Momentum growing in efforts to prevent animal cruelty
One year ago today, the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston, Quincy Police Department, and Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey issued a public appeal for help identifying the person responsible for abusing Puppy Doe, a young adult dog found tortured, starved, and left for dead near a park in Quincy.
Moved by her story, people created a temporary memorial for Puppy Doe near the park where she was found in Quincy.
Her case captured the attention of animal welfare advocates and concerned citizens around the world as investigators diligently worked through the hundreds of leads brought forward to police.
Within a few weeks, the police arrested a suspect and the district attorney formally charged him with 11 counts of animal cruelty. The prosecution of the case continues as we speak.
Puppy Doe and the extreme level of abuse she suffered also inspired new conversation on the topic of animal cruelty and how to prevent it.
Massachusetts lawmakers began to consider ways to update and evaluate existing laws relating to the protection of animals in the state.
One year later, S2345 - a bill passed by both the Massachusetts House and Senate at the end of the 2014 session – will become law within a few weeks.
The bill increases penalties for animal cruelty substantially, requires veterinarians to report abuse, and creates a task force to comprehensively review all animal-related laws in Massachusetts.
The ARL is especially pleased about the impact S2345 makes on the issue of animal cruelty:
Massachusetts has gone from a state with one of the most lenient fines for animal cruelty to one more in line with – and in many cases stricter – than other states.
The law establishes a legal obligation for veterinarians to bring suspicions of abuse to authorities for further investigation. Consider this: If the veterinarian who initially treated Puppy Doe had not taken the initiative to report concerns to the ARL, the world might never have known about her case.
The formation of a task force of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine, and the legal profession holds promise for more progress on the issue.
Outside the state on a national level, the National Sherriffs’ Association (NSA) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund launched the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse in August. The Center provides resources to the law enforcement community to assist with animal cruelty prevention and investigation strategies.
Inspired by Puppy Doe’s case, the ARL has issued a public call-to-action to report concerns about animal cruelty to local authorities.
And as of earlier this week, the FBI will begin tracking animal cruelty cases as a separate category of crimes. Law enforcement for the first time will have a way to track the number of reported incidents of animal cruelty cases each year to better channel resources and violence prevention programs.
Perhaps most importantly, public awareness of the role we can all play in preventing horrific cases like Puppy Doe’s is growing.
The fact remains that 4 out 5 cases of animal cruelty remain undiscovered by authorities, so public awareness and action will play a critical role in making our community a safer, more humane place for animals and people.
One year on, Puppy Doe’s case continues to inspire conversation and activity. At the ARL, we look forward to pushing for progress and change.
We remain ever-grateful to our supporters and animal-lovers everywhere who are speaking up and out about the importance of preventing cruelty to animals!
ARL and Boston Fire Department team up for public service video
A few weeks ago, the ARL teamed up with our private veterinary clinic Boston Veterinary Care and the Boston Fire Department to create a public service video to warn pet owners of the dangers of leaving a dog in a parked car during the summer.
With temperatures approaching 90 degrees around Greater Boston, today seemed like the perfect day to re-share the video.
Watch it now:
Remember: dogs don’t sweat the way people do.
Even when it’s only 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 120 degrees in just minutes – even with the windows cracked. When the temperature rises, leave your dog at home.
Animal Welfare Advocates Commend Lawmakers for New Measures, Stiffened Penalties for Animal Cruelty
BOSTON, MA – Animal protection groups including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and MSPCA-Angell today lauded the passage of Senate Bill 2345 (formerly known as H4328/H4244) that establishes harsher punishments and financial penalties for animal cruelty and aims to prevent abuse from happening in Massachusetts.
The measures take effect in 90 days once S2345 is signed into law by Governor Patrick.
The ARL credits citizen animal advocates who called legislators in the final weeks of the 2014 session to urge passage of S2345 (formerly known as H4328/H4244).
The bill raises maximum penalties for animal cruelty convictions from five to seven years and increases the maximum fine from $2,500 to $5,000. S2345 also allows a penalty of up to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000 for repeat convictions. In addition, the bill requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse. Also included in the new law is the creation of a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine and the law to systematically and comprehensively evaluate the state’s cruelty statutes to ensure continued progress.
