As much of the country endures another cold snap, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower has an important message for fans, saying in a new PETA video, “I would hope that you guys love your dog as much as you love the Patriots”—so, as his print ad reads, “[n]ever leave them out in the cold.”
The three-time Super Bowl winner and University of Alabama alum—who also appears in an ad with his pup Meko—stresses that dogs should never be chained or penned up outdoors to suffer in freezing temperatures, admitting that the New England winters are tough even for him.
“Playing my first year, you know, I went up there and I tried to play the no-sleeves stuff,” he says, laughing. “Nah, it’s seriously too cold for me, so I couldn’t imagine, you know, leaving my dog outside in New England, man. … It’s depriving them from what they need.”
“Backyard dogs” and “outdoor cats”—like those featured in Breaking the Chain, the new documentary produced by Oscar winner Anjelica Huston—shiver in misery when temperatures drop. PETA receives thousands of complaints every year about animals struggling to survive outside in the cold, where they often suffer from frostbite and exposure and become dehydrated when water sources freeze. Since 2019, there have been at least 37 cold weather–related companion animal deaths—and those are just the ones that have been reported. Most aren’t.
That’s why PETA encourages everyone to treat dogs like family, just like Hightower does with Meko. “She is the best dog ever,” he says. “She’s just really a daddy’s girl, man. Anywhere I go or whatever I’m doing, she just wants to be there with me.”
Hightower is part of a long list of athletes—including fellow Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, Tyrann Mathieu, Antoine Bethea, Devin Funchess, Chris Harris Jr., Ronnie Stanley, and Terrell Suggs—who have teamed up with PETA to promote kindness to animals.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
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