Written by Jeff Mackey
Is the normally docile Fido suddenly starting to act hostile
when you handle him? A new study may explain why: Dogs may become more aggressive when they're in
GIANTsqurl|cc by 2.0
The researchers looked at dogs who had abruptly attacked
their guardians and discovered that, in each case, the aggressive behavior was
caused by pain. Many of the dogs were suffering from the onset of hip
dysplasia, an often-crippling disease common in many purebred dogs. (Thanks for nothing, breeders!)
A number of factors—including continuous chaining or crating—can
cause dogs to become aggressive. But if Fido suddenly turns fierce when you
touch him, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is in order—for your sake and
Today is "Take
Your Dog to Work" Day. That's celebrated every day in PETA's offices,
but many workplaces aren't yet welcoming canine companions. If your workplace is one of those, here are five great ways to make sure your dog stays happy
and healthy year-round while you toil away at the office:
Is in Style: Keep your dogs inside while you're away. Dogs left unattended
in their own yards, even for a few minutes, have been stolen, poisoned, and otherwise abused. They're also at risk for heatstroke in the
summer and frostbite, hypothermia, and dehydration in the winter.
the Crate: Locking dogs in a cage all day is simply cruel. It deprives
dogs of basic necessities, such as the freedom to walk around and look out the
window, the opportunity to relieve themselves, and the comfort of stretching
Water Everywhere: A thirsty dog is an unhappy—and, eventually, an unhealthy—one.
Make sure you leave plenty of fresh water for your faithful tail-waggers.
Need Companions, Too: If your pup is all alone, consider adopting another
dog from a shelter. That way, they can keep each other company and
chase away boredom together.
Out: A full-time workday is much too long for dogs to put their bodily
functions on hold—and they need their exercise, too. If you can't get home
often enough to let your dog out, hire a professional dog walker or engage the
services of a qualified doggie daycare center. Consider putting in a doggie door if your yard is securely privacy-fenced and locked.
Plus, of course, be sure to give your dogs plenty of love and attention when you get home. After all, they'll do the same for you!
Emma is focused on the day's next project: getting a treat!
Josie spends her days getting lots of attention in the office and lots of playtime in PETA's dog park
PETA always encourages guardians to take the best care
possible of their animal companions. These three recent news stories about dogs
at risk remind us why it's so important to stay mindful of canine care:
a frightening echo of the illnesses and deaths tied to melamine-tainted foods
from China five years ago, Chinese-made Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats for dogs and
Milo's Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats have been implicated in kidney failure, liver disease, and other
illnesses in almost 1,000 dogs, with one death reported so far. Milo's Kitchen has even paid off at least one
sick dog's guardian in exchange for a release of liability. Please check your
cupboards and be sure you're giving your dogs only healthy, wholesome treats—you
can even make your own!
is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can help reunite a Texas man with his
beloved dog, Dolly, who has been missing ever since PETCO groomers carelessly let her escape from the
store. Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident—another dog was lost (though,
fortunately, found) after bolting
from groomers at an Illinois PetSmart.
Choose your groomer carefully, and stay away from PETCO, PetSmart, and other big-box stores.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
all hazards are physical. Anyone who's suffered a broken heart knows that a
divorce or other romantic bust-up takes an emotional toll on the former
sweethearts and on their children, but companion animals can be hurt, too. An
excellent feature in the Chicago Tribune
points out what can go
wrong—or right—when guardians go their separate ways.
more tips on repaying our four-legged pals' love and devotion, check out PETA's
guide to caring for dogs.
Sophie lives with a PETA staff member and receives lots of TLC
Written by Michelle Kretzer
was one of those stories that was so appalling that people had to share it. A
PETA supporter learned from someone at her workplace about a couple who had
moved out of their house and left their St. Bernard there alone, caged in a crate 24 hours a day. She
called us immediately.
tracking down the owners, we learned that they were going once a day to give
the dog food and water but were forcing him to spend his life alone in the
crate, where he also had to relieve himself. We pressured the local police
department and animal control to talk to the couple and convince them to
surrender the dog. Thankfully, they agreed.
dog was finally free, but the stress of confinement had left him with
psychological scars. Like many dogs who are crated for an extended period of
time, he had become aggressive and developed other behavioral problems. As it
would have been dangerous to put him up for adoption, he was peacefully euthanized.
Had he not been
deprived of socialization, exercise, affection, environmental stimulation, and
everything else that was important to him, this dog might have been adoptable.
You can help by encouraging the dog guardians in your life to let their dogs do
what social pack animals do best: spend their time surrounded by family, not
stuck in a crate or on a
is believing for a team of researchers from the University of Nevada–Reno who are
developing an app to help blind people navigate independently. Giving the
visually impaired more mobility without bringing more dogs into the world to
serve as guide dogs certainly qualifies as
progress in our book, so PETA has given the team a Proggy Award.
