late. May his owner burn in hell.

  • Susan Broussard says:

    It is so unfortunate that all of us who love respect animals are in such conflict. It seems to me what most people who condemn PETA feel is that PETA is killing every homeless animal. But until we can all find that perfect safe permanent home for each every little animal that goes into any shelter we can’t condemn them. Spaying neutering pregnant dogs cats is an absolute necessity in preventing more suffering it is killing the unborn so is it not the same? How many of us do that? Our time would be better spent encouraging law enforcement to uphold animal cruelty laws holding people responsible for the welfare of the animals in their care. Shut down all puppy mills TNR feral cats never buy from pet stores or breeders educate those in need. Keep the animals from ending up in the shelters in the first place. Prevention is always better than trying to find a cure.

  • Andrea Kuchy says:

    Oh how this story breaks my heart. I hope she suffers no more. PETA I support you and always have. What matters is that our beloved animals shuld not suffer at our hands quite different than helping them to end their suffering is killing. What we can offer when there is n one else to turn to when these beings have no hope to live as it should be is to be released with compassion and love. And to ignite another fire in the humans so that we may fight their fight one more day and speak for them because they can not.

  • Blandine says:

    My heart dropped when I saw this poor helpless dog. I wept because it was just so sad that this animal had suffered in such a slow and dispicable way. Peta showed an act of kindless and love to this animal god bless! I have nothing but sadness in my heart over this appalling story. I believe that what goes around comes around. Payback will not be so kind when his time comes. This monster has to made accountable. There should be no lienancy given for the severity of his actions. The unconscionable BEAST who is responsible for this extreme act of cruelty should suffer the same sentence he handed down to his dogs. What he did was shameful and malicious. Only one word comes to mind EVIL! They should lock him up and throw away the key!

  • Paul says:

    I think that when euthanizing an animal the owner should be euthanized as well by law.

  • Deana Hart says:

    I want the person responsilbe for the suffering of those dogs to suufer and die himself a person like that should not be on this earth they are not a human being to cause such sad torture to animals needs the ultimate punishment

  • ceciliannia says:

    And people call me selfish and say I should donate to charaties for humans and not just animals…they should take a look at this article and see exactly why I don’t donate to charaties that would benifit people. Most people ask me “why can’t you donate to st. Jude or cancer research instead?” I just simply say “why? So that when they get better they will eventually not appreciate it anymore and become the typical selfish person like so many people I deal with on a daily basis?” animals deserve just as much respect as people do and the monster that neglected this poor angel well if I could tie HIM up to a chain and feel the same pain and suffering this baby did I would. I think animals are just as aware and emotional as humans are. The punishmental slap on the wrists people get for heinous suffering they put on animals does no justice…

  • Jill says:

    Roxanne You expressed how I feel! I am with you…I am with PETA.

  • brian says:

    id like to have my way with this what happens to those who abuse the weak.

  • Kimberly Heseltine says:

    I cried when I saw the picture of Big Girl. I often question why God has allowed Humans to be capable of such atrocities. That poor baby was only 6 months old. Why did it take so long for someone to notice her? I pray that she is in a better place..In her case euthanasia was necessary to release her from this cruel world because there was no hope.

  • Sharif Dayan says:

    How could The Almighty The Merciful The Creator of Everything let such cruel persons alive ? Since I read Laika’s tragic death Nick Abadzis’ comic I pray before I go to bed and when I wake up ask The Merciful to take care well these animals who were not granted ability to ask for help…

  • juan castro says:

    is guilty

  • Som says:

    Something needs to be done We can’t let animals suffer it’s against humnaity it’s against what we are its against what we feel…..

  • brenda says:

    I had actually scrolled down too fast and saw the picture before I started to read the article and at first I did not know what the picture was. Then I saw the teeth and realized it was an animal and started to read the article. I am in shock and cannot believe how anyone could leave an innocent animal to suffer like that. Even pedophiles receive better treatment and have more rights. Animals have an unconditional love that is amazing and all they ask of us is to be treated with care love and respect. It is disgusting to think what some people are capable of. The only fair justice would be to take the owner and whoever else was responsible and let them decompose and have them be the lesson to all those that abuse animals by letting them know NO MORE Stop the abuse or you will be next. May Big Girl and all those animals that have suffered RIP. Thank you again to PETA ASPCA WWF and all animal lovers for your dedication and compassion. Animals depend on us and we are their voice!


