Written by Jeff Mackey
When it comes to helping animals, patience and persistence are often key, as was the case with these emaciated
horses in Wisconsin. PETA learned about the animals' plight from a concerned
person who had already convinced the sheriff's department to monitor their
condition, even though the officers said that they could not seize the horses.
PETA's Cruelty Investigations Department exhorted law
enforcement to try to reason with the owners—and it worked. The owners agreed
to surrender custody of the horses, admitting that they didn't have enough
money to care for them. The recovering equines now have plenty to eat and are
safe on a wonderful farm.
So please never give up on assisting animals in jeopardy, even if you're told that no laws are being broken. Maybe you just have to
connect with the one officer who is willing to go above
and beyond the call of duty—but what matters is that help arrives in time.
Written by Alisa Mullins
If you've ever wondered why we have a
dog and cat overpopulation
crisis, which is so bad that 6 to 8 million "pets" enter animal shelters every year—and that's not even counting the millions of strays
who never make it to shelters—look no further
than Halley. This mother dog was left to survive as best she could after her
owners moved away and left her behind like an unwanted sofa on the curb.
Halley miraculously managed to survive
by herself for several months until a passerby called PETA to report having
seen her roaming the streets. She appeared to be nursing puppies, but neighbors
who had heard the puppies crying weeks earlier hadn't heard a peep out of them
in nearly a month. We feared the worst.
Our cruelty caseworker advised the
passerby to set up a feeding station for Halley at a vacant home in order to discourage
her from straying further away, and we got in touch with local members of
who set about trying to trap the skittish dog. When they arrived at the
property to set up a humane box trap, they found the puppies hiding under the
The little ones were whisked off to a
veterinarian. After several days, the volunteers managed to trap Halley, and
she was spayed and reunited with her pups. The family—minus two puppies who
have already been adopted—is being boarded while permanent homes can be found. (You
can see more photos of them on Unchain Oklahoma's Facebook page.)
If you suspect that an animal has been
abandoned or is being neglected or abused, please err on the side of compassion.
Always call authorities. If you're mistaken, the worst that can happen is that
you'll put a few more miles on an officer's odometer. And if the authorities
don't respond, contact PETA.
Ever wondered what it's like to take part in one of PETA's undercover investigations? Tune in to the Discovery
Channel tonight, January 28, at 8 p.m. Eastern time for an episode of Extreme Smuggling that shines a light on
the trafficking of exotic and endangered wildlife and the investigative work that's
crucial to fighting this cruel and illicit trade in living beings.
The program will feature PETA Senior Vice President of
Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch, who will discuss PETA's seven-month undercover
investigation of a massive international wholesale dealer of exotic animals, U.S. Global
Exotics, Inc. (USGE). PETA's investigation led to the immediate closure of USGE, the largest animal seizure in U.S. history, and the pursuit of USGE's owner Jasen Shaw on federal charges of smuggling, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting. Shaw
remains a wanted fugitive.
Hundreds of thousands of animals of all kinds were cruelly
confined, severely crowded, and denied basic necessities such as food, water,
space, heat, and veterinary care during their time in USGE's filthy warehouse. Most
animals' ultimate destination was stores such as PetSmart and
PETCO, massive commercial chains that sell wild animals stolen from their
native homes, imported into the U.S. from breeding warehouses overseas, or bred and sold by massive
mills such as Atlanta-based Sun
Pet and Rainbow World Exotics, a Texas-based dealer that bought animals from USGE and supplied animals to
PETCO and PetSmart stores.
PETA's investigation led to the rescue of more than 26,000 animals from the USGE hellhole.
