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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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  • Cois says:

    Why???? This is so wrong!!! but just remember that there is a God that see everything!!

  • chiranjit karar says:

    please adopt a homeless they need your home and your home needs them too. Never buy from breeder.

  • Fatima Flores says:

    Kelly Michael Vick should be put to sleep too. Rest in peace poor Big Girl.

  • veronica says:

    rest in peace Big Girl. may the bastard that did that to her feel the anger of Arawn when he dies.

  • christina says:

    Yes Euthanizing suffering animals is the right thing to do however the animals who are suffering and are waiting for loving homes don’t need to be killed and “no kill” shelters who have good resorces NEVER turn animals away the place them in foster homes i every shelter in the us adopted a no kill policy then there would be plenty of space for everyone. breeding needs to stop but also at that same time you can’t stop all breeding because then the race dies no more dogs mandatory spay won’t work because lawbreakers will still bred and law abiders who have permits will still breed and you’ll have just as many then as we do now also uncaring owners will dump their un spayed dogs in the street creating a bigger problem yet. this has been my opinion.

  • DOMBI Sándor (in Hungari the family name is the 1s says:

    Hi Szervusztok! I’m again… Just a thing… Big Girl I think COULN’T be health anymore… As You wrote she was on dieing… BUT SOMETIMES we HUMANs haven’t not enough hope… I have seen by a scientific chanell a story about a dog. Hers foot must be operated unfortunateli amputated because a part of a glass bottle makes an injure on it and it was infected. So with only 3! feet the humans thought “Oh! It is NOT a real LIFE for a dog… It would be better with a poison injection… But the dog lived also with 3 feet. And on a day he RESCUED! the Humans who would be given him this injection… SO is the life! Big Girl I think couldn’t live so but this dog YES! I think only such a professional group as by the PETA cold make a decission about the life or a better dieing… Sndor

  • William Burke says:

    Why did PETA euthanize the Chicken? They euthanized one chicken according to a report about themis this true and if so why?

  • DOMBI Sándor (in Hungari the family name is the 1s says:

    Dear You Sisters and Broters! I try to write perfectly excuse me if my English is not so good… So… I live in Budapest Hungary Europe. Also here by us is this THE CRUELTY a problem. Human? beengs are sometimes so as they NEVER would be born from a MOTHER as they would be only machines NO SOUL NO HEART etc… I think You by the PETA make Your WORK so good as You can. And unfortunately also YOU haven’t the power of God. THE GREEN MILE if You have seen the film with Tom Hanks You know the BAD was the GOOD and reverse. You CAN’T give a new life for this animals. But You can give a better die. You have done it and I think SO is so was it better. NOT YOU were the BAD but this person I didn’t write “A man” did I? This person ISN’T a man he is only something is so. Rest In Peace Big Girl! Sndor

  • Jamie Rivet says:

    I agree with cb way above we should not let the opposition divide us into proPETA and nokill camps fighting with each other. Open admission shelters will always run out of room for animals and have to put them down even healthy ones. If you think that is false then just go and try to adopt all the animals about to be euth’d. Nokill seems great on the surface but what happens to all the critters that get turned away? Possibly a fate worse than euth. But my point is that we have to stay united against our true enemies people that abuse animals and often profit from their abuse. Last thing though the pic of the dog is bad that stuff is going on everyday in labs and factory farms so why is it worse when it is a dog instead of a pig even more intelligent than most dogs?

  • Animalsangel888 says:

    In this case obviously this poor gorgeous soul is better off at Rainbow Bridge with all the other animals who have suffered at the hands of evil. May she be running and playing with all her new found friends and never feel pain again. To the EVIL SCUM GARBAGE who left her there to suffer like she did may you come face to face with your own evil one day!!

