Heads-up: Some of the following images are graphic and disturbing. 

The staff members of PETA’s Community Animal Project (CAP) come across the most horrific cases of cruelty to animals that you can imagine—animals with huge tumors, animals literally eaten alive by maggots, animals who have heavy metal chains embedded into infected wounds on their neck, and worse.

I can tell you from personal experience that in cases where animals are chained 24/7 in backyards; left to eat, breathe, and sleep in their own urine and poop; deprived of water, food, shelter, veterinary care, and love, it is the animals we aren’t able to free from chains—not the ones that we euthanize (because they are determined to be unadoptable and the kindest option for them is a humane death)—who haunt me the most.

Take Chichi, for example. It was 32 degrees outside when we found her. She was in a small cage with no proper shelter, shivering and dangerously thin. With her were her five puppies who all had bloated stomachs. According to the person at the house, Chichi “hadn’t eaten in a while.” There was no food or water for her or her babies. Her eyes pleaded for help.

Chichi, a dog saved by PETA's Community Animal Project

Chichi’s owner allowed PETA to remove her from that place but held on to her puppies. Chichi came to PETA’s Sam Simon Center and sat in one of our doggie guestrooms, receiving affection and care for probably the first time in her life. I spent every minute I could with her, trying to make up for the time she spent being unloved.

Chichi, a dog saved by PETA's Community Animal Project

It was soon after this picture was taken that it became clear that Chichi was not well. Not only was she emaciated, unsocialized, and scarred from a rough life, she also started to bleed from her nipples and was having a harder and harder time breathing. PETA’s CAP team euthanized her. Shelters nearby are overrun with cute, healthy, adoptable animals, and Chichi shouldn’t have been forced to compete with them when it was so clear that she was suffering.

It is never an easy decision, but it is the humane one. Just like it was for these animals who were also offered a merciful end by PETA’s compassionate and brave CAP workers:

Diamond, a cat saved by PETA's Community Animal Project

Diamond was suffering from a painful facial tumor that was slowly eating away at his face.

Big Girl, a dog saved by PETA's Community Animal Project

Big Girl was still alive when a fieldworker found her.

A dog saved by PETA's Community Animal Project

This dog was suffering from advanced cancer.

So today, when PETA’s euthanasia of animals is sensationalized in headlines, I do not regret a thing. I am instead still haunted by the images of animals who are still suffering out there, when laws and neglectful guardians are not on our side.

Take Bear, whom I gave straw, food, and affection to in 2011. I was volunteering with CAP that day, and we also switched out his heavy chain with a lightweight tie-out and tried to convince his guardian to allow him indoors:

Bear, a dog visited by PETA's Community Animal Project

She never took him inside. This is him just a few weeks ago:

Bear, a dog visited by PETA's Community Animal Project

Years have gone by. I have moved, made big life decisions, enjoyed shows, had fun, tried new things … but for Bear, every day is the same. He’s unloved, alone, and forced to live outdoors away from his family. Ask yourself: Isn’t that a fate worse than death?

When you hear about how PETA euthanizes animals, think for a second of Chichi, Diamond, Bear, and the others. Don’t let anyone fool you—PETA’s work to end the suffering of animals everywhere, whether it’s on a factory farm or in someone’s backyard, is important, necessary, and compassionate work to the very core.

YOU CAN HELP! Share this with everyone you know, and point out that while PETA does euthanize unwanted, neglected, and unadoptable animals, we also provide thousands upon thousands of dogs and cats with vet care and low-cost to no-cost spaying and neutering. We also deliever free doghouses and straw to dogs forced to live outdoors. And most importantly, we give affection, care, and compassion to animals when they need it the most. 

PETA Saves Infographic