Written by PETA
Pusuke, who held the Guinness World
Record for being the oldest
living dog, died in Japan on December
5, 2011. He was 26 years and 9 months old. He was also a mutt. Coincidence? Not
Mixed-breed dogs like Pusuke tend
to be healthier than their "purebred" cousins, because purebreds are often inbred and bred for certain unnatural and exaggerated physical traits. These harmful
practices cause many purebred animals to suffer painful and life-threatening
genetic defects, including crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart
defects, skin problems, epilepsy, and others.
to give an animal a long, happy life? Increase the odds that your animal companion
will be part of your family for many, many years and save a life by adopting a lovable, healthy mutt
from your local animal shelter.
buying a dog over the Internet sight unseen for a staggering $7,500, a Long
Island man added insult to injury by sending the dog on a terrifying 3,000-mile journey
back to the breeder in Washington state less than a week later. The dog, who was likely confused
and disoriented after the initial cross-country flight, had failed to adjust
immediately to her strange new environment, so the man essentially returned her
like a sweater he'd ordered from L.L.Bean, despite the fact that the breeder
refused to take the dog back and reportedly said that he would not pick her up at the airport. (The
breeder did eventually claim the dog but only after she'd been forced to spend
the night at an airport boarding facility.)
dog buyer could have saved himself a lot of trouble—and
the dog a lot of trauma—if he had just
taken his family to the local animal shelter, where they could have chosen from
among a plethora of great dogs. But considering that he was dumb enough to hand
over an exorbitant amount of money to a breeding operation that exacerbates the
animal homelessness crisis, allowed the dog only six days to settle into her new home, and was inconsiderate
enough to ship her off to an unknown fate in an airplane's dangerous cargo hold after tiring
of her, any responsible shelter worker would now lock the doors to this man.
for those of us who don't view animals as disposable accessories, animal shelters are the perfect place to make a permanent love connection.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
dog, Pete, attracts lots of attention on our walks—he jumps for joy like his
legs are made of pogo sticks, seeming to defy gravity as he launches his
sizable frame skyward. Along with "Did you teach him to do that?!"
(answer: no), people are always asking me, "Where did you get him?" I
guess they just assume that I bought Pete from a breeder, because his flowing
mane resembles a golden retriever's. It's fun to see their surprise when I tell
them that Pete is a mutt and that I adopted him from an animal shelter.
is "Adopt a Shelter Dog" Month, and if you're ready to commit to
caring for a canine companion, there is no better place to find your new best
friend than a shelter or rescue group. Shelters
are overflowing with dogs of all ages, personalities, and sizes—mutts and
purebreds. Just make sure that your lifestyle,
activity level, and experience will make you a good fit for the animal you're
considering. For a nominal adoption fee—hundreds less than what breeders
typically charge—your new family member will likely go home neutered, vaccinated,
dewormed, and microchipped.
has become such an important part of my life that it's difficult to think about
what might have happened if I hadn't adopted him. Every year, shelters must euthanize
3 to 4 million dogs and cats because breeders, pet stores, and people who don't
have their animals sterilized bring more animals into a world that is already tragically short on good homes.
Let's help change that this October by having our animal companions spayed and neutered
and opening our hearts and homes to a lovable, one-of-a-kind dog from a
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
Labor Day meant a long weekend for many nine-to-fivers, but some laborers
can't close up shop and forget about their jobs, even for a day. For animal
shelter workers, the stream of battered and bruised animals in need of refuge
never ends. Few people have a more emotionally challenging job than those who
punch in every day knowing that they will likely have to euthanize the animals
they've devoted themselves to helping.
We can all help ease shelter workers' burdens by doing our part to slow the
stream of homeless animals. That means always having our cats and dogs spayed
or neutered and adopting animals instead of buying them from breeders or pet
As one who has spent years volunteering at my local animal shelter, I know
that shelter staffers are some of the hardest-working people around. They scrub
poop-strewn kennels, comb animals who are matted and crawling with fleas, and
give belly rubs to dogs who have been chained up like old bicycles their entire
lives. They heft dogs onto examination tables, unload vans of 50-pound bags of
food, get bitten by petrified dogs who have known nothing but cruelty, and get
scratched by cats who are frantic after having left the home they've always
known to live in a cage surrounded by other crying felines. They cuddle cats,
throw balls for dogs, slip treats through cage bars, speak kind words, and give
many scratches behind the ears. They do their best to make the animals' stay at
the shelter as full of love as possible.
But shelters don't have a magic wand that they can wave to create loving
homes for all the animals who need them. Those who work in open-admission
shelters must also perform the thankless, gut-wrenching task of holding the
animals they've played with and loved in their arms while the euthanasia needle
slides into a vein and the light in their eyes softly flickers out. These
people are heroes for doing the right thing for animals even though it takes
such a toll on them personally.
Breeders, pet stores, and people who haven't had their animals spayed or
neutered put shelter workers in this tragic position. Every new puppy or kitten
who is brought into the world takes the chance for a home away from one of the
thousands of animals waiting in shelters. And every new puppy or kitten means
another broken heart for a brave shelter worker.
Shelter workers' jobs will never be cushy, but if more people spay and
neuter their animals before that first litter and if more people adopt the
eager-to-please dogs and cats waiting in shelters instead of buying animals, we
could dramatically reduce the number of animals euthanized for lack of a good
home. We could save thousands of lives—and make shelter workers' lives a little
bit easier too.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
As someone who has spent years volunteering at a wonderful open-admission animal shelter, it breaks my heart when people use the term "kill shelters" to refer to shelters that accept every needy animal—no matter how beat up, old, ill, or behaviorally unsound they are—and that have no choice but to give some animals a painless, dignified release through euthanasia.
This mean-spirited, misleading label is a slap in the face to the brave people who pour their hearts and souls into helping animals at open-admission shelters. I wish that those who use this term could spend a day at the receiving desk of their local full-service shelter so that they could see firsthand how badly we need open-door shelters. A steady flow of people arrive with battered, broken animals of all shapes, sizes, and species: "We call her Matty because she's full of mats," said one person who was surrendering a dog whose matted fur was infested with maggots. Matty's family was getting rid of her because they wanted a puppy.
Other reasons people have given for taking animals to the shelter include "He's sick, and I can't afford to take him to the vet," "He's chewing up everything, and my dad said he's gonna shoot him," "She's just old," "He was great as a puppy, but now he's just too big," "We just have too many animals," "They have been hanging around the house, and we don't want them," "Someone dumped them at my house," and "We're moving."
Nearly everyone leaves the shelter saying the same thing: "You won't kill him, will you?" What else can shelters do when they have a limited number of cages and an unlimited number of needy animals pouring through their doors? There is no huge farm for unwanted animals—a fantasy that many people's parents told them existed when their childhood animal friends were brought to open-admission shelters—and shelters don't have a magic wand that they can wave to create loving homes.
This name-calling hurts animals because it scares people away from surrendering animals to reputable shelters. It misleads people into thinking that taking cats and dogs to facilities that don't euthanize is the right thing to do, but animals at these places often suffer fates worse than death. These facilities are always full and have long waiting lists to accept animals, which results in people dumping animals to die on the streets, giving them away on Craigslist (a magnet for animal abusers), or abandoning them to starve in empty homes and yards after they move away.
There is no such thing as "high-kill," "low-kill," or anything in between when it comes to shelters. There are only open-admission shelters—those that provide refuge to every animal and must euthanize to ensure that their doors remain open to more needy animals—and limited-admission shelters—those that pick and choose only the cutest, youngest, and most adoptable animals and turn away everyone else.
For the sake of animals and the people who have devoted their lives to helping them, let's stop the name-calling and support shelters that are committed to doing what's best for animals— even when that's the hardest thing to do.
For those of us who repeatedly put Robert Pattinson's shirtless scene in New Moon on "pause" are fans of Robert Pattinson, there's a new reason to swoon. While he was filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn in Louisiana, the ultimate heartthrob went to the ultimate place to find a new best friend—an animal shelter—and rescued a puppy, who was traveling on a private plane with him the next day. "There is a deep connection between me and dogs," Rob noted, adding that if he could swap his human form for anything, it would be a dog.
Rob's new pup might be scampering around the Twilight set with Kellan Lutz's pal Kola, who posed with the actor in his super-cute "Adopt, Don't Buy" ad for PETA. And they'll have plenty to talk about with Christian Serratos, who would rather go naked than wear fur.
Rob, I would love to have an "Adopt, Don't Buy" ad to hang up next to my "Sixteen Months of Robert Pattinson" calendar (hint, hint). But if you'd rather go naked than wear fur, I'm fine with that too.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
As more and more people come to understand how marine animals suffer and die while held captive at SeaWorld, the cruel aquarium chain is increasingly desperate to find some way to make itself look less heartless. Now, it's attempting to ride the adorable tails of dogs and cats by offering free tickets to its theme parks prisons to people who adopt homeless animals from certain animal shelters.
