The Humane League

by guest blogger Olivia Jannuzzi

Hello there

Hello there

Giving a voice to the voiceless and a big hand to those with paws, Untold Animal Stories combines true and stylized storytelling with animal advocacy, resulting in an uncommon and inspiring blog. This website features articles with tips for pet owners, petitions and opportunities to help animals in need, and occasionally a video demonstrating an animal’s intelligence and importance. The main feature of the blog is the innovative short stories that are often told from an animal’s perspective, putting the reader on all fours, and allowing us to get a tiny feel of what these animals experience daily.

As you read the stories, you are seeing life through an animal’s eyes. We are put in the panther’s entrapment at the zoo as a crowd stares. We are rescued with a stray dog who finds a loving family and a warm bed. We experience peaceful life as a cow on a wide green pasture. Without forcing it, and without disgusting and shocking people with the harsh realities of what these animals go through, these creative stories are a subtle yet effective technique for people to build compassion for animals, and to help raise animal advocacy awareness.

Raising awareness for animals is important for several significant reasons. For starters, it is important for people to know where their food is coming from and what methods were used to get the meat from the animal to the plate. Currently factory farming dominates food production in the United States, with approximately 99% of farm animals subjected to these factories and about ten billion animals per year slaughtered for food. The animals are routinely mistreated and abused, and the practices used by the farmers are often cruel and horrendous. Not only that, but factory farms are one of the biggest polluters in the nation, putting humans’ health at risk as well.

Of course, factory farming is not the only option we have to put food on our plates. The Humane League* works to raise consciousness and alert the world on what is really going on with their food, and presents alternatives to eating factory farmed meat by encouraging healthy and tasty options like Meatless Monday, or the benefits of going vegan/vegetarian. The switch from factory farmed meat to cruelty-free alternatives can save hundreds of animals’ lives while also making the planet and you healthier.

When you see something destructive or dangerous happening, it is our nature and right to take action against it. Even the smallest efforts go a long way and can save a significant number of animals’ lives. Unfortunately, animals do not have the voice (or thumbs) to stop the horrible treatment that they are subjected to, which is why it is important we give them a voice and a chance to live better lives. Untold Animal Stories creates that voice to help open up people’s minds and see that animal’s lives are just as significant and meaningful as our own.

~ ~ ~* Since its founding in 2005, the Humane League’s mission has been to save the lives of as many animals as possible and to reduce animal cruelty. We want a world where all animals are treated with the same respect and compassion that we show to our beloved family dog or cat.

Originally founded in Philadelphia, the Humane League has grown to be a leading national presence for farm animals with offices in Philadelphia, Boston, Maryland, Dallas, Charlotte, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami. Funding comes from our tens of thousands of supporters across the world.  For more information or to contribute, please visit: COW - APNOV  (35 of 98)

PIG APNOV  (50 of 98)Photo Credits: Stephanie Frankle

Empath, Voyeur or Action? What Type of Advocate Are You?

DSC_0135 2by Gretchen Pachlhofer, co-founder of

Let’s face it.  If you are reading this blog, you are an animal advocate.  You love to read stories about animals and nature.  It touches that chord, deep inside you, the place that very few humans allow themselves to venture. It’s a special place deep within ourselves that we tuck tightly away for fear of our true feelings being exposed to those around us. That is the source of the feelings that allows us to honor animals.  Animals allow us to stop, and feel, and experience being in the present moment.

Empathy for animals is the key ingredient that allows us to take the first step in helping all creatures great and small. Whether it be a stray cat, a dog that has been dumped on the side of the road, or a bird that has fallen out of the nest, there is no way we can just turn away and ignore the situation.  If you choose to actually stop and do something to contribute to the given situation, you have just entered the world of being an Action Advocate. Congratulations!