“Today is a historic day for this legislative body, for the citizens of Massachusetts and—most especially—for animals,” said State Representative Lou Kafka, who was key in moving the bill through the House. “This law is an urgently needed update to outdated penalties and ensures that legislators continually receive the best advice on how to combat animal cruelty in our Commonwealth, directly from the experts who deal with it most frequently.”
“Thanks to the hard work of legislators and animal welfare supporters throughout Massachusetts, we will now have a law in place that strengthens our ability to prevent cruelty and will dramatically improve the welfare of animals in Massachusetts,” praised Mary Nee, president of the ARL.
Prior to the passage of S2345, Massachusetts maintained some of the most lenient fines in the nation for animal abuse, with a maximum of $2,500. Many other states have higher prison sentences as well. The new law marks the first update of these penalties in nearly ten years and reflects broad public consensus that animal cruelty must never be tolerated.
Representative Bruce Ayers stated, “The passage of the bill is evidence that lawmakers are listening to their constituents, who—especially in the wake of the horrific Puppy Doe animal abuse case in Quincy, my district, last year —are demanding stricter penalties for those who abuse or kill animals. As the sponsor of this animal welfare bill, I am pleased with this outcome.”
Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell states, “We’re very pleased that this crucial legislation has passed, and we extend our thanks to all of the bill’s sponsors and supporters who championed these reforms. We also thank every caring citizen who contacted state legislators to urge for stronger laws to both punish animal abusers and, importantly, work to prevent cruelty from happening the first place. Animal lovers around the state can today celebrate these efforts and hopefully can find some peace knowing that from such tragic incidents, like Puppy Doe and others, awareness has been generated that will now prevent harm to other helpless animals.”
“Abusive acts toward animals are unacceptable, and all too often can lead to violence toward people. Our laws need to strongly and clearly penalize those who commit the kinds of brutal acts we’ve seen in the Puppy Doe case and others, and this legislation makes major progress in achieving that goal,” said Senator Bruce Tarr. “It couldn’t have been accomplished without organizations like the MSPCA and ARL the thousands of individuals who have driven this effort from the drafting of the bill to its arrival on the Governor’s desk.”
About the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Founded in 1899, the ARL is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. In 2013, the ARL served over 14,000 individual animals through our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, and our law enforcement, rescue, and veterinary services. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need. Visit arlboston.org for more information.
About the MSPCA-Angell
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization.
Join us Tuesday, August 19, 5:30 pm -7:30 pm at our 10 Chandler Street location in the South End as we welcome the community back to our newly renovated K-9 Play Yard and reception area.
Bring your dog and enjoy music by pop violinist and YouTube sensation Rhett Price along with a complimentary summer tasting menu for people and pets catered by local establishments. The ARL’s Boston Veterinary Care will give out pet-oriented swag bags and we’ll also have ARL summer merchandise including soft-plush beach towels available for purchase (all proceeds benefit the animals at our shelters).
This free, fun, casual event is a great way to reconnect with the Animal Rescue League, learn more about us, and mingle with pet-friendly people from the neighborhood.
IN CASE OF RAIN: The summer social event will take place on August 26.
Special thanks to Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, who generously donated our new reception furniture, as well as Earth Rated, Fish and Bone, Polar Beverages, Polkadog Bakery, Petco Unleashed, Rhett Price, The Barkery and Whole Life Pet for contributions to our reception area and summer social event.
So many reasons to adopt from the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Bringing an animal into your home and making them a part of your family is a very special event indeed. In fact, some of the happiest work we do at the Animal Rescue League of Boston is helping you find a super pet!
The ARL finds homes for about 3,000 animals every year, including cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, ferrets, cows, sheep, horses, snakes, and lizards. We take in animals from a variety of circumstances, but a large portion are responsibly surrendered to us because of “people-related” reasons—their owners were moving, had no time because of a job or life change, or suddenly became sick or financially unable to care for their pets.
Animals like Pringle (pictured upper right), Cupid (pictured middle right), and Peach and Rosalina (pictured bottom center), all have big hearts with lots of love, loyalty, and good company to give to human companions—day and night!
When you adopt from a shelter, you’ll feel good about giving an animal a chance at a better life. And not just one animal – when you take your new pet home with you, the ARL can take in another at one of our shelters.
