Killer Heat Wave Causes PETA to Press Gov. Cooper to Declare State of Emergency for Chained, Penned Dogs

For Immediate Release:
July 26, 2023

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Raleigh, N.C. – Temperatures are in the 90s this week, and the National Weather Service predicts they’ll rise as high as 100 degrees across North Carolina next week, so today PETA fired off a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper asking him to declare a state of emergency that would prohibit keeping dogs chained or penned outside in extreme heat, in which, the group’s experience shows, most will experience extreme suffering and some will die of heatstroke.

“As temperatures climb sky-high, dogs left in pens and on chains with no way to escape the unbearable heat will suffer and die,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is urgently requesting Gov. Cooper to declare an emergency for dogs kept outside now in order to prevent them from baking to death.”

In its letter, the group explains that at least 67 animals have died from heat-related causes in the U.S. just this year and that the actual number is likely far higher, as most deaths go unreported. In the northeastern part of the state, PETA’s rescue team has found suffering and dying dogs chained or penned in the summer without adequate water, shelter, or veterinary care. Others have been found dead, as in the case of two Bertie County dogs whose chains tangled together and left them unable to reach shade or water—leading PETA to launch a local messaging blitz that includes an image of the dogs.

A dog’s natural temperature is already higher than a human’s, making them more vulnerable to heatstroke, and they’re unable to sweat as humans do because their skin doesn’t have pores like those of humans. They frantically pant to stay cool, but it gives them little relief as the temperature and humidity soar. When the air around them is hot and humid, they can’t effectively regulate their body temperature.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Cooper follows.

Dear Governor Cooper:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our nearly 155,000 members and supporters in North Carolina to urge you to declare a state of emergency for dogs right away because of excessive heat and humidity in the forecast. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures as high as 100 degrees across the state in the next week, during what experts are calling the hottest month in recorded history. North Carolina is about to become Death Valley for dogs who are chained outside, often with no way to escape the heat or direct sunlight. Dogs will suffer and die. Here’s what we know:

Every year, PETA’s rescue team—which does hands-on work in the northeastern part of your state—finds suffering, dying, and even dead dogs confined to pens and/or with heavy chains around their necks. Dogs kept penned or chained outdoors often go without adequate water, sometimes without any, and often lack proper or any shelter or veterinary care as they are confined to the same tiny patch of dirt day in and day out. Already this year, at least 67 animals have reportedly died from heat-related causes in the U.S. The actual number is likely far higher, as most deaths go unreported. That is why PETA is working with North Carolina state legislators to pass legislation to prohibit keeping dogs chained in extreme temperatures and other dangerous weather conditions. The photographs and case studies are horrific.

PETA has also launched a multimedia messaging blitz that includes an image of two dogs found dead by our fieldworkers in Bertie County. Their chains were tangled together, leaving them unable to reach shade or water.

We urge you to act today by declaring a state of emergency that prohibits keeping dogs chained or penned outside in dangerous weather conditions such as the ones we are experiencing now.

Thank you for your consideration of this vital matter. PETA stands ready to provide draft language or other assistance as needed.

Most respectfully,

Daphna Nachminovitch

Senior Vice President

Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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