Another choice is to be a Voyeur Advocate for animals. You read the blogs, you identify with the feelings that are unlocked inside as you immerse yourself in your own private reading experience. It make you feel good to read all the wonderful stories that others have chosen to share. Now, I’d like to just toss this out to you—what would happen if you made the choice to take the next step and actually DO SOMETHING to help animals? What would it feel like to actually BECOME an Action Advocate?

I want to share my recent story with y’all (yes, I am from Texas) and hopefully you can take the giant step forward and join me.

I recently relocated to a rural area of the Texas Hill Country.  I sold my business and now have a choice to continue to make a difference for animals.  I found a group of women who run a shelter located on a ranch in acute need of regular volunteers to help care for the dogs and cats in their facility. I chose to make a commitment to volunteer once a week for 3-4 hours.  Volunteering is such a rewarding experience and the animals give back ten times of the effort I give weekly.  I jokingly call it my “therapy time” but there is a lot of truth to that statement.

So all of you reading this, I want to throw something out to you.  Over the next couple of weeks, think of something you can DO for animals, then TAKE ACTION and do it. And then, if you feel inclined, chime in and tell us what you did.  This is not a contest.  The purpose is to create a community for Untold Animal Stories for all of us to share and become more interactive. Email us at

Rahat Means Relief – Ingrid Newkirk Answers Questions about Animal Rahat

copyright 2014 by

Animal Rahat is a unique program that aims to help some of the most neglected animals in the world—the bullocks, donkeys, and other working animals in India.  Animal Rahat was founded in 2003 to provide these animals with relief. This lifesaving program now offers services throughout three districts in Maharashtra, one of the largest states in India. Animal Rahat is run by a dedicated staff that includes veterinarians, veterinary assistants, animal caretakers, and a full-time community educator. All of Animal Rahat’s veterinarians are on call for emergencies and advice around the clock, every day of the year.

One of the more common sights in India is that of a bullock trudging along in the heat, straining under a heavy yoke to pull an overloaded, poorly balanced cart. These gentle animals often suffer from dehydration, untreated sores, and muscle strain, and sometimes they are subjected to frequent beatings.

Please consider making a donation today to help rescue more animals from captivity, save imperiled wildlife, train government workers in humane animal-handling techniques, and stop traditions, such as ear-cutting, that harm animals. Thank you!

Ingrid Newkirk Answers Questions about Animal Rahat:

Since its founding more than a decade ago as an organization dedicated to bringing relief to India’s working animals, Animal Rahat has become one of the most successful forces for all animals in need throughout the Sangli, Solapur, and Satara districts of Maharashtra. Members of the hard-working Rahat team—which operates solely on charitable donations—will go just about anywhere and do just about anything to rescue animals ranging from dogs and cats to chameleons and cobras. In this exclusive conversation, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk tells us what inspired her to start Animal Rahat, what improvements she’s seen in the past 10 years, and what readers can do to make a real difference in the lives of abused, injured, sick, and overworked animals.

Was there one case in particular that gave you the idea to start Animal Rahat?

I’ve always wanted to get help for the poor bullocks whose whole life is lived in servitude and who come to a bad end. When I was a little girl living in India, I went to the aid of a bullock who had collapsed and was being beaten. The sight of him never left me.

Could you tell our readers a little about the conditions endured by working animals in India? 

These dear animals have every conceivable horror visited upon them. Their situation epitomizes slavery: born to the yoke, castrated by having their testicles crushed with a rock, their nostrils pierced with a hot iron and a rope threaded through them that will forever be the way they are pulled, and whipped to make them run faster, even on sore and aching limbs, with a whip made of the skin of the bullock who went before them. It is a hard, hard life of constant toil filled with suffering.


What is one major abuse that you think we’ll see the end of within the next five or 10 years?

There isn’t one single abuse, but we have just won a victory against jallikatu, the racing and fighting of goaded bulls, and we will replace many bullock carts with mini-tractors in sugarcane factories.


Animal Rahat charters buses to transport villagers to the annual Chinchali Fair—sparing horses and donkeys grueling days-long journeys—and has given sugar cane haulers tractors to replace their emaciated bullocks. What are some other innovations that Animal Rahat has introduced?

The tractors, the buses, introducing chemical restraint so that bullocks can be operated on without pain, constructing sand pits so that when the bullocks are cast to the ground to be shod, they do not break a hip or otherwise become injured from the rocky terrain, and we are also pointing out the suffering caused by horn raspers—men who pare down the bullocks’ sensitive horns to make them look younger when they are offered for sale—among other things.

Many cruel practices continue because of ignorance rather than malice. How is Animal Rahat educating communities about the basic needs of working animals?

Other than wanton cruelty, like beatings when an animal collapses, most abuse is born of ignorance, a belief that animals do well without water, that they do not need rest, that they are super-resilient to heat, a misunderstanding of their nutrient needs and their pain tolerance, and so on. We have humane education in many schools to try to stop this cycle of abuse caused by ignorance, and we hold information tents at fairs, go to villages and hold meetings, and counsel people with sick and injured animals.

2014-02.Chinchali Fair bullock eating at rest camp1

How does Animal Rahat work with local law enforcement agencies to stop abuses? 

We work by giving seminars to police officers, and we ask for police help when we learn of an illegal bullfight or race, for instance.

poster gallery

Do you think the spread of Western culture in India’s big cities will change how animals are treated in the regions where Animal Rahat works? 

It changes because with money come vehicles, and with vehicles, the need to use bullocks decreases. We were successful in banning bullock carts for oil deliveries in Mumbai.

Poverty is so prevalent in many regions of India—what would you say to people who might question using resources to help animals when many humans are also suffering? 

Poverty is rampant, and no one can afford veterinary care, so providing it benefits humans as well. Teaching kindness is a kindness itself.

Are there ways in which animals are treated better in India than they are in Western countries? 

Yes, wild birds—pigeons, crows, and all birds—are fed every day in designated areas in the cities and towns, for instance, as a religious matter. The number of vegetarians is high, too, of course, although it’s decreasing. However, the most sacred “deity” animals, from elephants (Ganesh) to bulls (Nandi), cows (Krishna’s favorite), and monkeys (Hanuman), are treated very badly these days.


How has Animal Rahat expanded its mission since its founding in 2003?

We started in one small area with one veterinarian and an assistant. Today we are building a proper sanctuary, and we have seven vets and a total staff of about 40, covering five separate districts in Maharashtra.

Is there one rescue story that sticks with you? 

There are many, but perhaps the one I remember best was the discovery of a bullock who had suffered a broken hip bone eight years earlier when a man threw a cinderblock at him in a fit of temper and who had been unable to walk since and must have endured unimaginable pain. We found this bullock tied by a small rope to the same pile of cinderblocks, never having been able to lie down on a flat surface. We were able to persuade the owner to let us take him to our sanctuary and allow him to live out his days there in comfort, with loving care, green grass, shade, and fresh water.

What can people reading this blog do to support Animal Rahat’s work?

Donate a portion of their income to those with nothing but pain in their lives: the bullocks, donkeys, and ponies rescued and helped by Animal Rahat. That will allow us to buy medicines, to go out into distant fields where animals have collapsed, and to render emergency medical care where otherwise none would be available.  To donate securely:

Be an Angel for a Dog in Need in the Summer Heat

Dogs chained or confined to a pen outside without shelter suffer terribly during the sweltering heat and raging storms of summer, particularly in rural areas where people say “dogs are meant to live outside” and laws to address cruelty are not enforced.

sad dog for angel post ID-100150769As temperatures climb across this summer, dogs without adequate shelter are at risk of dehydration and heatstroke, which can cause a terrifying, painful death.  Many dogs depend on PETA’s “Angels for Animals” doghouse program to find them and then to give them the shelter and attention that they need in extreme weather.