  • Catherine says:

    Hey I’m kind of pissed off right now. ”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” Kelly why should you say things like that about NoKill people? It is absolutely NOT true. I volunteer at several NoKill shelters and I can assure you that we are NOT affiliated in any way with breeders or antiPETA people or whatever! Man this is just a LIE! EUTHANASIA merciful way to end suffering. ‘Euthanizing’ healthy companion animals in shelters is just plain KILLING. We have to stop using euphemisms and stop killing animals in shelters. Why are we killing them? What’s the reason? Apparently it is that ‘there are simply too much pets not enough homes for them’… this is NOT a good reason. There are too much humans on this planet so should we start killing people too? The key to solve the animal overpopulation is not killing animals it’s spayingneutering. Let’s work together to sensibilize the public to spayingneutering and adopting animals and using TrapNeuterRelease methods for feral cats and dogs instead of killing them ”to make more space”. I AGREE with Beryllium ”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.” We have to work TOGETHER people! Stop fighting at each other and STOP killing animals!

  • Dawn says:

    That is such a shame!! I had to read this to find out what happend It was very hard for me I think the person reasponsable should be left to starve and suffer the way this poor innocent puppy did. Bless you big girl I hope you have peace.

  • Lisa says:

    I am sitting here crying for Big Girl and all of the animals who suffer at the hands of man. How can someone do this to a living breathing soul who has so much love to give. These people are sick and have no compassion or love in their lives their souls are dead. Thank you PETA for giving Big Girl some kind words and putting her our of her misery caused by man. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that this goes on day after day. I have lost my job and I don’t have any money to donate but I do keep my eyes and ears open to any kind of abuse and would have no hesitation to act upon getting involved to help an animal. I believe in karma and all these unhuman people that mistreat animals will have something horrible happen to them at one time or another. I would like to do what this person did to Big Girl and do it to them and everyone else who mistreats an animal. They have no rights as far as I am concerned.

  • susan korths says:

    poor poor baby I habe no words for it only tears and shame for human being…

  • Jenny says:

    When I saw this picture I could not believe my eyes! To think that such loving animals are tortured by idiots everyday makes me sick! The only thing that gives me hope is that I know pets like Big Girl have a special spot in Heaven. Ever since I was a child I have loved animals and my pets are like my children. So I’ve always been a proud supporter of Peta but one thing I don’t agree on is the fact that Peta seems to be giving a bad name to “No Kill” and making people think that it’s somehow sinister. I am in fact a no kill supporter but that doesn’t mean I’m evil. I believe that animals should be given a second chance at life and not be put down if they are healthy but when it comes to severely abused sick or injured animals that will just die suffering then I think it’s better to euthanize them and end their suffering. Actually a few years ago I had a dog who was very sick and my family and I decided that it was best that he pass away in peace and we euthanized him. Eventhough putting my baby down was the hardest thing for me to do I know it was best. So please don’t criticize us without knowing all the facts.

  • Jessie says:

    I agree with PETA’s views on euthanasia and it annoys me that people bug them about that but please PETA never use the term “gentle lethal injection” again.

  • Bronwyn says:

    I wept when I saw that photo and felt truly ashamed that humans can still resort to this sort of inhumane and barbaric treatment. If people dont want animals dont get them if u cant look after them give them to humane shelters… better than this gross violation. I have also forced myself to look at the hideous dvds of fur trade horrors and am apalled that even the basest rights are denied these animals and that they are skinned alive there is no need for this either what the fk is wrong with people u dont have to be a rocket scientist to realise the animals will feel pain if u skin them alive……

  • lynne says:

    My emotional response is to feel so sad for the suffering of the dog knowing others will also suffer the same wondering what desensitised morons can commit such crueltythey are vile and yet will be parentsso its poor kids poor pets poor society. l would like someone from the courts or animal welfare tell me how banning someone from having pets can work or be a punishment as far as l know there is no check up system people move address and will just get another pet of their choice who would know theyre banned just a token it seems. They should be just jailed. At one time our main animal welfare charity put millions of healthy animals to sleep if not adopted within a week several year ago they handed the stray dog collection and disposal over the the local authority who followed simular regime probably still do along with vets who also destroy many healthy young animals shameful and l am so glad there are now charities who commit to keeping healthy dogs for as long as it takes to find them a home or care for them. l presume no kill advocates are just supporting keeping healthy animals and caring for them which is good but not saying an animal that is dying and suffering beyond repair must not be put to sleep. l also agree with previous poster who suggested the guilty should be named and pictured in press.

