Saving Companion Animals

In the 21st century, dogs and cats receive better treatment, on average, than most animals -– but millions still suffer grim fates. In communities around the world, some people chain or pen their dogs outdoors in all weather, without the knowledge or resources to provide regular food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. Street animals are vulnerable to starvation and disease, and become a health threat to humans. Natural disasters and wars often separate companion animals from their humans, and increase street animals’ everyday misery.

The Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund has made annual grants since 2016 to support PETA’s work for companion animals and the humans with whom they interact -- in the United States through the Community Animal Project, and internationally through the Global Compassion Fund.

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The Community Animal Project has worked for more than 20 years around PETA's headquarters in Virginia and in North Carolina to stop animal homelessness at its roots by spaying or neutering more than 225,000 animals at low or no cost in underserved communities. The Community Animal Project also:

  • Educates people about proper care of their companion animals, including allowing their animals indoors - with approaches ranging from one-on-one conversations, to billboards along major highways, to televised public service announcements.
  • Delivers sturdy dog houses, straw insulation, and donated companion animal food.
  • Secures the release of companion animals when owners are unable to meet legally required standards.
  • Partners with a network of local shelters and rescue groups to re-home rescued animals, and hosts an annual Poochella adopt-a-thon.
  • Works with local jurisdictions to draft regulations to ban or restrict outdoor dog chaining and penning.

The Global Compassion Fund helps animals around the world with crisis rescue work -- most notably in Ukraine.

It also conducts regular companion animal spay/neuter campaigns in countries including Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and Romania; and tackles animal homelessness in these countries through humane education and public policy work.


The Project has provided testimony and public education since 2016 in support of Virginia and North Carolina legislation to protect outdoor dogs.


PETA's Community Animal Project successfully worked during Virginia's 2020 legislative session to pass SB 272 in the House and Senate, mandating shelter in temperatures of 32° F or lower or 85° F or higher, or during a severe weather warning. The bill, which also increases the minimum tether length from 10 to 15 feet, builds on 2019 SB 1025 which PETA also championed. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill into law on April 9, and it went into effect on July 1, 2020.