By becoming an “Angels for Animals” sponsor today, you’ll be providing a sturdy new doghouse to a “backyard dog” struggling to survive long days outside without shelter from the blazing sun (and the winter winds). The doghouses are made to last and will provide shelter for years to come.
You can choose to purchase a doghouse in full or partially.  Please help a “backyard dog” this summer by giving today…whatever you can afford.
On behalf of the dogs, thank you and woof!
Photograph courtesy of Arztsamui (“Poor Animal”),



The Noble, Gentle Greyhounds of Spain in the Wrong Hands

Lori Kalef
SPCA International

In the south of Spain, there is a form of hunting hares where the hunters use Spanish Greyhounds, or Galgos in Spanish, as weapons to find their prey. This form of hunting is forbidden in each of the European Union countries through their domestic animal protection laws, but unfortunately Spain still lacks these regulations.

Roy is one of the lucky ones. With your signature on the international petition (, we can make a difference and change the lives of many more greyhounds than only Roy and a handful of others.Roy3

Tens of thousands of Spanish Greyhounds have the misfortune to be born into the wrong hands of these hunters each year. These noble animals are used strictly as tools during the hunting season, which begins in the early fall and ends in February. They are then discarded in the most barbaric manner, which many hunters believe will bring prosperity for the following season’s hunt. The dogs are often beaten, burned, buried alive, doused with acid, thrown into wells, or tortured in other ways. Some die slowly by a method the hunters refer to as ‘the pianist’ method—tying the neck of the dog to a tree and allowing the back feet to barely touch the ground. The dogs move and jump for days struggling to stay alive, their front paws swaying back and forth resembling the playing of a piano. It is estimated that 60,000 Spanish Greyhounds are killed each year.

During the training season, Spanish Greyhounds are forced to run for hours and miles in the hot sun, their leashes tied to moving trucks. They are kept with the most minimal amount of shelter, food, and hygiene to survive. Many hunters believe starving their hunting dogs keeps them hungry for the hunt and more effective.

Behind every Greyhound’s life in Spain, there is a story of cruelty. When Roy was found on a roadside, he was barely alive. His lifeless body, covered in scars and lacerations.Roy had given up, his eyes remained closed, his body limp as his rescuers examined him. His rescuers brought him to SPCA International’s partner shelter in Spain, SOS Galgos, where he received emergency life-saving treatment and care.

Roy’s history is not uncommon, and he was fortunate to be found when he was. Thanks to organizations like SOS Galgos, a non-profit organization fighting to defend the rights of Spanish Greyhounds like Roy, and SPCA International, the plight of the Greyhounds of Spain will one day improve.

SPCA International– — and SOS Galgos — –are working to improve animal welfare legislation and promote education and awareness sensitizing people to the warm and gentle nature of the Spanish Greyhound. This past March marked a memorable time in history for the Spanish Greyhounds. SPCA International and SOS Galgos, along with other animal protection organizations in Europe, met with the Spanish Congress of Deputies in Madrid to lobby on behalf of all the voiceless Greyhounds. Two hours were dedicated to the welfare of the hunting dogs in Spain in hopes of one day passing laws forbidding this torture.

Please help support the fight to eradicate this appalling tradition by signing SPCA International’s petition.  Together we can create change! Roy2

Ollie & Spuds – Chapter 4

© 2014 Carolyn Cott

One evening during Spuds and her kittens’ wanderings, they came to a building from which came a chorus of meows and barking. Spuds listened closely. There was a question in each of the sounds, some complaining, but not fear. In a few of the voices she heard glee.

For the next three days she ventured out on her own during the daytime, hiding in the shrubbery and watching that place of meows and barks. People came and went, some bringing animals in—those people were teary with contorted faces. Some brought animals out—those people were happy and chattering to the bewildered-looking cat or dog. Spuds caught sight of one cat in a box with small metal crisscrossed bars. The cat’s feet were splayed out in front of him, bracing against movement, but his gaze was more curious than anything.

A van came and went often, spilling out a large man stuffed into a uniform with many pockets and shiny buttons. His face was always serious. The dogs he brought in on leashes were skinny and mangy and haunted looking. The cats were yowling. Just wait, communicated Spuds silently from her hiding place, just wait: you’ll be fine.