Now, PETA's all for adopting animals instead of buying them from breeders or pet shops, of course, but SeaWorld's public embrace of adoption can't make up for the miseries that it continues to inflict on animals in its parks. And if you think I'm being too hard on SeaWorld, consider this—other four-legged and feathered animals "rescued" by SeaWorld are forced to join their aquatic cousins in performing stupid tricks for tourists in the parks' "Pets Ahoy" and "Pets Rule" shows.
If you live near a SeaWorld (and even if you don't), then please, by all means, give an animal a loving home by adopting from a local animal shelter. But don't give SeaWorld cover for its wicked, wicked ways by accepting its tickets.
Written by Jeff Mackey
The economic downturn has taken its toll on nearly everyone, and animals are no exception.
Animal shelters across the country are overflowing with record numbers of cats and dogs—many of whom were surrendered by people who lost their homes or could no longer afford to care for their animal companions after being laid off.
With so many animals in need of refuge, now is a terrible time for an alarming number of animal shelters to arbitrarily implement limited-admission, "no-kill" policies. These policies put animals in danger because they prompt shelters to turn animals away or they make it expensive and difficult for people who can no longer care for their animal companions to surrender them to a shelter.
The only effective way to deal with the companion animal overpopulation crisis is through aggressively pursuing laws and policies requiring people to have their animals spayed or neutered and making it easier for them to do so. When shelters refuse to take in animals—and communities fail to address the underlying causes of the problem—animals pay the price.
Under pressure from people with good intentions but no clue of the ugly reality of overpopulation—nor of the sheer number of animals who flood shelters every day—some facilities are stooping to all-time lows to manipulate their euthanasia rates. Many adopt policies and practices that endanger the very animals they should be protecting. These include charging fees for surrendering unwanted animals (sometimes outrageous fees, such as $96 for feral or stray cat "turn-ins" in Maricopa County, Arizona); requiring citizens who can't care for their animals to make appointments and "wait until there is room"; refusing to accept feral or stray cats, even when people might resort to doing them harm; refusing to accept animals from outside the invisible boundaries of a certain town or area; and giving away animals free of charge and without adequately screening adopters.
Here are just a few heart-wrenching news stories about the ways in which no-kill shelters and policies harmed animals in 2010:
PETA's small sheltering program takes in any animals who need help—even those who are aggressive, horribly injured, or terminally ill. We took in nearly 80 dogs and cats whom PETA staffers brought back from crowded New Orleans–area shelters after the Gulf oil leak nightmare dealt an additional blow to the Gulf economy.
No one ever needs to pay a fee or make an appointment to drop off an animal to PETA. Our field staff is on call 24/7; animals are accepted at all hours of the day and night. PETA's fieldworkers rushed out to help both of the following animals after receiving emergency pager calls early in the morning on weekends:
Animals like Buddy are the reason why PETA will never turn away any animal in need. Is a shelter in your community turning away animals? Work to open its doors by following these guidelines.
I don't mean to offend all the other dog parents out there, but I'm fairly certain that I have the coolest dog in the world. I don't mean to brag (well, OK, maybe I do mean to brag), but my German shepherd-something-something-something-mix, Hannah, is pretty much awesome. And, of course, she's a rescue. I love it when people ask me about Hannah because then I can tell them how many terrific animals are just hanging out at animal shelters waiting for their forever families to come along. But when you don't have an adorable rescued dog like Hannah at your side, you can still get people to ask you about animal shelters if you're wearing PETA's 'Adopt, Don't Buy' T-shirt.
Don't have one? Well, that's easy to fix—we'll give you a chance to win one just for telling us about your awesome rescued animal in the comment section below. The person who does the best job of convincing us that his or her dog or cat is the coolest in the world (the coolest dog or cat besides Hannah, of course) will win a tee that can be used to tell others to always adopt and never buy.
The contest ends on February 16, 2011, and the winner will be chosen on February 18, 2011.
Proving yet again that people who are kind to animals are winners, lovely animal rights supporter and vegetarian Brandy Kuentzel triumphed on season 10 of The Apprentice last week. Brandy was the most levelheaded and polished of all the contestants, in my book—and apparently in The Donald's as well.
Brandy, who went vegetarian while she was in law school, has volunteered at animal shelters for nearly a decade and admires the way that PETA pal Alicia Silverstone promotes a vegan lifestyle. Let's hope that Brandy's animal-friendly ways will rub off on the entire Trump organization!
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.