In addition to those fantastic feelings of helping a fellow living thing in need, you can also rest assured that, before they go to a new home, every adoptable animal at the ARL receives:
Health screening and veterinary examination
Behavior screening and evaluations
Flea, tick and mite treatment
Feline Leukemia test for cats/Heartworm test and preventive medication for dogs
Microchip identification and registration
With the help of the dedicated staff at our animal shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, you can learn more about whether a particular animal you meet at our shelter is a good pet-match for you before you bring them home.
Contact your state legislator today to protect animals from abuse in Massachusetts
Thanks to the incredibly hard work of bill sponsors Representatives Bruce Ayers and Louis Kafka and Senator Bruce Tarr, a very important piece of legislation received a favorable report from the joint Judiciary Committee. House Bill 4244, “an act relative to the penalty for killing, maiming, or poisoning animals,” has now moved closer to becoming law.
H. 4244 increases penalties for animal abuse from 5 years to 7 years and $2,500 to $5,000. The bill also would require veterinarians to report animal cruelty and create a task force to recommend future protections for animals in our state.
Here’s where you come in!
This legislative session ends in just a few weeks on July 31. H. 4244 must get to the floor for a vote before then!
Contact your state representative today and ask him/or her to push to pass H.4244.
Massachusetts currently has one of the lowest fines in the nation for animal abuse.
The penalties for animal abuse have not been updated in almost 10 years.
4 out of 5 cases of animal abuse remain undiscovered – requiring veterinarians to report abuse helps prevent cruelty and neglect.
Studies indicate that 48-87% of veterinarians will encounter cases of animal abuse – some remain unsure about reporting it to authorities.
The task force included in H. 4244 will make recommendations to improve reporting of animal abuse and increase protections for animals.
Very importantly, as Representative Ayers has noted, “research has consistently shown a link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. By increasing the penalty for animal cruelty, we are not only working to keep animals safe from harm, but we also hope to have an even bigger impact on the overall efforts to reduce crime.”
The case of Puppy Doe galvanized many animal welfare advocates and legislators to put forward legislation like H. 4244, yet her case is just one of far too many the ARL sees every day. Legislation that strengthens the ability to prevent cruelty and inhumane treatment will dramatically improve the welfare of animals in Massachusetts.
“Cases like hers are the reason that many of us got into the business of rescuing animals: there is nothing more rewarding than seeing an animal that was previously neglected transform with some TLC.” – Dr. Kate Gollon, shelter veterinarian at the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Almost two months ago, a very kind person brought Madeline to our Dedham shelter after discovering the 8-year-old cat unable to move in the backyard of her home where someone had left her. Shelter staff instantly observed the fur on Madeline’s hind quarters appeared thickly matted and that she couldn’t move her back legs.
Her sweet temperament and soft, steady purr touched the hearts of shelter veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon and all the Dedham staff as they worked to make her comfortable with pain medications and by shaving off the mass of tangles on her lower body.
Dr. Gollon determined Madeline had nearly 4 inches of mats over 70% of her body. The bag of her shaved matted fur tipped the scales at over a pound. The twisted condition of her coat had clearly forced her to go to the bathroom on herself and likely prevented her from walking for some time. Even after shelter staff shaved her fur, she couldn’t walk on her very weak back legs.
When diagnostic tests including x-rays and bloodwork did not provide a more definitive reason for the weakness in her back legs, Dr. Gollon prescribed a regimen of daily physical therapy to help Madeline recover her strength and mobility. Staff gave Madeline time post-shave to recuperate and get to know them before carefully and caringly beginning to work with her to get her walking.
At first, staff gently moved her back legs for her, three times a day. Gradually, they helped her stand by placing her in a sling to support her weight while getting her up on all fours. Once her ability to support herself improved, staff worked with her on walking across the floor and maneuvering changes in elevation. To give her some added traction on the polished cement floors at the shelter, staff would place a touch of Vaseline on her paw pads.
Everyone at the Dedham shelter felt as proud as mamma cats watching Madeline’s amazing progress as she confidently strolled to them and maneuvered up carpeted steps for the first time!
A dedicated ARL foster volunteer brought Madeline to her home to help her re-acclimate to living with people. Though the determined kitty remains a bit unsteady on her hind legs, she shows no signs they are holding her back. According to her foster mom, Madeline loves to explore and happily curls up on the couch for a good snooze afterwards.