After the third day Spuds gathered her brood over a feast of two freshly caught mice. When the kittens had finished their meal and Spuds had crunched through the remains of bones and tails and toes, after all of them had washed their faces with their paws and were content, she told them her plan. They listened, then slept.

When the moon was still high between the buildings, Spuds nudged the kittens awake. Yawning and stretching, they meandered after her. She settled them down together beneath a bush by the front door of the place of meow and barks, and waited. As the sun rose pink, Spuds licked the face of each of her babies and looked into their eyes, trying to convey a lifetime of love. When each kitten held her gaze and blinked slowly, Spuds moved to the next.

People started coming to the building, sharp, purposeful footfalls clicking on the pavement. Spuds saw the man in the uniform come up the walk. She nudged the littlest kitten out from under the shrub and told her to meow. The kitten did, and the man looked down. Spuds nudged the other kittens, and they followed their sister.

The man looked down and sighed. He scooped up all four of the kittens in his meaty arms and then saw Spuds. He called over his shoulder to a woman coming up the walk. She reached beneath the bush to grab Spuds, but Spuds eluded her grasp. The woman ran after her, but Spuds was faster. Before turning the corner, Spuds looked back toward her babies, watching as the last stubby orange tail disappeared through the door. She had a moment of panic, then darted under a fence and was gone.

Spuds has a hard time getting comfortable at night without the kittens to curl around. She misses her babies terribly. She holds onto a hopeful image: someone taking care of them, giving them warmth and food and water and comfort. With that picture in her mind, she can let go and sleep. But her first thought upon waking is of them: the way the sun shone on their orange fur, their ticked whiskers alternating white and tan to the tips, their small tails, fuzzy and broad at the base and tapering to a point.

She spends nights wandering around, half-heartedly hunting for food, nibbling at some tidbits in the dumpster. Maybe she should have gone in with her kittens, she thinks. She turns that split-second decision over and over in her mind, not clear why she had turned and fled. But it’s too late now.

to be continued….

Chapter 1:
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:

You Can Save This Iraqi Kitten…Really

SPCA International
Picture 22Mike believed he would never see Lani again. When this ex-Marine left Iraq… he had to leave behind the little kitten he raised after finding her crying, alone in a gutter. Mike’s heart broke last June when he said goodbye to Lani. He thought she’d never survive Iraq without him. He was her protector. She was his best friend.But Lani DID survive. Mike’s buddy at the U.S. consulate recently emailed him and told him he’d seen Lani hanging around. This is the miracle Mike thought would never happen. And I can tell you that right now he’s hoping, praying that you will help him save the cat he loves from that miserable place and bring her home to him in the U.S.Yes, Lani is alive. We must rescue her and 17 other dogs and cats BEFORE June 1st. That’s when the airlines start their heat embargo in the Middle East. And we still haven’t raised enough money to get there, get every dog and cat, and get back home. If we’re not able to fund our mission, they face death. Maybe they won’t die today or next week. But believe me, it will happen. If not from the blistering heat, then from starvation or from torture at the hands of the locals. It doesn’t have to end that way. You can make sure they live by giving today.This is the moment that Mike– an ex-Marine who has bravely served and sacrificed, has been waiting for. I’m asking you to do what he wasn’t able to do last June – save his adorable kitten, Lani. Please give right now so that we can go to Iraq BEFORE the deadline of June 1st.   To DONATE $5 OR WHATEVER YOU CAN:  {click one line down if link is not visible} hope,

JD Winston
Executive Director
SPCA International

P.S. Mike will never see Lani again if we don’t go rescue her from Iraq before the June 1st heat embargo. Will you please give now – whether it’s $100, $50, or even $5 to save this little cat from certain death in Iraq? Thank you so, so much.

Alex the Befriender

-19Written by guest blogger, Susanne Cott

Alex. He was something.  More, actually, than I could have asked for. Adopted in 1996, Alex was a male tabby with magnificent green eyes and an abusive past. We bonded, deeply. No matter where I was in the house, he sought me out and came to sit beside me. He dozed beside me as I slogged through the voluminous work of graduate school. He accompanied me through various ups and downs in my life. His level gaze brought me a sense of balance. His antics made me smile.

When family members came to live with us in 2009, two cats came with the package. One of them was a black cat named Raleigh, a fearful cat whom we sometimes referred to as a “special needs kitty.” Uncharacteristically of male adult cats, when Alex and Raleigh first saw each other, they simply looked at each other without hostility. They moved closer and closer to each other, and Alex accepted Raleigh into his home as his friend.

When it was time for Raleigh to move to his new home, he had a difficult time adjusting and hid in a closet of his new home for nearly a week. The decision was made to give Raleigh to me, and Alex and Raleigh became roommates. They were always around each other and loved to wrestle. In my memory, I can still hear their little playful meows.

Raleigh passed away unexpectedly, and young, in 2012. Alex was the only cat in the house then. He mourned his friend’s loss—I could tell—because he seemed uninterested in everything.

Several months later, we adopted two kittens—sisters—Tessa and Daisy. We were a bit worried about how Alex would feel having two new kittens in his house. True to his open-hearted disposition, he wasn’t unkind to them. One day, Alex was taking a nap on a sunny spot on the screen-in porch. Tessa sidled up to him and lay down up against him. Alex swung around and looked at her, then apparently decided it was okay. He closed his eyes and slept and Tessa did the same. snuggled up against him. Alex had a generous soul.

Alex greeted me at the door everyday, like a dog, when I came home from work. In the last couple of months of his life, he’d lost almost all of his hearing and I had to find him when I returned home. When I did, he invariably would glance up at me and greet me with an adorable little chirp-meow that sounded like hello.

By November of last year, Alex’s health had declined drastically and he was barely eating and drinking. The vet and I made the decision to euthanize him. We did so on November 29, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. He was, in many ways, my best friend.

Alex was buried alongside Raleigh in the backyard under the bird feeder, which they had spent countless hours watching through the screen. Above their graves there are a circle of stones and flowers, and the birds swoop in for their food.

I believe I will see Raleigh and Alex again one day. Alex and Raleigh, you will never be forgotten, and I love you both.

Ollie & Spuds – Chapter 2

(continued from previous post)   The cat’s name is Spuds.  The old man she’d lived with thought she looked like the color of yellow Finn potatoes.  He’d pulled her as a kitten out from under a bramble—mewing and shaking—on a busy roadside.  He gently stroked her fur with large, rough hands, looked into her gold-green eyes, and took her home.

Spuds had a life of luxury with him: curled up on the rug by the wood stove in winter, lounging on a sunny perch on the screened-in porch in the summer watching red cardinals and blue birds.  Spuds liked the old man, a lot; they understood each other.  But one morning when she went up to his room to remind him it was feeding time, something was different.  She jumped up on the bed and stood on his chest and peered at him.  She could sense him, but he wasn’t in there his body.  She called out to him.  Then she saw him in her mind’s eye, and his eyes were dazzling.  Then he receded and was gone.

Four days passed before anyone came to the house.  By then Spuds had clawed her way through the bag of cat food and found that fresh toilet water wasn’t completely undrinkable.

People came then, many of them, people who had never come before.  They pawed the old man’s possessions, argued with each other, and carried things out of the house.  Spuds watched.  A woman noticed the cat and picked her up, bangle bracelets clanging together, and put Spuds outside.  Spuds sniffed at the air, then turned to go back inside.  The woman blocked Spuds’ way with a well-shod foot.  “You’re free now kitty, go away.”

Spuds looked for a long while at the closed door.  Then she walked down the driveway and before turning onto the road, looked back at the house.  The windows glinted empty and cold in the sun.
Ollie & Spuds will be continued

Chapter 1:

Chapter 3: