Newport News Native Antoine Bethea’s Latest Play: Dog Defense

49ers Safety Urges Sports Fans to Keep Dogs Inside With the Family—Never Chained Outdoors—in New PETA Campaign

For Immediate Release:
November 6, 2014

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Newport News, Va. – With temperatures dropping across the country, Newport News native and San Francisco 49ers safety Antoine Bethea is teaming up with PETA for a new campaign that urges dog guardians to keep their canine family members indoors and never chain them up outside—especially during the winter months. In the new ad (available here), Antoine appears with a canine friend next to the words “Real Men Keep Their Dogs Safe and Never Chain Them.”

In an exclusive video interview with PETA, Bethea drives home some of the reasons why keeping dogs outdoors at the end of a chain is cruel: “You wouldn’t stay outside all day without food or water,” he says, “so why would you do that to an animal, an animal who really depends on you to love him and care for him?” That’s why Bethea’s dog, Ali, stays indoors. “He’s fun, hyper, full of joy, and he’s just a good dog in general,” says Bethea. “We’ve grown to love him—he’s just another member of our family.”

Bethea went to Denbigh High School in Newport News—the only city in Hampton Roads whose public officials have yet to pass legislation to protect dogs who are forced to live outdoors on chains. Most chained dogs spend their entire lives in the same few square feet of space, forcing them to eat and sleep in an area that’s covered with their own waste. These highly social pack animals are deprived of the interaction they need, which can make them aggressive—and nearly three times more likely to attack. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—continues to appeal to Newport News City Council to join Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Hampton in prohibiting or significantly restricting the continuous chaining of dogs.

Bethea is part of a growing list of athletes—including Terrell Suggs,  Tony Gonzalez, Ty Lawson, and Glenn Dorsey, among many others—who’ve teamed up with PETA to fight cruelty to animals.

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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