*Note: Copyright issues--Contact me and I will take this off my blog as soon as possible*
Only two short years ago, PETA delivered a custom-built doghouse to Hugo, a sweet dog who had been chained outside without any shelter from the broiling sun or the freezing cold. Thanks to kind supporters like you, we regularly bring the same comfort to hundreds of neglected "backyard" dogs every year, animals whose mean owners will not give them away and will only do the minimum within the law—if that. Hugo's owner knew that local laws did not require shelter for dogs, and we were lucky not to be thrown off the property when we arrived with our "gift."
PETA field workers checked in on Hugo last New Year's Day to fill his house with new straw bedding. They found Hugo curled up inside his doghouse. Hugo was dead, and his body was just a bag of bones.
We gained custody of Hugo's body and had him examined by a veterinarian. Hugo had been starved to death, his stomach empty except for some grass and orange peels. PETA immediately put a case file together and pressed local officials to file cruelty-to-animals charges. Through hard work and PETA's own testimony, Hugo's abusive owner was convicted and has received jail time and five years' probation. We also asked that he not be allowed to own or set foot in any home where an animal is present, and the judge granted that condition as part of his probation.
Without PETA and you, there would be no hope and no justice for poor dogs like Hugo. But with your continued support, we can help stop abusers from getting near other animals and we can rescue many animals while there is still time.
Every week, PETA caseworkers receive hundreds of reports of animals who are sorely abused and neglected by their owners. We are told of dogs who are chained outside with no food, water, or shelter in blizzards, storms, and sweltering heat. We hear of dozens of cats who are trapped inside filthy homes by "hoarders." And we never turn away a call.
We do everything we possibly can to get these animals out of their predicaments, from working with animal-sheltering agencies to helping local law enforcement pursue cruelty-to-animals charges against abusive owners. As in Hugo's case, we provide evidence and testimony to help prosecutors secure a conviction—and send the firm message that animal abuse must not go unpunished.
While our courtroom victory came too late to save poor Hugo, it was enormously important. For decades, anti-cruelty statutes were simply ignored in northeastern North Carolina, where Hugo lived—but not anymore. As a result of PETA's dedicated work on his case—which you made possible—animal abusers in rural areas like this one are having to change their ways.
For animals who wish only to give us their love and loyalty and who ask for nothing more in return, the world can be a very cruel, cold place. But your support for PETA's groundbreaking and heartbreaking cruelty casework affords them the friendship, dignity, and—in the worst cases—justice that they deserve. Please donate today to help us reach those animals in the greatest need. Your help can make all the difference for a dog, cat, or other animal who is being abused or neglected right now.
Thank you for being a good friend to animals.
Ingrid E. Newkirk President