Like open-admission animal shelters across the country, PETA performs the heartbreaking task of euthanizing animals who are unwanted for one reason or another: because they are aggressive, sick, hurt, elderly, or at death's door and because no good homes exist for them. Front groups for animal-exploiting industries seize on this aspect of our work to further their agenda, attempt to divide our movement, and protect their profits.

One of these groups is the disingenuously named Center for Organizational Research and Education—previously known as the Center for Consumer Freedom—which is run by lobbyist Richard Berman and funded by KFC, Outback Steakhouse, Philip Morris, cattle ranchers, and other companies that cruelly bring millions of healthy animals into this world every year just to kill them. CORE devotes considerable human resources, time, and money to an effort to mislead people who care about animals with false or deceptive information about PETA's work.

A Shelter
Last Resort

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Understanding PETA's Animal Shelter

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An Animal Shelter of Last Resort

PETA operates what could be called a "shelter of last resort" for the most broken animals. When impoverished families cannot afford to pay a veterinarian to let a suffering and/or aged animal leave this world, PETA will help. When an aggressive, unsocialized dog has been left to starve at the end of a chain with a collar grown into his neck and his body racked with mange, PETA will spare him from dying slowly and miserably in someone's backyard. As Virginia officials speaking of PETA's euthanasia rate acknowledged to USA Today

“PETA will basically take anything that comes through the door, and other shelters won't do that.”

How PETA’s Fieldworkers and Shelter Helped Animals in 2023 from Official PETA on YouTube.

See PETA's Rescue Team in Action in Groundbreaking Documentary

A gripping documentary produced by Anjelica Huston follows PETA's dedicated team of fieldworkers, who live in hope as they respond to cases and calls for help around the clock and in all weather extremes. Through interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, Breaking the Chain shines a light on their heartbreak and hard-won triumphs.

Buddy and Copper jump for joy after being rescued from Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. Their release is the result of PETA's undercover investigation footage, which revealed horrific violations of federal animal welfare laws.

Stopping Animal Homelessness at Its Source

We never turn our back on animals who need help, even if the best we can offer them is a peaceful release from an uncaring world. PETA also works every day to prevent animals from ending up abused, homeless, and euthanized in the first place—a fact that the CCF never mentions on its PETA Kills Animals website.

As we explain in The Atlantic, the statistics that CCF reports don't include the many adoptable animals we have referred to high-traffic open-admission shelters where they will have the best chance of being seen and finding a new home. Those numbers also don't take into account the tens of thousands of animals whose lives we have improved and saved—by providing free spay and neuter surgeries, sturdy doghouses stuffed with straw, nutritious food, and much more.

PETA spends millions to stop the animal homelessness crisis at its roots. Our fleet of mobile clinics has sterilized more than 200,000 animals—including thousands of feral cats and pit bulls—for free or almost nothing since 2001, preventing tens of thousands of animals from being born into a world already bursting at the seams with unwanted and homeless animals.

We also provide hands-on help to people in indigent communities who don't have transportation and/or access to veterinary care, most of whom could not afford it even if it were available in their community. Every year, we help keep countless animals out of overburdened shelters by providing free sterilizations and shots as well as counseling to help people work through perceived obstacles to keeping their animals.

While we tackle the animal homelessness crisis hands-on in our own backyard, PETA also spreads the word nationally about what people can do to help. Our print and television ads have reached millions of people with messages about animal adoption, respect, and the importance of sterilization. We've called on governors and the White House to promote mandatory spay-and-neuter legislation across the country and more.


The CCF tries to make it seem like solving the animal homelessness crisis is as simple as setting up huge kennels in which to keep all the sick, dying, and unwanted animals. Even if money could buy good homes and even if PETA could build cages sky-high, warehousing animals does nothing to stop the root of the problem—uncontrolled breeding.

We are committed to ending the dog and cat overpopulation crisis, but PETA also saves and improves the lives of animals who are suffering on factory farms and fur farms, and in laboratories, circuses, and other abusive industries.

For example, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was slapped with the largest penalty of its kind in U.S. history for abusing elephants and lions after PETA urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take action against Ringling and presented indisputable evidence of the circus's animal abuse, including beatings, the death of a lion, lame elephants forced to perform despite chronic pain, and a baby elephant who died during a training routine.

Professional Laboratory and Research Services (PLRS), where PETA documented laboratory workers screaming obscenities at animals, violently slamming cats into cages, and kicking, throwing, and dragging dogs, closed down and four PLRS employees, including a supervisor, were indicted on precedent-setting felony cruelty-to-animals charges. More than 50 cats and nearly 200 dogs were surrendered, including Buddy and Copper, who are healing at a sanctuary and will be adopted into loving, permanent homes.

