DWTS Winner Sharna Burgess Is Stunned by What She Sees With PETA

For the first time, PETA’s Community Animal Project (CAP) was joined by a very special guest—Dancing With the StarsSharna Burgess. She saw firsthand the deplorable conditions that dogs endure in many rural backyards in Virginia and North Carolina.

CAP goes into the most underserved neighborhoods in those states and delivers food, doghouses, and bedding to neglected dogs who have never known a kind word or touch. CAP also routinely provides these all-but-forgotten animals with food, water, treats, toys, dewormer, and preventives for fleas, ticks, and flystrike.

Sharna saw dogs chained or leashed in solitude, often with no food or fresh water. The shock of it was almost too much to take in—and far too much for “outdoor dogs” to endure. She saw just how desperate they all were for a little attention and affection.

Many dogs are considered to be beloved members of the family and have warm, loving homes, but others are far less fortunate. Those who are chained, penned, or simply left alone in backyards are often “out of sight, out of mind”—deprived of adequate food, water, and veterinary care. Many are also denied adequate shelter—if they’re given any at all—often having nothing more than an overturned trash bin or a plastic barrel to protect them from the elements. On freezing winter nights, they shiver desperately and curl up into a ball in an attempt to fight off the cold. In the blazing summer sun, soaring temperatures can cause heat stress, injury, or death. While a doghouse is no substitute for a real home, it can provide a chained dog with some protection from the sun, wind, rain, and snow. Many of the dogs Sharna and PETA’s team encountered were panting heavily, desperate for shade and fresh water. They saw dogs who were chained, covered with fleas, and happy for even the tiniest bit of attention.

Dogs are social pack animals who feel loneliness, fear, pain, and frustration. They’re referred to as “man’s best friend” for a reason: They crave human companionship and deserve a loving human family.

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“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