Like many dogs throughout the country, Cora had spent her entire life chained outside. Day and night, she could only watch from her cold, wet patch of dirt as her owners came and went and enjoyed the warmth of their house.


PETA’s fieldworkers started visiting the friendly black-and-white dog at her rural North Carolina home in 2012, first to give her a custom-built doghouse, along with straw bedding, and later to transport her to a free spay appointment. The fieldworkers returned many times to clean her food and water bowls and give her toys, treats, and ear scratches to help ease her loneliness.


Cora was so excited whenever the fieldworkers showed up that she pranced around in delight, relishing the attention they paid her. PETA fieldworkers repeatedly asked the dog’s owner if they could find her an indoor home, but her owner always refused. With no laws against chaining in that area, there was little PETA could do except continue to visit Cora and try to make her life a little less miserable.

At some point, Cora was given away to another family, and PETA lost track of her—that is, until this past Christmas. Just by chance, fieldworkers happened upon her at a new address but in the same dismal situation—chained amid mud and filth. Only this time, it was worse: Cora’s chain was now wrapped around her neck instead of attached to her collar, and it was so tight that it had become embedded in her skin, causing an oozing, bloody wound.


Cora’s new owner agreed that she needed more care than he could provide and surrendered her to PETA. Sweet Cora let PETA staff remove the heavy chain from around her neck, treat her wound, and give her a much-needed bath. Despite years of neglect, she still trusted humans and loved the attention—which was likely the most she had ever received in her entire life.


A PETA fieldworker took in Cora on Christmas Eve, and the playful pup spent her first Christmas as part of a family indoors, even tearing open presents from her new foster mom.


Once her neck had healed, Cora was ready to go to her forever home. Cora’s foster mom recently drove her to Bethesda, Maryland, where she met her new permanent guardian, Teresa, for the first time. It was love at first sight.


Now that she’s found her forever home, Cora’s days are filled with playful romps, comfy beds, and daily doses of affection and attention. Her story is one of the many reasons why PETA works so hard to help “backyard dogs.”

Together, we can help more “backyard dogs” like Cora!

1. If a chained dog’s life is in danger or if a dog is chained in an area in which chaining is illegal, call authorities.

Many counties and cities have laws addressing chained or penned dogs. See the list of such places or look up your local law on If your area doesn’t have such a law, “backyard dogs” still must have shelter, adequate food, and clean water, and they must be provided with veterinary care if they are sick or injured. If a “backyard dog” is in imminent danger—for example, if the animal is emaciated, is obviously ill or injured, or has no shelter or cannot access it—notify animal control or the police immediately. If neither responds quickly, call PETA—anytime, day or night—at 757-622-7382.

2. If chaining is permitted in your area and you know of a chained dog who is not in an emergency situation, your best bet at improving his or her life is to befriend the owner. 

Be super polite and friendly and get permission to visit and care for the dog.

  • Ask permission to take the dog for walks.
  • With the owner’s approval, offer the dog some toys and treats.
  • Visit regularly. (But be careful not to become a nuisance. Follow your instincts based on the owner’s response to your involvement.)
  • If needed, offer help with grooming, such as nail-trimming, or to take the dog to the vet.
  • Without being confrontational, talk to the owner about dogs’ needs.

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