PETA's undercover investigation inside laboratories at the University of Utah revealed that more than 100 cats and dogs from animal shelters were sold to the university each year for use in invasive, painful, and deadly experiments. After our investigation, the state of Utah amended its archaic law that forced government-run animal shelters to sell dogs and cats to laboratories.

Following vigorous campaigning by PETA, the Army ended cruel and outdated monthly training exercises at Aberdeen Proving Ground in which monkeys were poisoned with a drug overdose. Countless monkeys have been spared from violent seizures and bleak lives in a cage as a result.

More than 26,000 mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids were saved after PETA revealed horrific abuse at the major pet-trade supplier U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., including animals confined to severely crowded and filthy soda bottles, milk jugs, litter pans, cattle-feeding troughs, and barren wire cages as well as employees putting hundreds of sick, injured, and dying animals in a freezer to die slowly and painfully.

PETA exposes egregious abuse on factory farms, such as the Aviagen Turkeys facility in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Evidence gathered by PETA undercover investigators revealed workers breaking turkeys' necks, stomping on their heads, and shoving feces and feed into their mouths. The horrific video footage led to 19 indictments, including 11 felony charges, against three former Aviagen workers, marking the first time in U.S. history that factory-farm employees have faced felony cruelty-to-animals charges for abusing birds.

The progress we are making in these areas makes companies that profit from these cruel industries fear for their bottom line—so much so that many have resorted to paying the CCF to attack our work.


When Pickles' guardian called PETA to ask if we could supply a cage for the young rabbit, we learned she was being confined to a small laundry basket at night. A PETA fieldworker explained that life alone in a cage is no life for a rabbit—especially a gregarious, affectionate "lap bunny" like Pickles—and the woman agreed to allow PETA to find the cuddly little fluff ball a new home.

Following a severe flea infestation that caused nearly all his fur to fall out, Boss' guardians surrendered him to PETA, and we immediately treated his raw and inflamed skin. Boss was adopted and is now the boss of a New York City theater teacher and a doctor. Today, Boss enjoys long walks in Central Park and playtime at the local dog park.

Barb's owners were unable to care for her properly, so they asked PETA for help. Our fieldworkers caught this smart pig, who was running loose on the property, and placed her with a vegetarian couple. Barb now spends her days hanging out in a lush meadow with two other PETA-rescued pigs.

Beaver had been acquired on a whim for a child who soon lost interest in her. Fortunately, a PETA staffer learned about her plight and was able to give her a loving "forever" home. Now Beaver spends her days socializing and curling up with her guinea pig friend, Peanut, and vying for the biggest piece of broccoli.

Pepsi's guardian was a victim of domestic violence and had to move suddenly. She called PETA and asked for help in placing him. Pepsi had the run of PETA's Cruelty Investigations Department before he was adopted by a couple with no other cats. He had contracted feline AIDS (FIV) but is otherwise healthy. He loves the great outdoors and enjoys it safely by going for frequent walks on a leash.

Amanda was found wandering the streets of Norfolk, Virginia. She was picked up by animal control, which contacted PETA for help in placing her. Amanda now lives at a spacious vegetarian sanctuary with other rescued animals. She loves pecking around in the grass and settling down in her cozy indoor nest at night.

Spaying and Neutering Cats and Dogs Are the Solution

Attacking those who clean up after a throwaway society that thoughtlessly buys, breeds, and discards cats and dogs does nothing to help animals. The only way to stop euthanasia is to stop puppy mills, breeders, and irresponsible guardians from bringing more dogs and cats into a world that does not offer them the chance for a home—and the only way to do that is by passing mandatory spay-and-neuter legislation and implementing a full-scale ban on breeding. We invite every caring person to join us in working toward the day when every animal has a loving home.

With so many animals in need of refuge, now is a terrible time for an alarming number of animal shelters to arbitrarily implement limited-admission, "no-kill" policies. These policies put animals in danger because they prompt shelters to turn animals away or they make it expensive and difficult for people who can no longer care for their animal companions to surrender them to a shelter. When shelters refuse to take in animals—and communities fail to address the underlying causes of the problem—animals pay the price.

Animals Are for Life

Are you thinking of parting with your animal companion? Please don't give up on your friend. With patience and understanding, it's not too late to work through whatever issue may be coming between you. Check out PETA's tips and advice on being there for your animal companions for life: