How PETA’s Fieldworkers ‘Broke the Chain’ This Summer

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7 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic and the record-breaking heat this summer created extra-dangerous living conditions for countless animals in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina—but, as usual, PETA’s fieldworkers have been in the thick of it all, helping dogs, cats, and other vulnerable individuals whose cries for help might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Every animal companion deserves to be safe and loved—but many of the animals we help experience love or compassion for the first time when they meet PETA’s fieldworkers, and this summer was no different. Discover just a few moments of kindness from July, August, and September:

PETA’s spay/neuter program continued to help prevent countless animals from being born who’d add to the overpopulation and homelessness crises.

Every day, an estimated 70 million dogs and cats in the U.S. struggle to survive without homes. PETA’s mobile spay/neuter clinics work to prevent unwanted dogs and cats from being born. Since the beginning of July, we’ve spayed and neutered more than 3,000 animals and transported 175 others—including Coco, Bella, Elsa, Penny, Aces, and Sunrize—to and from sterilization appointments for free.

One of the animals PETA helped was Coco, who underwent a lifesaving surgery for a severe and potentially fatal uterine infection. “My dog was dying. I had no one to turn to until I found out about PETA. They were a blessing from God. They helped me. They gave me back my baby. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them,” Coco’s guardian wrote in a sweet thank-you note to PETA.

Recently spayed Coco with her grateful owner.
You may not be able to tell, but Coco’s guardian is smiling underneath her mask after Coco returned from the spay surgery that she desperately needed to save her life. At a typical veterinary clinic, a surgery to treat pyometra could cost between $1,200 and $1,500, but Coco’s guardian donated what she could and PETA absorbed the rest.

Other animals were treated at our clinics for various medical conditions, completely free of charge.

Bella after being sterilized and being treated for a skin condition.
Bella was suffering from a skin infection. Her guardian called PETA for help, knowing that we’d be there for both of them.
Elsa and her family after she was treated for a skin condition and spayed.
Elsa’s family was so grateful to PETA for spaying and treating Elsa for flea allergy dermatitis.
Penny and her owner after she was transported to and from a spay and neuter clinic free of charge.
Aces and her owner after she was transported to and from a spay and neuter clinic free of charge.
Sunrize after being transported to and from a spay and neuter clinic.
Sunrize’s guardian, who is legally blind and uses a wheelchair, called PETA for help so that her beloved cat could be “fixed” at one of our mobile spay/neuter clinics. We transported this sweet boy to and from his free appointment, and the two were thrilled to be reunited.

We made lasting connections with communities, helping guardians and animals who were affected by natural disasters as well as delivering animal-friendly messages to local young people via our Barks & Books program.

This little dog was recovered from the debris of a tornado by a team of PETA fieldworkers
We pulled this little dog out of debris caused by an August tornado in Bertie County, North Carolina, which demolished dozens of homes. Our fieldworkers took him to a local shelter in the hope that he would be reunited with his family.
A kid smiles with an animal-friendly book from PETA fieldworkers
This guy gives Miffy in the Tent a big thumbs up.
Kid with animal-friendly book from PETA
The Not-So Crazy Cow has a new biggest fan.

We transferred many vulnerable animals to our placement partner shelters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Remember Brownie, the matted pup PETA’s field team made sure got a desperately needed shave in April? Well, after a years-long attempt to afford him the opportunity for a new home, his owner finally agreed to let us take him in, since he needed care for a serious eye injury and needed to be groomed (again). Once he was transferred to the Norfolk SPCA, his matted fur was groomed, his eye injury was treated, and he was quickly adopted by a loving family.

COVID-19 Hasn’t Stopped PETA’s Animal Services
Brownie before
Brownie with his new adoption family
Brownie after
Cupcake the dog chained to a doghouse
Cupcake was tethered to a doghouse by a heavy chain, with nobody to love or play with her. In isolation, she was frustrated and lonely and needed our help.
Cupcake with her new adoption family
Thanks to one of our partner shelters, the Norfolk SPCA, Cupcake is now with guardians who couldn’t wait to make her a new member of their family.
Dog with a chemical burn from living in neglectful conditions
Because of carelessness and negligence, Thor sustained a terrible chemical burn and a broken leg. He had been allowed to roam freely without supervision in a mobile home park. Thankfully, PETA rescued him.
Thor after being treated and transferred to an adoption clinic
We immediately transferred Thor—since renamed Donnie—to the Norfolk SPCA to receive urgently needed medical care and recover in a foster home.

We placed 11 animals with loving families and transferred more than 200 to other shelters for adoption.

After years of attempting to get Mingo, a sweet golden retriever mix, surrendered to PETA, we were finally able to rescue her from the small, filthy pen in which she had spent more than seven years and place her with one of our fieldworkers, who had fallen in love with her during his many visits.

Rescued adoptable cat Oeo
PETA worked with local authorities to seize Oreo from his abusive owner after a conscientious person called our emergency hotline. When we got him to a clinic for medical care, he appeared to have severe psychological trauma as well as permanent damage to his left ear.
Oreo with his new pal
One of our fieldworkers became so attached to Oreo while fostering him that he just couldn’t bear to part with him, so Oreo now enjoys a safe, loving home.
Bonnie before being rehomed
Bonnie was confined to a filthy pen 24/7 before PETA fieldworkers stepped in.
Bonnie with her new loving family
Now Bonnie spends life indoors with her new adoptive family, whose members adore her.

We provided families struggling to care for their animal companions with crucial aid, including food, medical care, and proper shelter.

PETA fieldworkers fixes a doghouse
Thanks to PETA’s generous donors, Tyson received a sturdy, custom-built PETA doghouse a few months ago. Adam, one of PETA’s fieldworkers, visited the sweet dog this summer to fix it up a bit.
Fiona and her guardian

We helped end the suffering of many animals, giving them love and comfort while they peacefully passed on.

Many feral cats were freed from their pain. Without PETA’s free euthanasia services, these animals—many of whom were suffering from feline AIDS, maggot-infested wounds, and broken bones—would have languished on the street and surely would have faced a prolonged and agonizing death.

senior cat suffering before euthanasia
This senior “outdoor cat” was emaciated, lethargic, and suffering from mouth ulcers as well as ulcerated eyes that were infected and swollen shut. She also tested positive for feline AIDS and leukemia. Our fieldworkers relieved her of her pain and suffering.


While our field team is on call seven days a week to give animals the aid that they need, remember that you have the power to help animals, too.

PETA’s fieldworkers did a lot this summer, and you can make a difference, too. Here are four simple things that you can do to help animals in need:

  1. If you see an animal in abusive or neglectful living conditions, report it.
  2. Stand against animal breeding by pledging to adopt instead of shopping.
  3. Help us end animal overpopulation by having your animals spayed or neutered.
  4. Get involved locally by volunteering at an animal shelter or appealing to government officials to pass legislation banning tethering, breeding, and the selling of animals in pet stores.

To learn more about PETA’s Community Animal Project, watch the new documentary Breaking the Chain, which reveals how our fieldworkers help animals every day.

Press Play on Breaking the Chain
Breaking the Chain Movie Poster

To read this article in Spanish, click here.

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