© Eduard Kyslynskyy/Shutterstock.com
app functions much like a GPS system, gauging the user's pace, warning of
obstacles, and giving spoken directions. And unlike its canine counterpart, the
app doesn't contribute to the animal overpopulation crisis. Guide-dog breeders take homes away
from dogs in animal shelters, as dogs who have become too old to work, along with
those who don't make the
cut to begin with, must be put up for adoption. The app also doesn't
mind being required to work day after day or being forbidden from socializing
call that a doggone good invention.
Soon, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
mushers will begin driving dogs on a grueling 1,150-mile journey through frozen
being forced to run an average of 100 miles a day for two weeks, many dogs will
be suffering from conditions such as pneumonia, hypothermia, bruised and lacerated
paws, upper respiratory infections, frostbite, inflamed wrists, and shoulder
injuries. Nearly 150 dogs have died during the Iditarod
since records started being kept, and that doesn't include dogs who died after
the race was over. Some dogs die of "sled dog myopathy"—literally being
run to death.
dweekly | cc by 2.0
they won't call it what it is—cruel—even mushers admit that the dogs suffer.
During last year's race, top contender Hans Gatt reported that half his team
was "sick and eating poorly," likely because of upper respiratory
infections. Four-time champion Lance Mackey said that he didn't know what was
wrong with his dogs but that he had watched his "world-class dog team
falling apart before my very eyes." Paul Gebhardt had to forfeit the race
when his dogs couldn't continue because of dehydration, cramps, and injuries. And
Zoya DeNure had to perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation on one of her dogs, who
had collapsed in his
why do mushers continue to subject their dogs to the abuse of the Iditarod? Because
thousands of dollars in cash and prizes are at stake. But the good news is that
the purse is dwindling as corporations withdraw their sponsorship after
learning about the Iditarod's cruelty. Last year, thanks largely to PETA, the Transportation Security
pulled the plug on its $85,000 donation, and Chevron and Cabela's both called it quits
prior to 2010's race.
Please share this
with friends and family who may not realize how much dogs suffer for the
Her story is a haunting reminder of why
it should be illegal to chain
Storm was just 2 years old when she strangled to death at the end of her chain after being chained
up outdoors like a rusty old bicycle and left unsupervised.
calls about Storm's horrific death flooded our office, PETA wrote to the mayor
of the town in which she died, Portsmouth, Virginia, asking him to introduce "Storm's
Law," an ordinance
that would ban or seriously restrict chaining.
Storm's owners claim to suspect foul
play, but cruel people—who often poison or shoot dogs because they are annoyed
by their barking or steal them for use as "bait dogs" in dogfights
or to sell to laboratories
for experimentation—are only one of the many dangers that chained dogs face. Obviously,
Storm should have never been chained in her sad little mud patch to begin with.
receives hundreds of reports of chained dogs, like the one pictured here, every
Dogs can strangle or injure themselves
when their chains become tangled, or they can be attacked by other animals. Often
deprived of food, water,
veterinary care, and shelter,
chained dogs routinely suffer from a range of maladies, including malnutrition,
dehydration, flea infestations, mange, and untreated injuries, and can freeze
to death or die of heatstroke.
And dogs aren't the only ones who suffer
the ill effects of chaining. Subjecting a social pack animal to a life of
isolation contributes to aggressive behavior, making chained dogs three
times as likely to bite.
More than 120 jurisdictions
have passed laws banning or restricting chaining. If, like Portsmouth, your
area still allows dogs to be chained, please use PETA's tips
to get a chaining ordinance passed.
As viewers of the popular reality shows about hoarders can likely confirm, peering inside the homes of people who suffer from the psychological compulsion to collect things has a certain morbid attraction, until you realize the toll it takes on the families of the afflicted—and it's far worse when the "things" they're collecting are living, feeling beings.
Animal hoarding is a serious and growing problem, with hoarders taking on far more animals than they can properly care for. The number of reported cases is on the rise, leading the Animal Legal Defense Fund to call hoarding "the number one animal cruelty crisis facing companion animals in communities throughout the country."
Chillingly, the so-called "no kill" movement propagated by the likes of Nathan Winograd offers cover for these disturbed individuals, many of whom claim to be "rescuing" the animals and attempt to justify the suffering that they cause as a matter of principle. A Los Angeles Times blog post reported that a quarter of the roughly 6,000 new hoarding cases reported each year in the U.S. consist of supposed "shelters" and "rescues."
Animals kept in crates at a “no kill” shelter.
Even when rescues and animal shelters aren't hoarding animals themselves—like the self-proclaimed animal "hospice and rehabilitation center" called "Angel's Gate" and the now-defunct "Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary"—they all too often give away animals to anyone who will take them, including hoarders, to manipulate their euthanasia statistics, regardless of what tragedy that translates into for the animals.
Here are just a few recent examples:
The failure of "no kill" animal shelters and rescues to address the problems facing homeless animals—and often making matters worse—is why PETA remains focused on the solution to the animal overpopulation crisis: creating a no-birth nation. PETA's fleet of mobile low-cost veterinary clinics (responsible for sterilizing 10,564 animals in 2011 and almost 80,000 so far since 2001!) and our advocacy of strong spay-and-neuter legislation are key to keeping animals out of the hands of hoarders and other people who don't have their best interests at heart and guaranteeing that every animal born has a loving, permanent home awaiting him or her.
Volunteer to help your local animal shelter screen potential adopters and placement partners. Animal shelters can contact PETA for placement-partner applications and agreements. Please also be sure to spay or neuter your animal companions and encourage others to do the same—it's the best way to end the need for animal rescues altogether!
The length of the current economic downturn has taken its toll
both on people—many of whom are struggling to find housing
and jobs—and on
the animals who depend on them. As a result, animal shelters are receiving record numbers of abandoned
stretching their already limited resources to capacity.
Overcrowding at a limited admission (no-kill) shelter
These problems are intensified by the animal overpopulation
crisis, which, even in a strong economy, causes many animal shelters to
struggle with the burden of homeless and unwanted animals. Unlike complicated
fiscal policy, though, the solution to this problem is simple—by implementing
and enforcing mandatory spay-and-neuter laws,
communities can reduce animal populations to manageable levels, ensuring that
every animal can be cared for. PETA not only is working to promote the passage
of such legislation but also operates several mobile spay-and-neuter clinics,
sterilizing 10,564 animals in 2011 alone and nearly 80,000 to date!
Sadly, at this critical time, many animal shelters are implementing
policies without first having reduced the number of unwanted animals (though some
have now wised up).
Many of these animal shelters are betraying animals by adopting guidelines that
make the problem much worse, such as requiring appointments and admission fees
for people to surrender animals, turning away strays who aren't well socialized
because they are not adoptable (even if they're at risk of being harmed by people
who consider them a nuisance), forcing people to wait until space opens up to
take in any more animals, refusing to accept animals from outside a certain
town or region, and giving animals away for free without proper screening.
These horribly misguided practices are a blueprint for
disaster. The failure of these limited-admission policies has been proved again
and again, as in these stories from 2011:
Companion animals depend on us to take care of them, which
is why PETA accepts all animals who
need help—without requiring a fee or an appointment—whether they are suffering
from a terminal illness that requires euthanasia that their guardians can't
afford, were abandoned
during a natural disaster,
or were injured in Afghanistan and brought stateside by a caring soldier.
Is there an animal shelter that's turning away animals in
your community? Find out—and
try to ensure that it does what's right to help animals. Find out how PETA Saves Animals.
Over the last couple of days, we've told you about some of the
ways that PETA worked in 2011 to end the suffering of animals in its own "backyard"—southern
Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. PETA staffers are in the field every
day working with guardians and local authorities, delivering doghouses and
straw, providing transport to our clinics for spay/neuter procedures and other
veterinary care, and much more.
you may have read about many of the animals whose lives and futures were made
brighter by PETA's fieldworkers, which is always what we hope for. But since PETA's
hands-on work focuses on finding and helping the most abused, neglected, and
underserved animals—those whose years of illness, injury, deprivation,
exposure, and isolation typically make rehabilitation and adoption into a
loving and responsible home impossible—offering
love, kindness, and a peaceful release from suffering is sometimes the kindest
The following are a few of the animals PETA helped in 2011, along
with information about how you can help us prevent more animals from suffering from
neglect and abuse (warning—graphic images):
An elderly couple called us for a doghouse for their dog,
DJ. PETA's fieldworker discovered that DJ was not just terribly unsocialized
but also had a chain wrapped directly around his neck that had become deeply
embedded into his skin as he grew. DJ's guardians had no idea that this had
been happening and were shocked to discover his condition. They surrendered DJ
to PETA, and he is no longer suffering.
The girlfriend of the person responsible for two dogs,
Trixie and Hitler, contacted PETA because Hitler was already dead on her
property and Trixie was severely emaciated. A necropsy later confirmed that
Hitler had starved to death—the tip of his own tail was found in his stomach.
The vet determined that Trixie was about 20 pounds underweight. The animals'
guardian signed a contract agreeing not to acquire any more animals.
PETA took in this cat who was suffering from an open wound
over his entire back that was teeming with maggots. A local woman had been
feeding stray cats in her yard for months but was totally oblivious to this cat's
When little Pokey's family moved away, they simply left this ill puppy in the yard
Despite days of intensive treatment and being showered with love, Pokey's
condition deteriorated, and her veterinarian said that the most humane option
was to give her an immediate release from her suffering.
Turning away cats and dogs like these just to avoid having
to euthanize them doesn't help unwanted, suffering, and dying animals. If PETA,
like many animal shelters
cared more about how its statistics look to the public than the well-being of
the individual animals who so desperately need help, animals like Pokey would
be left to suffer and die in agony instead of being gently relieved of their
misery in the soothing embrace of probably the first and only people ever to
show them any kindness.
PETA has renewed
our call for the National Governors Association to use its influence to end animal homelessness by helping pass mandatory
spay and neuter legislation across the country in 2012, requiring dogs
and cats to be sterilized unless their owners purchase an annual breeding
permit, the cost of which would fund low-cost spay-and-neuter services. Without
such laws, animal homelessness and neglect will continue—causing animals like
DJ, Trixie, the homeless cat, and Pokey to continue to suffer.
Please join this effort by asking your governor to support strong spay and
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.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.