We’re very happy to report Madeline is ready for adoption! Scotties Facial Tissue will cover her adoption fee this weekend, so come visit the ARL’s Dedham shelter and read her adoption profile to learn more about her.
Because of her unsteady legs, she would do best in a home with carpet. A one-story house or apartment, or a home where she would spend most of her time in one big room or have access to her litter box and food without having to climb stairs would make for the ideal situation for Madeline.
In the words of Dr. Gollon: “Madeline is a special cat and quite a survivor! The family who adopts her will most definitely fall in love with her as much as we have at ARL.”
Scotties Facial Tissue covers adoption fees on ALL cats 1 year-old and up!
During the last full week of National Adopt-a-Cat Month, our partner Scotties Facial Tissue will cover the adoption fees on cats 1 year-old and up!
How could you say no to that face! Scotties Facial Tissue will cover the adoption fees on 5+ old cats like Care Bear, June 22-29.
Starting today through June 29, the ARL hopes to find homes for a variety of fuzzy and fluffy, playful and peaceful cats and kittens.
Cats like Care Bear (pictured right) who love a good cheek scratch and to chase the laser pointer a bit before curling up on the couch for a snooze would make the purr-fect feline companion!
“Our goal for this partnership is to help a great organization do what they do best – finding good homes for these loving animals,” said John Robertson, director of marketing for Scotties Facial Tissues. “We hope that our donation will act as an incentive for caring people to come forward and open up their homes.”
When you adopt a cat from an animal shelter like the ARL, you give a cat a chance at a better life. All adoptable cats and kittens at the ARL also receive:
Bob the Street Cat is the real-life central character in the best-selling two-book series by James Bowen, a street musician and recovering drug addict. Bowen found the injured and sickly ginger cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, and discovered nursing the injured cat back to good health gave his life meaning and purpose.
Bob’s personality and antics continue to entertain and inspire Bowen everyday.
The ARL is one of many organizations benefiting from Bob the Street Cat’s generosity and support for finding new homes for deserving cats today.
Thank you Bobfor including cats at the ARL in your National Bob’s Buds Day celebration!
As a reminder, the ARL requires the following information as part of the adoption process for cats and kittens:
Proof that adopter is 18 years of age or older
A Massachusetts ID with valid current address (No Student IDs)
Animal Rescue League of Boston gets creative during Adopt-a-Cat Month to find homes for shelter cats
Boston, MA – June is National Adopt a Cat Month, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and business partners have come together to help find homes for shelter cats.
“Every spring and summer, the ARL’s shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham are flooded with new litters of kittens,” explains Mary Nee, president of the ARL. “At the same time, we have a steady stream of adult cats coming in who also need care and shelter.”
As a result, ARL staff have their work cut out for them when it comes to finding the cats in their care safe and loving homes as quickly as possible to help as many animals as they can.
“When you adopt, you give a cat a chance at a better life,” says Nee.
She also points to the veterinary and behavioral care every adoptable cats at the ARL also receives, including:
Feline leukemia test
Flea, tick and mite treatment
Microchip identification and registration
Through partnerships with businesses, the ARL hopes to boost cat adoptions during the busy month of June. Scotties Facial Tissue will make a $5,000 donation to cover adoption fees on select adult cats June 22 through June 29 at all ARL shelters, and Cityside Subaru will provide funding for additional radio advertising to promote adoptions.
ClearChannel Outdoor, WBOS, WZLX, and the Sports Hub will also help promote cat adoptions.
Visit arlboston.org or the ARL’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages regularly during the month of June for additional details plus shelter locations, hours, and to learn more adopting a cat.
About the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Founded in 1899, the ARL is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. In 2013, the ARL served over 14,000 individual animals through our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, and our law enforcement, rescue, and veterinary services. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need.
About Scotties Facial Tissue
Considered one of the top facial tissue manufacturers in the United States, Scotties Facial Tissues is owned by Irving Tissue, Inc. a Canadian-based and family owned company committed to managing its operations in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner. For more information about Scotties Facial Tissues please visit scottiesfacial.com.
About Cityside Subaru
CitysideSubaru is a Stellar Performer Subaru Dealership in Massachusetts serving Metro Boston, Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont area. You’ll find all the information you need to help decide which Subaru is right for you. They were named Subaru Dealer of the Year in 2010 by DealerRater.com.