Written by Michelle Kretzer
A PETA staffer walking to the Los
Angeles office one morning spotted an opossum sitting in the middle of the road, bleeding from her mouth. Several men were
jabbing her with sticks.
Look closely: Even when injuries
aren’t obvious, an animal may be suffering.
With the help of several coworkers, the
staffer cleared everyone from the area. Then she gathered up the opossum and
drove to the nearest animal shelter so that the injured animal could be assessed.
Shelter staff determined that the opossum was a mother carrying a pouch full of
babies and that her injuries were quite severe: Euthanasia was deemed the most merciful option for
both the mother and her babies. The staffer's speedy response saved this opossum family from being hit by
another car, being further tormented by cruel people, or suffering and slowly
dying from their injuries or from heatstroke, dehydration, or starvation.
If you spot an injured animal on the road, please don't leave
the animal to suffer. If you can safely collect the animal, transport him or
her to the nearest animal shelter or vet's office for assessment and/or euthanasia.
If you don't think that you can contain the animal, call the police or animal
control, stress the urgency of the situation, and stay with the animal until
help arrives. If all local options fail, please call PETA.
Written by Jeff Mackey
When someone in New Jersey
noticed that kids were pestering a goose who was sitting in the grass outside the
woman's apartment—and that the goose didn't fly away or fight back—it became
clear that the bird was injured. Her wing was drooping badly, and she was weak
and lethargic. With a friend's assistance, the goose was moved to a laundry
area to protect her from harassment and predators, but lacking a car, the
rescuer couldn't transport her to a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (since Canada geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act), as advised by authorities.
Fortunately for the goose, her
protector called PETA. Although there were no agencies in the area able to
retrieve an injured wild animal and transport her to a licensed rehabilitation facility
(this isn't uncommon since wildlife rehab centers are usually volunteer-run, without
staff to rescue or transport animals), PETA's caseworker located a rehabilitator who was willing to accept the bird—but that had already closed for the day.
With the rehabber's permission, the caller held the goose overnight. (Bless her
In the morning, PETA was able to
find an animal advocate to transport the bird to the rehabilitator, which
required driving for nearly three hours in all. (Bless his kind heart, too!)
The bird's injury was old, which
explains why she was so easy to catch. A wing was broken, and the surrounding
tissue was badly infected and necrotic. The bird was slowly dying from the
infection and had gotten to the point at which she had no energy to fight. The
goose had probably also lost her mate, which would cause depression in the
long-term. It was determined that the kindest course of action was to end her
suffering through properly administered euthanasia.
This case shows how one person can make a difference for an
animal in distress. If these compassionate people hadn't helped this goose, she
might still be lingering in agony—or dead after a violent attack by predators
(or simply cruel humans). Please never ignore animals who need help. Even if
the best-case scenario entails euthanasia, that's far kinder than leaving an
animal to endure prolonged suffering.
When PETA learned about a horse in
Washington state who appeared very thin and sickly, we contacted animal
control, which refused to help him. Fortunately, we knew a local humane
investigator who agreed to go and check on the horse.
The horse's owners said they were giving
him plenty of food and water but that he was still losing weight. A checkup by
a veterinarian the humane investigator had brought along revealed a simple
solution: The horse's teeth had become overgrown, so he needed to have them filed
down so that he could chew properly. After getting the much-needed veterinary
care, the relieved horse began to eat. He has subsequently gained weight and is
looking much healthier.
People often acquire animals on a whim, without
knowing how to care for them properly. When your friends and family are
thinking about bringing home a new animal, offer them PETA's factsheet along with that new toy or treats so that they know what they're getting into—and
so that the animal goes to a home that's prepared.
Her left thigh was split wide open, exposing a festering wound the size of a baseball. The stray cat had suffered for months while the infected wound worsened, before a PETA supporter spotted her and contacted us for help.
Knowing that the cat was likely in immense pain, we quickly got local officials to set up a trap and also enlisted several dedicated volunteers to set up and monitor traps and search around the clock for the elusive cat. It took four days and no small amount of effort, but a savvy rescuer finally caught the scared, hurting animal and rushed her to a veterinarian.
Seeing how severe the cat's injuries were, the vet recommended euthanasia, and she was freed from her suffering.
From talking to other people in the area, PETA caseworkers surmised that some had seen the suffering cat but never did anything to help. Animals pay the price when we count on "other people" to help them. When you see an animal in need, please take immediate action. Call animal control or the police, and if both are unresponsive, call PETA for help.
