A Week in the Life of PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department

Published by PETA.

On an average day, PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department (CID) receives dozens of phone calls from caring individuals reporting cases of animal abuse. When an animal is in trouble, our caseworkers fly into action. Able to leap great obstacles for a single hound, they help fight injustice, collar bad guys, and rescue animals in distress. Seriously. In an average week, CID caseworkers process more than 300 reports of cruelty. Here are just a few of the many animals they recently helped:

  • Warning, not a nice picture: We got veterinary care for this Texas horse, whose eye injury had been rotting for weeks. Charges are in the works.
  • Chevy was shot by a Los Angeles cop. Since his guardian was broke, we got Chevy to a vet who patched him up.
  • We persuaded officials in Ohio to free a baby skunk from a trap in which he was being starved to death (and to seize the trap).
  • We worked with California officials to secure veterinary attention for this poor bull, who was suffering from a badly injured leg.
  • A deputy sheriff turned to PETA to help two starving pits bulls. Within hours, both were rescued and taken to a vet. Charges are being filed.
  • We convinced San Francisco authorities to go to a hellhole of an Asian market, where they seized 10 injured frogs and issued written warnings.
  • When we learned that some officials of a state department of natural resources were advising callers in how to drown raccoons (e.g., telling them to place the animal in a cage and submerge the cage in water for 15 minutes), we got involved—and now the agency will suggest only humane animal control methods.
  • A Las Vegas resident found a baby bird and was going to keep the animal as a pet, but with the help of her apartment’s janitor, we made sure that the baby and mom were happily reunited.
  • When a PETA member found this pigeon with a broken wing and leg, we helped her get the bird to a vet’s office, where the animal was quickly euthanized.
  • An Anaheim, California, landlord boarded up a nest of baby swallows in an attic and was going to bug-bomb the nest (the mother bird was frantic). We worked until we found officials to make sure that this didn’t happen, and the family was reunited.
  • A Virginia car rental company was using glue traps. We explained the cruelty of glue traps, and the company pulled them.
  • This bird had died and others were struggling in faulty deterrent netting at a Georgia shopping center. We made sure that all survivors were freed and the net was removed.
  • A 12-year-old Florida dog named Tiara was suffering from heart failure, and her owner was indigent. We got this poor dog rushed to a vet, and she was mercifully euthanized.
  • Some kind callers paged us when they found an injured piglet on a South Dakota roadside. The piglet will now be looked after at a sanctuary for the rest of her days.


These cases are a reminder of why it’s vital to report cruelty to animals immediately. PETA’s CID needs your help to prevent other animals from meeting a similar fate. Keep your eyes open for animals in need, be a nosy neighbor, trust your instincts, and always alert police or animal control officials right away if you know or suspect that animals are being abused or neglected.

Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind