Every year, PETA releases a report showing how many animals were taken into our shelter and what became of them. Many were given to PETA to be euthanized because they were elderly, feral, sick, suffering, dying, aggressive, or otherwise unadoptable, but that is only a small part of our work for needy animals in the impoverished communities surrounding our Norfolk, Virginia, office.
Lawn Ornaments, Security Systems, and Status Symbols
PETA works to educate by example, offers free wellness and veterinary services where none others exist, and shows many lonely, neglected, and forgotten animals the basic kindness, respect, and consideration that most of them have never experienced.
I see dogs chained without shade in the burning-hot summer sun, penned for life amid their own filth, yelled at, or forgotten. We improve their lot as best we can, try to persuade people to allow them indoors, show people how to care for them in basic ways, and offer euthanasia for those animals who are too far gone and unadoptable.
Most of the dogs PETA’s fieldworkers assist are pit bulls, who are arguably the most abused breed on the planet. Many of the pit bulls we see spend their entire lives isolated and alone on a heavy logging chain, watching as life passes them by—without love, companionship, exercise, or even, in many cases, basic necessities, such as regular food, clean water, adequate shelter, or veterinary care.
We do everything we can to make their lives better. We deliver free, sturdy, custom-built doghouses and straw bedding to those who would otherwise go without any protection, and we replace heavy chains with lightweight tie-outs and swap tight, makeshift collars with comfortable ones that fit.
PETA helped 5,000 “backyard dogs” in 55 cities in 2013.
We routinely visit these dogs in order to monitor their health and living conditions, improving both by treating flea and other parasitic infestations, applying anti-flystrike ointment to their ears in the summer, providing water buckets, shaving matted fur, offering food, giving them a toy to play with, and showing them affection.
In 2013, PETA delivered more than 350 doghouses and more than 1,000 bales of straw bedding to needy “backyard dogs.” PETA’s program has given away nearly 6,000 doghouses since its inception.
PETA also works to restrict and ban the continuous chaining of dogs in jurisdictions across our service area. In recent years, thanks to our efforts, almost all the cities in PETA’s bailiwick have passed ordinances to regulate this cruel practice, and PETA is working with a number of jurisdictions in northeastern North Carolina to do the same. While we have found many formerly chained dogs wonderful forever homes, many others whose bodies and spirits have been devastated by years of solitary confinement are beyond socialization―too aggressive and otherwise unsuitable candidates for adoption. Those who show some promise of adoptability are found new homes or transferred to high-traffic open-admission shelters for a chance at finding a new life.
Euthanasia: A Painless Way out of a Pain-Filled Life
In 2013, PETA took in and euthanized 1,805 feral, sick, suffering, dying, aggressive, and otherwise unadoptable animals.
More than 400 of those animals were brought to us by loving but destitute guardians who were desperate to relieve their animal companions’ suffering from old age, illness, or injury. PETA provides this free community service, which most other shelters do not.
Many dogs and cats came to us after having been turned away by “no-kill” facilities, such as the Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Portsmouth Humane Society—which reject unadoptable animals in order to keep their euthanasia statistics low while criticizing PETA for taking in animals no one else will euthanize.
Beyond the ‘Numbers’—the Animals You Don’t Hear About
In 2013, we saved hundreds of thousands of animals through our community outreach programs and prevention!
Our fleet of mobile spay-and-neuter clinics sterilized 11,229 dogs and cats, including 887 pit bulls and 890 feral cats, helping to reduce the suffering that results when animals enter a world in which so many of them are already literally dying for lack of a good home.
We transported more than 500 dogs and cats to and from our clinics, free of charge, for people who have no transportation.
We assisted more than 1,500 indigent families in keeping animals they were about to give up, by providing free medical services, including repairing prolapsed organs, removing tumors and ruptured growths, removing injured eyes, amputating legs, performing drainage surgery for hematomas, and treating ear, skin, and upper respiratory infections.
We counseled more than 2,300 people and helped them keep their animals by showing them how to cope with behavioral quirks, housetraining woes, and more.
We delivered 329 adoptable animals to high-traffic open-admission shelters and referred many others to them so that we could concentrate on helping the ones no one would ever want.
And we found wonderful permanent homes for 66 dogs, cats, and rabbits in 2013―truly “forever homes” because, instead of just giving animals away, we carefully screen potential adopters and place vital safeguards on all our adoptions.
PETA Associate Director
Euthanasia of homeless animals exists because people continue to buy animals, instead of adopting them, and breed animals, instead of sterilizing them. Those simple choices can either hurt or help countless animals.
How to Help Dogs and Cats
You can make a difference! Please help us end animal homelessness by adopting animals and never buying them, by spaying or neutering your animals, and by working to pass laws that would require animal-care standards and that would ban tethering, breeding, and the selling of animals in pet shops. Volunteer at your local animal shelter. And please, when you see animal abuse, always try to stop it or at least report it.
Pledge to End Animal Homelessness