What You Can Do
Animals sold by PetSmart, PETCO, and other pet stores are
wild-caught or bred in horrific
conditions, leaving countless animals to endure a miserable life in captivity, deprived of
all that is natural and important to them. Please buy your animal-care supplies
only from stores that do not sell any live animals.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
The strain of months of neglect showed
on the horses' emaciated frames and in their sunken eyes. Confined to muddy
pens that had long since been grazed out, they could only stare at the grass
out of reach beyond the fence. They continually checked their dry water
troughs, hoping that the rainy Washington weather would leave them a sip of water. Two
dogs on the property fared no better. They waited listlessly for the once-a-week
drop-by from their owner, when they would finally get to eat.
People who lived near the property where
the animals were kept had called law enforcement time and again to report that
the seven horses and the dogs
were being neglected.For months, officials had been trying to get the
animals’ owner to improve their living conditions, but the situation was
getting worse. Finally, a neighbor called PETA and, at our urging, law
enforcement seized all the animals. Several community
residents stepped up to foster the horses and help them recover and the local animal shelter took in the dogs. A
confirmed that one of
them was a full 40 pounds underweight.
Now, the horses and dogs are eating well and regaining
their strength. And PETA is working with
the district attorney to get cruelty charges filed against the animals' neglectful
owner and we will push for the court to ban her from owning any more animals.
Update: Brent Justice and Ashley
Richards have been indicted
by a federal grand jury for creating and
distributing animal crush videos. They have been transferred into federal
custody, where they will remain until they stand trial. Justice and Richards
each face up to 45 years in federal prison and up to $1.75 million in
fines. This is the first federal indictment of a crush video case in the United
Originally posted on August 21:
After PETA was alerted to violent fetish videos sold online showing
puppies, kittens, rabbits, mice, and other animals who were tortured in ways that would make even a hardened person
Cruelty Investigations Department staffers worked around the clock to find the perpetrators. Thanks to skillful sleuthing and
with the help of the Animal
Beta Project, PETA determined that the alleged producers of the videos lived in Houston,
Texas, and rushed the evidence to local authorities. Two days later, the
Houston Police Department (HPD) arrested
Brent Justice and Ashley Richards, two suspects believed to be involved
in an international video sales scheme, on felony warrants and charged them with animal torture.
Photo: Houston Police Department/Houston Chronicle
PETA applauds the HPD and the Harris County District Attorney's Office
for their swift action. We will be pushing for federal charges as well, as
making crush videos is a violation of federal law. Such videos feature animals, including mice, puppies, kittens, and rabbits, slowly tortured to death for the sexual gratification of
Charges for both suspects result from a video that PETA gave to the HPD, in which a woman prosecutors say is Richards is shown
cutting the leg and slashing the neck and throat of a puppy before beheading
the struggling animal with a meat cleaver. Richards also faces charges related
to the torture and killing of a cat in a 2010 video. As the Houston Chronicle reports, a "judge halted the reading of the court documents during a hearing last week because the details were too graphic." Richards has reportedly admitted to killing hundreds of
animals over the years. The investigation is
As this case shows, for animals in danger, one phone call or e-mail can the make the difference between life and (perhaps a horrible) death.
Please, if you witness or hear about cruelty to animals, never be silent.
When officials in a New Jersey city drained most of a park
pond to dredge the
sides, workers drained too much water, and numerous fish
were stranded on the banks and suffocated. The fish who survived were huddled in
shallow pools that were nearly frozen and were trying to stay alive in the
PETA's phone lines lit up like a
Christmas tree, and we sprang into action. We alerted city officials to the tragic
situation, asking for more water to be added to the pond, and sent out an action alert
to our supporters, who bombarded officials with pleas to save the fish. Within 24
hours, the pond was being refilled, and the surviving fish could breathe a
Time and time again, animals' lives have
been saved because PETA members like you demanded action. Thank you. And if you
haven't joined our e-mail list yet, please do so today.
The landlord didn't know how long they
had been suffering there. He just knew that when he arrived at the central Utah
house from which he had evicted the tenants, he discovered six dogs, 12 cats,
and a group of horses who had been left behind. He called the sheriff's
department for help, but when the city humane society informed police that they
were not allowed to accept animals from outside city limits, officers didn't
know what to do.