In Tucson, Arizona, a dog, Pina, who had been hit by a car, was
forced to drag herself around her neighborhood for three weeks, while residents
turned away from her obvious misery. Finally, after one kind person called for
help when Pina struggled up to her front door, PETA located the dog's guardian.
A PETA caseworker was contacted and arranged for Pina to be examined by a
veterinarian, who determined that the dog was suffering from severe injuries, and
her guardian agreed to have her euthanized to spare her further anguish.
ETersigni|cc by 2.0
Pina's prolonged suffering could have been prevented if
those who saw her struggles had taken action immediately. Being a good neighbor
shouldn't stop with humans—please never ignore an animal in need of help.
It's a common occurrence at PETA: We
received an e-mail from a woman in Illinois who knew that her 18-year-old cat
was suffering and needed to be euthanized, but she was unable to afford euthanasia at her veterinarian's office. So she asked
if PETA could help cover the cost.
The cat's weight had dropped to an alarming
3 pounds. She had begun to stumble
and fall when she tried to walk, and she cried often. Her guardian knew that ending the animal's agony was the right thing to do, and so did we, so PETA quickly arranged for the cat
to be euthanized.
Dan Zen|cc by 2.0 Don't let fear of your own pain cause a dear old friend to suffer
Saying "Goodbye" to an animal
family member is one of the hardest things we will ever have to face. But after
they have devoted their lives to us, we owe it to them not to make them suffer
just because we can't bring ourselves to say "Goodbye."
If you know of an animal at the end of
his or her life who is suffering because his or her guardian doesn't want to
say "Goodbye" or cannot afford the veterinary bill for euthanasia,
contact PETA for help.
Written by PETA
Here's a prime example of why feeding wildlife is cruel, not kind. People had been feeding a doe who was living in a residential area. This caused the doe to lose her healthy fear of humans, and she likely walked right up to the cruel person who shot her in the face with an arrow.
This doe had been living with the broken-off arrow lodged in her badly infected sinus cavity for weeks. After some urging from PETA, authorities were able to tranquilize her, remove the arrow, and treat her infection. Thankfully, the doe is improving, and she now has a fawn.
This story ended happily, but many other encounters between semi-tame wildlife and unkind humans do not. Please, resist the temptation to feed deer and other wildlife so that when they encounter someone who is not as kind as you are, they do the right thing: run away as fast as they can.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
A skeletal downed horse who was too weak and sick even to move to get a drink of water was left to suffer under the scorching Midwestern sun for days until PETA received a call from a concerned witness. We called local officials, who quickly dispatched officers to the scene. Appalled by the horse's obvious severe suffering, they quickly and humanely put her out of her misery. But she was not the only horse in trouble.
Four other wretchedly thin horses were surrendered to authorities, and PETA was able to locate a boarding and rescue facility that agreed to transport all four horses, board them, and arrange for much-needed veterinary care while we worked with our contacts in the area to find permanent placement for them. The rescue group adopted one of the horses, and a reputable animal shelter in Oklahoma was able to place the other three. It must have taken months of neglect and privation for the horses to become as thin and sick as this—but with proper care, they have all gained weight and their health is improving. Encouraged by PETA, officials are now considering pressing charges against the horses' owners for cruelty to animals.
Thanks to one quick-thinking individual's phone call, one horse was spared from further agony and four horses were saved from enduring the same misery as their fallen comrade. If you ever see an animal who appears to be suffering, please, be that one person who picks up the phone.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
The situation was dire for more than 30 dogs and puppies languishing at the home of a hoarder in rural Georgia. Confined to cramped cages, chained, or simply running loose on the unfenced property, the dogs were filthy and crawling with fleas, and some were losing their hair because of untreated mange. Their owner couldn't even afford to feed them, so most of the dogs had no food. The water they had was dirty, and they were heartbreakingly emaciated. Because of limited resources, none of the dogs had been spayed or neutered either, so they were breeding uncontrollably, and the situation was only going to get worse.
After being alerted to the dogs' plight, PETA contacted PETA member and activist extraordinaire Anna J. Ware, who works closely with the Atlanta Humane Society (AHS). The AHS team leapt into action and departed the very next day, drove for six hours, and rescued every dog on the property.
Now, the happy pups are getting much-needed food, veterinary care, and socialization. And while they wait for the homes and families they deserve, they're being smothered with TLC.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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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.