Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Pepper’s Story: Justice for a Forgotten Victim

Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post | February 16, 2012

PETA and other Virginia animal shelters have just submitted to the state the numbers of animals they received, found wonderful homes for, reunited with guardians, had to euthanize, or were able to release back into nature in 2011. Because numbers can’t begin to tell each animal’s story, let me describe one of those animals: Pepper.

PETA’s emergency fieldworkers are on call 24/7 and leap into action even when that means getting up in the middle of the night to drive long distances in response to calls about suffering, abandoned, neglected, and abused animals. Since we refer healthy, highly adoptable animals to traditional, well-trafficked animal shelters, the animals we focus on with our hands-on work are the most abused, neglected, and underserved, usually the “unadoptables.”

Like Pepper.

For months, PETA tried to engage local law-enforcement officials to take action on a monstrous woman who kept a terribly neglected and miserable dog named Pepper, who needed urgent veterinary treatment, penned in her backyard. When PETA found her, Pepper had been languishing in the filthy backyard cage for years and had slowly deteriorated, yet the woman—a nursing assistant—couldn’t be bothered to provide her dog with basic vet care and dignity.

Finally, PETA obtained custody of Pepper and whisked her to a veterinarian, who determined that Pepper was suffering from dehydration, “severe emaciation” (the veterinarian’s exact words), a severe eye infection that caused both of Pepper’s eyes to ooze discharge, a chronic hematoma (blood pocket) on her left ear, chronic dermatitis, a raging flea infestation (more than 500 live fleas were picked off her body), extremely worn-down teeth from biting at her own infected skin, toenails on all four feet so curled inward that they were embedded into the skin (causing an infection), a large mammary tumor, and cancer. For Pepper, euthanasia was a sweet release from the painful existence that she’d endured for so long. PETA’s fieldworker stayed with Pepper as she peacefully slipped away from this world.

PETA filed cruelty charges against Angela Williams, Pepper’s owner. This month, there was a small measure of justice meted out for Pepper when a judge found Williams guilty of cruelty to animals. The judge said that the woman’s treatment of Pepper was as inexcusable as it would be to know that one of her patients had had bed sores for months and do nothing about it.

How we wish that Pepper’s heart-wrenching case was unusual! PETA’s caseworkers take in scores of animals who are in equally miserable, and even worse, condition almost every single day. For many of these suffering souls, the only kind thing to do is to hold them, make a fuss about them, tell them that they are loved, and let them slip away.

How You Can Help Dogs Like Pepper

If a dog is kept penned or chained in your neighborhood, please take action. Urge the homeowner to allow the dog indoors and make him or her a part of the family. Offer to take the lonely dog for walks. Report abuse and neglect. Get the dog fixed, vaccinated, and dewormed. Look for other medical needs. Together, let’s help wipe out the cruel practice of tossing dogs in the backyard and forgetting about them. Please push for anti-chaining legislation in your city or state.

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  • Fran Bryerton says:

    This poor trusting creature deserved a better life that this. How sad that there are so many more like Pepper that suffer in silence that nobody knows about and are still suffering. R.I.P. finally Pepper.

  • Lyn says:

    How appalling. Just can’t understand how you could look into this dog’s sweet eyes and not give her some food, some care, some love. Just looking at the photos of Pepper (and the poor dog on your “chained” story) you can see these dogs had the potential to be beautiful, loving pets. Thank you Peta for your continued work in all fields of animal cruelty – bless all you people who DO care. We must act against humans who have no humanity. I would love to see them banned from every having an animal again – as sadly these people repeat their hideous behaviour. Do not understand how they can live with themselves!

  • Valerie says:

    This is horrible and this Angela Williams is taking care of patients as a nurse’s aide? How is she keeping her certificate for that. This hideous woman would not come near my dogs or any animals – and she is still a nurse aide?

  • Cakiae says:

    what a poor excuse of a human, and worse yet a ” care giver ‘ for humans! I thank God my mother is with Jesus and this horrid excuse of a person can’t be an aide to my mom or my dogs!

  • Christine Franks says:

    Please tell me that she will NEVER own another pet. Didn’t any neighbors do anything to try and help?!!! I would have taken the dog!

  • Irina Seifert says:

    thank you PETA!

  • Marilyn says:

    Poor sweet Pepper. I don’t know how she lived as long as she did with that horrible excuse for a human. At least the poor baby is away from her now and at peace at the rainbow bridge. Why wouldn’t the “authorities” do anything to help? What sentence did the judge give her? And she is a nursing assistant? Still? Didn’t get fired? I wouldn’t want her anywhere near me or my family.

  • Linda says:

    How can anyone treat an animal like this. So sad, Rest in peace Pepper.

  • Gitte Loeyche says:

    That poor, poor dog. I wish that part of the verdict was banning this female monster from ever owning another animal!

  • Liliana Ruiz says:

    Pepper you are in the sky in peace asking why humans we are so bad with animals … RIP sweet Pepper : (

  • Graciela Downey says:

    I cannot stop crying about Pepper’s story. People like that deserve to be treated with the same cruelty they treat a defenseless animal!!

  • Yana says:

    Rest In Peace,Pepper!!It is a heartbreaking how could she do that to Pepper.Very sad big but still loving people eyes..

  • Debbie says:

    How can anyone be so cruel and lazy. It is just plan laziness to neglect any animal. To bad we do not believe in a tooth for a tooth and could do the same to this woman.

  • valhala says:

    This woman?what a miserable low life,to treat an animal like this,and such a lovely little dog,she’s just a waste of space ,at least Pepper is at peace I hope she is named,shamed and jailed.

  • Francoise Desrochers says:

    BIG SHAME ON THIS STUPID WOMAN !!! JAIL IS A VERY GOOD PLACE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT SHE DIT !!

  • Marin says:

    Poor Pepper, I don’t know how anyone could neglect an animal like this. This just breaks my heart.