For four days, the landlord waited for
help while making sure the animals at least had food and water. The horses were
able to graze and were OK. But the 12 feral cats
inside the home had been left with no suitable place to relieve themselves. Two
of the dogs were left sitting in crates amid their own waste and were too
aggressive for the landlord to let them out or even give them food and water.
The other four short-haired dogs were left outside in a barren pen without
protection from the weather. On the fourth day, fearing that the dogs would
freeze to death as the temperature dipped into single digits, the landlord called PETA.
Caseworkers arranged boarding for the
dogs at a veterinarian's office, and the police agreed to transport the dogs
and pay the bill. The landlord worked on trapping the feral cats and taking
them to a shelter that could accept them. After everything the dogs had been
through, they were either too aggressive to be placed for adoption or were
very, very sick, so they were given a humane, peaceful release.
The horses, however, were healthy and even-tempered and were placed in new homes.
The sheriff's department is searching for the runaway owners and hopes to file cruelty
The adage "If at
first you don't succeed, try, try again," is especially true when trying
to protect animals. You may encounter roadblocks, but with
perseverance, you can save animals from suffering
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
We may never know how
more than a dozen pigeons, crows, seagulls, and other wild birds ended up
crammed into filthy cages in a hoarder's home, but when PETA heard about
the birds—who were spotted piled on the sidewalk after the hoarder was evicted—our
Cruelty Investigations Department
contacted animal control and alerted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
to potential violations of the state cruelty statute and federal Migratory Bird
Treaty Act, all the birds—some of whom appeared to be sick and suffering from
heat exhaustion—were seized, and officers launched an investigation.
Not only is it
illegal to possess most wild birds without a permit issued by the USFWS, these animals were also victims
a mental illness in which the hoarder compulsively acquires more animals than
he or she can properly care for. Animals are often "warehoused" in
filthy cages and carriers and denied clean water, adequate food, and veterinary
care. Accumulated waste and filth often lead to infections and the spread of parasites
and contagious diseases.
If you ever suspect
someone may be an animal hoarder, immediately contact law-enforcement
officials—following up if necessary to make sure that action is taken. PETA's report on hoarding
contains more information about how to protect animals.
Written by PETA
Downed cows—those who are
too sick or injured to stand up—are of little use
to callous cattle auctioneers. So when a cow collapsed at a Texas livestock
auction company, what did the employees do? They simply wrapped a chain around
her leg, attached the chain to a truck, dragged the cow into a dirt lot next to
the auction area, and left her for dead. With no food or water, she would have eventually died from
dehydration or succumbed to her illness or injury.
saw the cow being dragged to the lot and left there, but when he saw that she
was still in the same spot three days
later, he called PETA.
After making several phone calls to the auction company owner, we were able to
convince him to euthanize the dying cow and spare her from one moment more of suffering.
neither "downers" nor this kind of treatment of them is unusual on factory farms,
at auctions, or at slaughterhouses.
By simply swapping meat-based dishes for their scrumptious, meatless counterparts, we can avoid
supporting facilities that treat living beings like broken-down farm equipment.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
We don't know how
long several horses
on a property in rural Iowa spent mired in their own waste, but when a witness
alerted PETA to their plight, the horses' barn floor was covered with manure up
to 4 feet deep in some places.
PETA's Cruelty Investigations
contacted local animal control officers immediately, and the agency forced the
property owner to improve the horses' situation. It took several visits from
law-enforcement officials, but the continued pressure was enough to convince the
owner to build a spacious new barn. The horses now have a clean, new living
space and plenty of pasture to graze.
If you notice an
animal who is forced to live in filth or who is in trouble in any way, contact police
and/or animal control, and follow up—repeatedly, if necessary—to make sure that
the animal gets help. (You can look up the number now and save it to your cell
phone or post it on your fridge to be prepared for emergencies.) If you do not
get an appropriate response, let us know.
by Heather Faraid Drennan
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.