This is Precious.
PETA staffers and volunteers were out delivering doghouses and straw bedding to neglected dogs one bitterly cold February morning when they found her and the 11 puppies she had given birth to the night before. Three of the puppies were already dead, having frozen to death overnight. Precious was holding one of the dead puppies her mouth in a futile attempt to warm the cold little body. As excited as she was to see her rescuers, she refused to part with her dead baby.
We rushed Precious and her puppies to the vet, but the surviving puppies were so hypothermic that their body temperatures did not even register on a thermometer. Precious herself, besides being severely malnourished, was feverish, anemic, and crawling with fleas and ticks. She also tested positive for hookworms and heartworms.
While Precious had shivered in the cold, watching her babies die one by one, her owners had been snug in their warm house, oblivious to her existence out there on her chain. They didn’t even know that she had given birth until PETA staffers told them.
Precious and her puppies epitomize what happens when people do not spay or neuter their dogs and cats. So much suffering could have been prevented if her owners had availed themselves of PETA’s “Spay and Neuter, Immediately, Please” (SNIP) mobile clinic, which spays and neuters pit bulls for free and even provides free transportation if necessary.
We wish we could say that Precious’ case was an isolated event—that it isn’t something we deal with often—but we hear every single day from dog and cat owners who don’t think that it will matter if their dog or cat has “just one litter.” In Precious’ case, her owners had no idea that newborn puppies cannot survive freezing temperatures. They didn’t know that pregnant and nursing animals require extra food to nourish their growing puppies or that they need medical care just like people do. They didn’t realize that dogs need to be treated for fleas to prevent anemia, and that dogs living in mosquito-infested, swampy areas need heartworm prevention nearly year-round or they will almost certainly contract this deadly disease.
They didn’t know any of this until it was too late for Precious and her puppies.
By taking a moment to ask your governor to sponsor mandatory sterilization legislation in 2010, you can be the voice that saves a dog like Precious.
Written by Alisa Mullins