    God this photo brought the food up my gullet yet I am not regretting seeing it. had I missed it…..I would still be against euthanizing pets but seein this poor baby’s condition i was made to think that it is the only way to put the poor one out of misery…may the owner suffer million times more…am sure there is divine justice

  • Ronna says:

    This is a heartbreaking picture and story. I believe in PETA and the shelters. I have done my fair share to help animals. But I have come to the realization that we can’t possibly save each and every sweet animal and find them homes. If you think about the fact that they are in cages 247 with minimal attention. What kind of life is that? It isn’t. I was always a believer in saving each and every one but the fact is it CAN”T be done. There aren’t enough people to adopt these animals. I myself have 14 cats and a dog it’s alot of work but I love it and don’t mind. But there aren’t enough people like me to take in more than 1 or 2 if that. I believe it to be more humane to put many of these animals out of their misery and loneliness. And then people can’t understand why these animals aren’t wagging their tails and happy go lucky who the hell would be. I am sorry to feel this way but it’s reality I wish we lived in a world where people were responsible but it AIN’T going to happen not in my lifetime. Some people are pure evil and this world has become a throw away society. By the way the people who caused such disgusting cruelty to that dog should suffer the same fate. And Michael Vick should have been put in the pits with the same animals he bred to kill. That is the fate I wish for him.

  • Daniela says:

    The videos and pictured here are so graphic. And as much as it is hard to see them I believe it’s the best way because this is the only way it’ll get into people’s heads what cruelty is not just through words but through images. God bless that dog and keep her with him. I wish the best to any other animal who may be tortured at this moment and I wish the world was kinder to animals.

  • dnsrmr says:

    Thank you for bringing this heartbreaking story to us. I pray God forgives those who mistreat another life whether it be human or animal. They are going to need prayers. Lots and lots of prayers.

  • Reggie says:

    My heart hurts so badly for Big Girl. This says the man responsible for her suffering was charged and convicted. What were the charges and convictions? Who is going to make sure he never has another animal? I sincerely wish for him the same suffering as Big Girl. He is evil personified.

  • jaay starr says:

    this is one of the most sad and painful thing i have ever seen.I would actually go on a hunt for the people that do this and slaughter them…..that is how strongly I feel about this…PETA is amazing and no matter whati will always support you.

  • Sophia says:

    WOW i feel so bad I could not do anything to help her! I just HATE people that could do stuff like that to an poor animal!

  • Alison says:

    This is absolutely evil and heartbreaking. I have cried and cried for big girl. I am however very surprised and upset with PETA for euthanizing her. We have absolutely no right to take any life and her life was no exception. Why was she not put on intravenous pain meds antibiotics fluids and nutrients etc? If she was sedated while this was happening she could have recovered and been given a chance at lifewhich was her right. If she passed away in the meantime then all that could have been done was done and she would have at least been given a chance and pain relief. If this was a human there would be no question of trying to save them and all measures wouls have been taken. Any mention of euthanasia would be classed as murder. There is no difference here. It is murder and a copout an easy solution to a problem you didn’t want to deal with. Just because there are so many other unwanted animals doesn’t mean big girl was of less importance. I am a huge supporter of PETA and never thought you would do such a thing. I thought you were the only organisation that went to any extreme to save every animal but I guess I was wrong. I am deeply disgusted by this. I also want to know whether the evil piece of crap that did this to her was put behind bars as this is what would happened if it had been a human. Also how on earth can you enforce a prohibition to own animals? This person deserves life in prison better still they should suffer the same cruelty big girl did except with out the lethal injection. To all of you who agree that this is the ‘kind’ and ‘the only option’ WAKE UP TO YOURSELVES!! If it was your mother or father friend sister brother or especially if this was your child there is no way you would give up on them and not give them a chance by murdering them. I am all for the right to die if one chooses to but since I’m positive dogs can’t speak and make a concious decision ‘yes please I would like to die now’ IT’S MURDER!! This completely contradicts what I thought was the philosophy of PETA that every creature is equal? I must have been mistaken.

  • alicia says:

    I am taken back that there would ever be a question of euthanasia for a dog like Big Girl. I support no kill shelters but don’t understand who on earth would want anything but to stop big girl’s pain. Don’t no kill shelters use euthanasia for extreme circumstances like big girl. I am new to this idea that a no kill shelter would turn a “lost cause” dog to other shelters to euthanize for them. Does that really go on??

  • Rebecca says:

    Unbelieveable…words can not express what this poor animal must have gone through. What will it take for humans to realize the beauty and sensitivity of animals? To understand that animals look to us for trust and help in this world…not to be betrayed by ignorance and selfish greed? God have mercy.

  • Jen says:

    Alright no kill shelters should not be criticized obviously people just don’t understand what they do and what PETA does I don’t see how the topic moved to no kill shelters but I’m sure I don’t have to repeat what most everyone else said. No kill shelters have the right idea and so does PETA why are some you trying of you trying to pick sides?? Would you prefer neither exist? C’mon people. Do you criticizers have even a clue what happens in other countries? The disgusting torture animals endure and the pleasure that people that do it get out of it?? And you’re arguing over PETA and no kill shelters?! They are both amazing groups that are doing so much good in our country instead of focusing on whats wrong with them you should focus on the fact that animals in America are blessed in comparison to other animals around the world. I know humanity is disgusting regardless of where you go but at least organizations exist in this country. Try to going to a third world country and see what horrors you come across every step you take maybe then you’ll appreciate the work that groups like PETA and shelters including no kill do. Of course things could be done better and eventually they will but they should be praised not bad mouthed. I believe any person who tortures any living being whether it be an ant or elephant will get whats coming to them in life. We’re not cave men anymore in this day and age we understand that we’re not the only things that feel some people are just born worthless and they’ll die worthless and they should be the ones being criticized those who really promote “torture” and disregard to animals. I support any group whose goal it is to help and cherish the creatures we live with in this world.

  • Jadey Alex says:

    If there is a reason to hate PETA euthanizing suffering animals that are beyond help shouldnt be a reason… at the opposite it should be a reason to love PETA and other organistaion when all an animal has to expect from life is more pain it’s an act of love and generosity to put an end to the pain.

  • Cindy says:

    Peta You did the right thing. No more suffering for Big girl. Thank you for all you do to end suffering

  • Gina says:

    Okay I get the point where the only way they may rest in peace is by dying a fast painful death. BUT why not try to save her? Afterall everyone deserves a second chance to live. If nothing can be done so be it. Still there could have been something to do instead of just killing her.

  • Kirsty says:

    People will try to break down kind organisations like PETA when they are doing well because they feel under threat. But that is only because they are the ones doing wrong and trying to shift the evil spotlight on someone else. Dont be misguided by the evil doers PETA is probably the most ethical treatment of animals in the world. I think we all know what is right.

  • mary vavrik says:


  • Shannon says:

    I fcking hate seeing this. People who do things like this deserve to die the same way this poor beautiful animal did. PETA is such an amazing organization.

  • cb says:

    Pam the shelter I work at does not have lost causes but I agree with you on one issue. “Lost cause” or “unadoptable” label is abused as there is no universal definition or ruleguidlines for these terms. Many simply use these labels when not warranted to abuse and use the “NO KILL” term and deeive the public. Some actually say that just because a dog has Pit in itit is “unadoptable” so they put it down and still call themselves no kill. Or they put down animals with easily cured medical issues cough mites etc…and this is wrong. But do not label all no kill places because the idiots that abuse it. Using this term should really be regulated and all shelters should have total transparency.

  • Colm Callanan says:

    The bottom line is that without “Euthanasia” many animals would undoubtedly be left in suffering. The object of us here is to stop the suffering of defenceless animals. We try as much as possible to rehome rescued animals but if even those that visit here cannot see the humane reasoning behind Euthanasia then there is little hope in spreading the word throughout the world to those that are not as caring for animals. We would all if at all possible do the decent thing and sometimes that includes putting an animal out of its misery. Remember that last word MISERY because that’s what the animals life was and most times medically they are beyond full recovery to a healthy pet.

  • Pam Tate says: are going to have to do something to get back the respect from animal lovers concerning the euthanasia issue. I have talked to several people who would not support your organization now.

  • Christina Mazzucotelli says:

    I was a former Humane Society Officer and it is humane to put an animal down if they are suffering a great deal. Bless her heart…I don’t understand why people are so heartless and could do such a horrific act to any creature!

  • martha paredes says:

    Only God can forgive this evil owner I will feel better if this man will have years in prision with no food and be tide up with no water but I know laws are not that good we have a good example with Michael vicks he only get two years please is a joke he needs to be there for life and get the same treatments he give this animals