In honor of Guard Dog, the faithful chained dog in MUTTS with a heart of gold, we're sharing happy stories about real-life "guard dogs." This story describes how three deserving dogs got their freedom. It was submitted by our friend Shan Phillips, a Field Outreach Worker for PETA’s Community Animal Project.


By Shan Phillips

PETA’s Community Animal Project works 365 days a year on improving quality of life and passing legislation to afford protection to chained and/or penned dogs. In the winter, we bring them straw. In the summer, we provide dog houses, toys, water buckets, free food, and other services. Last year, we delivered 190 doghouses and more than 1,300 bales of straw bedding to “backyard” dogs.

One of our recent victories was the liberation of Henry, Sandy, and Duke (and several other dogs) from a rural North Carolina property. PETA fieldworkers visited these dogs many times over a span of almost two years and first secured custody of Henry, a malnourished Chihuahua who was kept chained 24/7 in all weather extremes, among several large dogs who were also kept chained around the clock. It didn’t take long for us to place Henry with a loving adoptive family.

Months later, at the same property, fieldworkers found the remains of a Pit Bull named Minnie, still chained to a nearby tree, inside her doghouse. We pushed local law enforcement to seize the remaining dogs from the property before they met the same tragic fate, and eventually the owner was charged with multiple counts of cruelty to animals. 

Since the dogs were facing months, if not years, living at the tiny, under-resourced local shelter in legal limbo, PETA filed a civil lawsuit and gained permanent custody of them. We made sure all the dogs got the vet care they so desperately needed, and placed Sandy, a senior Lab mix, and Duke, a young Pit Bull, in wonderful homes where they will never see another day on a chain.

Duke was adopted by one of our fieldworkers who frequently visited him! Below are a few photos of Duke enjoying his new adventures.

In addition to providing much-needed care for individual dogs like Henry, Sandy, and Duke, we also work diligently on chaining restrictions and bans, via legislation in our service area and across the country. For example, in 2020 our work at the Virginia General Assembly resulted in legislation that makes it illegal to keep dogs chained during extreme weather.

While we celebrate these victories, there is still much work to be done. We will continue our boots-on-the-ground work for chained dogs, as well as our fight for legislative changes to better protect dogs just like Guard Dog.


To learn more about Guard Dog and how you can help chained dogs, visit Interested in sharing your own Guard Dog rescue story? We'd love to hear from you. Reach out at or post on Instagram using the hashtag #FreeGuardDog.

Comments (1)

I have been supporting PETA for years. There work is extremely important and gratifying. I was in Albany, NY to fight for the end of the Ringling Bros. shutdown.
Thank you for all of big hearts! ♥️🤍🐾

Stephanie Myers