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The Stories Behind the Statistics

Written by PETA | February 1, 2011

Today, PETA released its statistics on the number of animals it took in, found wonderful homes for, and had to euthanize in 2010. The number of animals who are discarded by people each year is staggering, and that won’t change until our laws do, so PETA is once again calling on governors across the U.S. to end animal homelessness by pushing for laws that would require dogs and cats to be sterilized unless their owners purchased an annual breeding permit, the cost of which would fund low-cost spay-and-neuter services. Would you join us by asking your governor to join this effort?

Numbers can’t begin to tell all these animals’ stories. Have a look at just a few of the animals we’ve helped, and then read about all that PETA does to end the suffering of animals in its own backyard in southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.

PETA’s fieldworkers are on duty around the clock, often getting up in the middle of the night and driving for miles to respond to emergency calls about suffering, abandoned, neglected, and abused dogs and cats. On weekends, PETA’s volunteer winter “straw teams” comb neighborhoods looking for dogs who are kept chained or penned outdoors in bone-numbing cold. They urge the dogs’ guardians to take their forgotten companions indoors. If they refuse and are not in violation of current cruelty-to-animals laws, PETA’s fieldworkers begin a long-term commitment to improving these neglected animals’ lives. They provide the dogs with doghouses; straw bedding; food; clean water; lightweight tie-outs to replace heavy, tangled chains; deworming medicine; flea, tick, and fly repellent; free veterinary care; spaying and neutering surgeries; and priceless moments of love and companionship.

PETA spayed Boe last year, and fieldworkers regularly stop by to give her flea and tick repellent, straw bedding, and toys like the one that she and her guardian are playing with here.


Butch’s impoverished guardians couldn’t afford to take him to a groomer, so PETA spruced him up, free of charge. Butch’s guardians were extremely grateful and gave PETA a $5 donation and some black-eyed peas to say thank you.

PETA also coordinates the rescue of dogs like Rambo, who was left without food or water and was horribly emaciated and starving inside his filthy pen, and Sheba, who was found suffering from severe wounds caused by a metal chain that had become deeply embedded in her neck. In these cases and many others, PETA saw to it that cruelty charges were filed against the animals’ owners. 

Rambo had previosly been a big, strong dog but was skin and bones when PETA’s fieldworkers found him.


Who knows how much longer poor Sheba would have suffered had it not been for PETA’s intervention?

Many of the animals who are signed over to PETA, such as this poor dog and cat, are at the end of their lives or have suffered long-term neglect: 

Dehydrated, disoriented, and too weak even to stand, all Buddy could do was lie under his owner’s house, screaming in pain, while flies swarmed around him and his buttocks teemed with maggots. A PETA fieldworker crawled underneath the house to rescue him.


This feral kitten’s eye had become dislocated—possibly as a result of head trauma—and was severely infected.

Turning away cats and dogs like these just to avoid having to euthanize them doesn’t help unwanted, suffering, and dying animals. If PETA, like a disturbing number of shelters today, valued its statistics more than the well-being of individual animals who need help, animals like Tupac would be left to endure slow, agonizing deaths instead of being gently released from suffering in the arms of those who were probably the first and only people to ever truly care about them.

When PETA received Tupac, he was about 20 pounds underweight, and his ribs and spine were protruding. His head was swollen to twice its normal size from a massive growth that reeked of infection and was oozing with sores and maggots. A vet recommended euthanasia, which was, without a doubt, the most merciful thing that anyone could have done for him.

While a disturbing number of animal shelters are turning their backs on animals so that they can call themselves “no kill” shelters, PETA will always do what’s best for animals who need help—even when doing so is difficult and unpopular.

Check back tomorrow to learn about the amazing strides that PETA is making to reduce animal homelessness. I can’t wait to share it—PETA’s mobile clinics sterilized more than 10,000 animals in 2010 alone!

Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post

Commenting is closed.
  • sherri says:

    thank you PETA for making the best decision for these animals that cannot make decisions for their own. looking at what they have gone thru it was the best for them. it breaks my heart and my eyes are in tears thinking that people would do this to them. how is it different from abusing a child? who in theory also depend on people for love food shelter? once again thank you for doing what you do.

  • Daytrip says:

    I have worked with and supported PETA for years. I just wonder where all these statistics are coming from? Has anyone bothered to check the numbers? Anyone bought a doghouse to donate (their site) for dogs chained in the bitter cold? Let’s get a handle on the big picture, shall we? Can any commenter refer me to the source of these statistics please? And yes, from what I see every day, there could be 2,000 animals better off over the Bridge than living in pain and horror.

  • Leticia Cortez says:

    Reading such stories alwats remind me of the cruelty of people towards these animals. Pets are a long time commitment, this we all have to understand. We have to treat them right and care for them. I am very thankful for what PETA does, but like they say we have to start by changing the laws and we all must get involved. L. Cortez

  • Louise says:

    I agree with any organisation aiming to prevent the suffering of animals and people, but PETA is ridiculous. I googled their statistics after reading an article about their disgusting euthanasia rate. Sure, if it would be better for the animal to be put out of its misery then I don’t object to that, but how can you possibly say that 1942 of the 1960 cats taken in in 2006 were in such a poor state, they had to be put-down. Really PETA? Really? That’s a 99% kill rate. Maybe you should changed industries, try extermination.

  • Bob says:

    Wow. They adopted out 838 animals. And they killed 3,630. I am heartbroken.

  • Amanda says:

    I was sent to this website by PETA because I was digusted by their adoption vs euthanasia ratio. Yes this shows pictures of animals that have little to no chance of survival and yes some of them should be put down so they no longer face their distress. The show dog town at least attempts to save every animal and the majority of them make it through their ordeal ( like a person fighting cancer) and many live amazing lives after. This doesn’t show pictures of the healthy animals they put down. Or the puppies or the kittens. These are the facts PETA won’t tell you I’m wrong. 2008 they adopted out 7 animals and killed over 2000! I love PETA but this has to stop. Critisism is neccassary when an organization losses sight of their gaol. Yes euthanasia sometimes is the best thing for the animal. Buutt when PETA euthanizes animals just to make room for the next ones it doesn’t do any good. This is why their kill rate is so much higher then the adoption rate. PETA this website did not change my mind in the least it only shows me how you twist your stories to make it seem like you’ve done something good!

  • alexia says:

    thank you for beeing there for the animals!!! it´s hearbreaking to see all those pictures!!!! i can´t understand that some people can be so rude to these beautyful souls!!!!!!!!!:´-C they all have t to get punishment!!!!!!!!!!

  • gibanoni says:

    Truly heart warming, god bless u all.

  • Jose says:

    Thank you for everything you do to save our animals!

  • Krissy says:

    I absolutely disagree with euthanizing healthy, adoptable animals BUT if it’s between euthanization and life long suffering, I am all for the humane route. I pray the day comes during my lifetime that this is no longer necessary because guardians are becoming responsible to spay/neuter and properly care for their pets to essentially eliminate the homeless animal population. Many disagree with PETA’s methods but I say there’s nothing wrong with having folks with different methods producing that result. The bottom line is the result. Thanks PETA!

  • Jodie allan says:

    PETA- I think you do a fantastic job! I bet you get sick to the stomach with all the criticism you receive. Well I personally am sick of the animal treatment that goes on. Keep doing what you do, you ARE the voice for those who don’t have one. Thank you.

  • sandyhays says:

    I am heartbroken, that people can treat animals like this, the same animals that if given the chance would love and trust someone wholeheartedly and unconditionally. I need to have a good cry now.

  • Aneliese says:

    I just don’t understand how people can let animals suffer. I just don’t. Makes me agree with the death penalty – but the chances of someone being killed because of cruelty to animals? That’ll be the day.

  • Lidna says:

    I just can’t take it anymore….Will the cruelty ever end?

  • Cheri Nappi says:

    I’ve been a long time member of peta&after what seems like ages…. seems like although informed, most people just don’t care! It’s sad, sick&depraved&there time will come! Karma ALWAYS SHOWS 3FOLD WHETHER GOOD OR BAD! We aren’t alone in our fights! But have to keep fighting as much as it may [email protected], focus on the rewards, those saved in time 🙂 & those punished for their crimes =)! Thank you peta! 🙂

  • Rohan Agrawal says:

    Too sad to see all this. Dogs are so faithful, yet innocent that even after all this sufferings they still love their owners as ever. Humans need some teaching from them.

  • jamene says:

    I think making it a law that animals have to be neutered is a fantastic idea and having the fees of the people who want to breed their animals help fund low cost spay and neuter clinics make it even better. I know personally, paying hundreds of dollars to spay or neuter my pets is very difficult being a single mom of 5, but i would have it no other way.Finding low cost spay/neuter programs is difficult and still a bit expensive, my dog is getting neutered today as we speak and it still cost $60/+ —GREAT IDEA PETA!

  • Ella says:

    Wonderful work, PETA. Few stand up to the true tragedy of animal overpopulation like you do. If I were as sick, injured, neglected or abused as these animals, I would pray for someone from PETA to come and end my suffering, gently and with kindness. You do what so few others are willing to do. Thank you.

  • Caitlin says:

    THANK YOU for putting those animals out of their misery. I often doubt that spending tens of thousands of dollars to save one animal through complicated medical procedures is really the best thing for the animal. Especially when the animal doesn’t usually understand that all those pokes, prods, stitches, etc. are to help them. Spend those dollars on helping more animals who need less complicated and invasive treatments and humanely put the poor ones out of their misery!

  • Moran says:

    you guys are angels. could you show their pictures after the rescue?

  • DeAnna says:

    This is too much to bare. My God- look what the human race has done to these poor creatures. Peta, you give me hope. I am so grateful for your organization.

  • Reiko89 says:

    There are websites out there who condemn peta because they euthenize animals. They say that peta is really only out to rid the world of any animals that have had contact with humans, that peta is a hypocrite. I must regretfully admit that I was one of those people. That was until I learned the shocking truth. For every single living human being, from infant to elderly person, there are 16 dogs and 37 cats out there that DO NOT have a home to call their own, this is not counting the ones that live with human families already. Every family of 4 people would have to adopt 64 dogs and 148 cats for there to be no homeless cats or dogs. It is absolutely without a shadow of a doubt impossible to find every one of them homes. There’s just no way! It’s unfortunately not the animal’s fault, it’s humans’s fault. Peta does have to euthenize a lot of animals, but they’re not to blame, back yard breeders and other inconsiderate pet owners are to blame. Peta is only cleaning up everyone else’s mess.

  • marta corina says:

    Please help Romania. we have problems about Dogs Community.they attacked a woman and died because of this.and now the media denigrate the image of dogs and encourages murder of Poor dogs.

  • debera delgatto says:

    these pictures are horrifying. anyone who abuses any animal should be harshly punished. the laws need to get tougher for animals. so tired of animal abuse…

  • friendbear says:

    As a brit, I thought here was bad, until I started helping rescue animals from terrible shelters in the states. One shelter in particular, was so bad, I personally asked peta for help and was turned down. The numbers alone are staggering in comparison to the uk, the conditions appauling, (if 2 people dealing with 20000 a year is acceptable in SC then the govenor wants stringing up). Pet pardons is a app on facebook that proactively finds homes for those at risk, pilots n paws, eg help with transport, and people can help find homes for 100s of animals. Pls check it out. A few years ago we had a pet telethon here in the uk which raised funds for no kill shelters whilst encouraing people to adopt a pet. It was so succesful 1000s found homes. Our local shelter was completely empty! The recession means more pets are needing rescue. Pls FOSTER, RESCUE OR JUST PAY PULL FEES AND POST THEM ON AN APP! Dont “wait” for someone to give a home, FIND them homes! MY GOD IN HEAVEN BLESS AND PROTECT THAT LITTLE CAT AND DOG! ;(

  • debera delgatto says:

    we should close down all puppy and kitten mills, that would help more than all these other useless laws. it should be against the law to breed animals. this will never end unless this is done.

  • Dark Cincerella says:

    As it is difficult and unpopular, I support PETA’s position on euthanasia. I’m vegan and would never harm an animal, however understand that it is the best and most merciful decision to let a beloved animal go to the Rainbow Bridge than to suffer in this world.

  • govinda subedi says:

    protect animals to protect the ecosystem.

  • monse says:

    too bad and sad what humans can let this guys suffer like that, we must fight for animal rights!

  • Kath Sabio says:

    I wish there are also law-makers in the Philippines who could push this laws as well, and for people to have proper awareness and compassion to animals.

  • Hilary says:

    I love this. Thanks for all you do PETA and everyone who deems animals rights as important.

  • Maralyn Brown says:

    Such a wonderful job you are all doing. Bless you all…

  • Tracy says:

    Thank you, PETA, for taking care of animals that need assistance. I am also a huge proponent of mandatory spay/neuter programs. I will continue writing letters until we get this passed into law.

  • LoVeLy says:


  • Sherry says:

    thanks for all that you do!

  • Where says:

    Great! But where is the statistics ?

  • rockbaby91 says:

    omg this made me cry i love my dog more then anything in this planet i rescued her from my brothers ex girlfriend, she was holding her in a pen too small and she was starving, this dog is now my best friend she follows me everywhere and is the most loving creature in the world, she is a staffy and is just amazingly patient, i have so much respect for people who save those poor animals, and i wish i could take home more animals from the shelters but i have no room, i have 2 rescued cats, a horse, my dog, and some calves that were going to be killed because they were bulls and runts 🙁

  • jordan23 says:

    o my those poor babies

  • Riya Gandhi says:

    PETA ! Yu ppl are AMAZING ! I Cant wait to grow up and be a Part Of This Organisation ! Trust me! I’m 16 rite now..The day i finish my Graduation..YU People will find someone who’ll be Helping Animals Get A Better Life ! And That Someone Will Be me ! I PROMISE 🙂

  • Barbara says:

    The cruel people that do these things should have the same done to them, stuck in a cage with a chain around their neck, no food, no water….. So very, very sad and unfair to God’s creatures. What goes around, comes around.

  • Meghan says:

    It’s sad that some animals have to be euthanized, but unfortunately sometimes it is necessary. I will never say anything negative about PETA; it takes a lot of heart, money, and time to care for animals. I truly appreciate everything that PETA does for them.