  • aly says:

    It was obvious that euthanasia was the right decision for this poor dog. I agree with chris when saying that animals should be treated and respected the same way humans are. No one ever gave us humans the right to dominate the world. The fact that some people think they have so much authority over animals makes me sick and sorry for them. I am always questioning humanity and things like this just make me lose faith even more.

  • Tanya says:

    I worked in Vetrinary Clinics for 10 years and nothing broke my heart more than seeing an animal put to sleep simply because no wanted them. Unfortunately some people use euthanasia as a form of birth control for pets they can’t bother to spay or neuter. It’s not fair that shelters get labeled evil for euthasia and “NoKill” societies get blamed for being too selective when the real evil is the irresponsible pet owner who thinks it’s okay to continue to let their dog or cat procreate. More attention needs to be given to punishing these people. As far as I am concerned all companion animal breeding should be outlawed until we get the overpopulation issue dealt with. Responsible breeders would have to apply for a special license and their breeding facility should be subject to regular inspections. This story made me cry and I hope there’s a special place in heaven for all injured and abandoned animals where they finally receive the love they never received in their short miserable lives. RIP Big Girl.

  • carole says:

    Poor Big Girl. This breaks my heart. This breed has suffered so much at the hands of fools it’s truly a condemnation on the human race. They are the gentlest of dogs and most loyal. I wish all the suffering Big Girl went through on to her owner. HeShe deserves nothing less.

  • Kim Medici-Heseltine says:

    Who did this to her? What is the name and address? What was the sentence? Never allowed to own another animal? How can that ever realistically be enforced? I don’t know if there really is a Hell but I we can surely make his life miserable now! Mandatory compassion classes beginning in Kindergarten regulated and restricted breeders mandatory spayingneutering until the pet population is under control and crimes against animals treated in the same manner as against humans is the only solution or nothing is going to change. Come on people let’s get active! We can do it! There are so many little things you can do that make a big difference!

  • farah says:

    Sickening that things like this happen in the United States. What’s worse is that no one intervened on the dog’s behalf sooner. Humans have failed miserably when it comes to living in peace with animals for the most part. We’re the most disgusting animal of all.

  • MochaGirl says:

    This image will be seared into my memory for the rest of my life. I mean…WTF is wrong with these people?? Euthanasia should not even be questioned it is the absolute least that could be done for her. I can’t imagine letting my dog skip one meal. Keep your eyes open and report the AHOLES that give people a bad name!!!!

  • Mike says:

    Just know ASIA that people out there do love you baby girl!! You were just dealt a bad situation! YOU WERE AND ARE LOVED!!! Rest in peace! And let all the other Animals in Heaven that were not taken care of that we love them too!!!

  • nat says:

    i could only have a quick look at big girl i couldnt bare to look in those sad brown eyes how can anyone be so cruel to another living thing it really makes me sick that these a..seholes can do this stuff and not have a consenceihope he dies a slow painfull death too he deserves it.big girl poor baby ur out of pain now girl may the afterlife treat u better. thanks peta for putting her out of her misery

  • Anon says:

    Sickening. Are there any news articles about this? The owner is clearly a sick twisted individual. You say he was charged with this crime but was he thrown in jail like Michael Vick?

  • amanda m says:

    well this is probably strange but I feel so much better reading how many people on here feel like I do and wish death and suffering on people who do these things. but most of us are too civilized to actually commit murder yes??Yes! the laws are too weak understatement of the year but hopefully a story like this makes people not just want to support PETA though they do a lot of good too but to support groups that work to change the laws. you can imagine that in Tx people have some archaic ideas about animal care and treatment but we are turning the tide in getting stiffer and enforceable laws in place to make cruelty and neglect actual crimes work with us! Or work in your state just keep on voicing your opinions rationally and constantly to the Legislature they will listen eventually. we have the great fortune to have some very good legal counsel as well. For so long my anger and rage just overwhelmed me almost into paralysis No More.

  • yf says:

    it is so hardto see the picture of big girlsch most have a lot of glad dat peta have give her a euthanasiebecause sche have no live to livelike this way…the person who was resposeble for hermost be hangingwith a lot off painbecause he had did to big girl. its aful to see kiil the manikwill schoot him personelly..!!!

  • Laura Mann says:

    I am so sick and tired of the way these sick people treat animals.I had a dog with cancerI took her to the doctor as she was not able to walk I knew it was time to let her be at restI was crying so hard she was in my life for so longthrough good times and badshe was there to comfort methe nurse came in and showed me the needle and held my hand an explained it and how she would passat that time it was no consulation but as I look back she was the kind of person who felt my pain and told me if I was in Pain brandi would do the same for me if she were she went off to sleep I hugged her and told her I loved her and we would be together someday.A year later my father had colin cancer and was put on a morphine drip.Two people I loved went off to sleep with no pain.Yes I believe this is the most Humane wayif you don’t you never saw a loved one suffer in agony when I die I want to leave this world in peace not Pain.also I have a rescue cat and she is spayed and even though she dosen’t go out gets all her shots.people need to spay and neuterwe have vets in my town that hold a clinic on wed for people who can’t afford itall the vets take a wed.

  • Susan Davis says:

    I think it’s great that you put these pics up there are two sides to the issue of euthanasia for me arguments on both sides are very compelling. I have not always been in your corner but on this subject I am because I see daily what people do to animals. However you have not answered the one question that is floating around out there. You are also being accused of putting down healthy adoptable animals is this true and why? Is it because they actually are suffering or will suffer? Or is it because you ANTICIPATE that they MIGHT suffer? There is a pretty big difference and we out here need to know that. Also why not start a sanctuary up again with all your money you could then at least save SOME of the animals? We KNOW you can’t save them all nobody can.

  • Elaine Gregory says:

    I used to work with a local “no kill” group. Believe me when I tell you that we volunteers loved every single cat that we fostered and we took great pains to see to it that they were adopted by caring homes. No cats were “warehoused” not were they kept in cages save for the brief times they were being transported or displayed for adoption. My “foster cats” had the run of my home along with my beloved pet cats and I wound up adopting several of my fosterlings as did many of the volunteers. I treated my fosterlings exactly the same as I treated my own cats with lots of love and attention. They even slept in my bed with me! We spent lots of time and a great deal of our own money making sure that the cats under our care were wellfed vaccinated spayed or neutered and had adequate health care. I think you are mistaken when you disparage nokill shelters as you do. I heartily wish every shelter and rescue group was nokill.

  • Taryn Milics says:

    I will never get that image out of my head! I hope karma gets that evil man and he knows what it is like to suffer in agony and alone. RIP Big Girl

  • Beth says:

    What is wrong with people? What if someone left them out side to starve to death? I just want to hit them how could they sleep at night knowing that tamarrow their going to kill another helpless animal? It’s sickining I’m 14 and I know right from wrong and how animals should be treated.

  • Carlos says:

    I can’t believe you people are so egotistical. You have to understand that mistreatment of animals although unfortunate is common no matter the animal specie. You guys preach that all animals should be on a higher perch than the human race but have you ever seen the effects of animal overpopulation? Without hunting euthanasia or meat eating the amount of starving animals who are so disease ridden would be uncontrolable. You have to understand that the world has a carrying capacity for all animals including humans. This is the amount of animals that can be supported by a given amount of land. When the land experiences an overpopulation mother nature will “kill off” the excess. Have you ever seen how “gentle and loving” mother nature kills her animals? I can assure you if you haven’t that if given a choice and had the ability to reason animals would take hunting and euthanasia over living naturally and free. I can’t wait for the day you guys get off your HIGH HORSE but of course you don’t ride horses cause they’re better than you and realize how ignorant you sound. P.S. eating meat doesn’t cause obesity and diabetes…genetics over eating and lack of excercise cause this.

  • debra deats says:

    “will not b able to own pets again?” here in our “3rd world” country South Africa he’d have been heavily fined andor jailed!

  • evelyn says:

    i can’t believe that anyone could do thatto a dog!i keep thinking about how she sufferedneglected unloved it’s heartbreaking.that jerk who did this to big girlhe deserves to be chained to a postuntil HE starves to death!unfortunelyyou couldn’t do THAT to HIM!if big girl had been a human childthis jerk would have been charged with murder and america would have been livid over what he did to the child.he will be punished for his crimes.i’m happy that big girl was shown some love with a few kind words and hopefullya gentle strokingat the end of her all too short life.she has no pain now.

  • Daisy says:

    I’m not the best person to judge euthanasia in this particular case I think there should be not doubt that was the best thing that happened to that animal in this word of humans. But what really bother me is that the criminal that did this is still out there and I wish our law system would allow us to treat them the same way they treated their victims…Not euthanasia for them…slow death…YES! Crime has to end somehow…and eye for an eye!

  • aralyn rogers says:

    i think that what those people did to Big Girl should have the same things done to them but i do believe in KARMA so eventually it will!!

  • Marta says:

    I’m really wordless I have never imagine such cruelty. And to say that molecular rsearchers realizing that almost 98 of the human genome is shared with chimps are trying stubbornly to discover what’s the gene for humanness so they could tell the difference between man and ape. They consider they can admit that an “inferior animal” have almost same genome information. I think they should look after genes for cruelty arrogance and many more and they certainly will discover where in the human genome is humanness. Thanks PETA for give us the opportunity to contact kind people in this world.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Would the person who thinks Hitler is “his or her kind of guy” because he loved animals and hated people still think that the day the Nazis loaded him or her on a train for a death camp?

  • Sheri says:

    Having volunteered in a shelter for a few years it’s hard to see the animals “suffering” in their cages for month after month while no one adopts them. Euthanasia is necessary sometimes even for healthy dogs that can not find good homes. To me there is no suffering in death when an animal is being euthanized properly by medicallycapable people. I wish it were different and that every dog bought was gotten from shelters. It’s just not realistic right now and unless people and I hope the opponents of euthanasia are listening to this part are willing to buck up there just aren’t enough funds. So I hope you like me are putting your money where your mouth no scratch that your heart is and shelling out some cash to give these organizations like PETA a fighting chance to save as many animals as possible.

  • amanda m says:

    Well said Ellie B! Euthanasia is meaningful in horrific neglectabuse cases it should not be a solution to overpopulation. Spayneuter should be funded and fully supported in every State!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Arnie says:

    May you rot in HELL you piece of st for what you did to Big Girl. If not I would have my will over you and throwing away the keys to see who would come out. Because without any doubt I would come out may you rest in HELL you would be better off that way and not me disposing of you.

  • SILVIA says:

    I hope that the worm that has a Big Girl this horrible agony should suffer the same suffering of the dog! Some things have no meaning no meaning to cruelty. silvia Italy

  • Sabrina says:

    I just have one word SAD this is just sad to see. One of the comments posted was correct. These are sad to see but poeple need to see them to see the reality. It is SAD that poeple dont have a thought in there mind that what they do to animals like neglect starving and beating for just a few examples is wrong. Animals have feelings too. I couldnt dream of doing anything hurtful to any of my animals. I am so glad this scrum got cought and Big Girl got to go to a better place in peace!! Just hope that one day animal abuse will come to an end…

  • MARK SAWYER says:


  • Yvonne Clark says:

    I have so much rage flowing through me right now that I can’t even think straight!! How in the fricking world can someone do something like this to an animal?? It’s too bad that you don’t give the addresses of the people who do things like this. I think some of them would have some late night visitors!! How I feel for that poor dog. Seeing this literally made me sick. How I would love to get my hands on this waste of human flesh. May God have mercy on his soul when the time comes…but I have a feeling he will be going some place where it’s quite warm. Rot in hell you SOB!!!

  • kerry knowles says:

    those sick bastards need the same thing done to them!!!!

  • Andrew says:

    Its great and all that the owner of these poor souls was charged for the cruelty these poor animals had to face however I feel he was only slapped on the wrist for this horrific crime. If people aren’t punished further than having your privalges of owning an animal taken awayunfortunately I feel that more heartless people are going to continue to do this and more animals are going to have to suffer. I feel that this punishment is nothing but a slap on the wrist and an insult to the poor dogs who had lost there lives because of the owners cruelty towards animals.