Dorchester Spay/Neuter Clinic September 10-11

The Animal Rescue League of Boston, the MSPCA and Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society are teaming up to provide low-cost spay/neuter services for 100 Boston cats Sept. 10 and 11. The spay/neuter clinic will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the United House of Prayer for All People, 206 Seaver Street in Dorchester.

The spay/neuter services cost $50 and include spay or neuter surgery, rabies and distemper vaccines, a veterinary exam and microchip identification. Appointments need to be scheduled by calling (617) 226-5607.

Special thanks to the Massachusetts Animal Coalition “I’m Animal Friendly” license plate program for their financial support.

Kitten Adoption Day in Dedham

Kitten season is in full swing and this Saturday, July 10, the ARL of Boston’s Dedham branch is hosting a special kitten adoption event.

Photo courtesy of Amelia Hughes

In addition to finding a cute and playful new friend, adopting a kitten from the ARL of Boston makes economic sense. Our adoption fee includes a full veterinary health screening, flea/tick treatment as needed and all initial vaccinations. Additionally, all kittens have been spayed or neutered.

What: Kitten Adoption Day

Where: The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Dedham Branch from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information about adopting from the ARL of Boston, please select the “Adopt” tab above.

A Wishful Weekend for Boston Pets

Join the Animal Rescue League of Boston and Unleashed by PETCO™ on the “green carpet” to celebrate the special bond between pets and their parents. Kick off a four-day fundraiser for Boston pets in need with your pet at our  Wellesley location.

Dedham Shred Day

Maddie, adopted from ARL of Boston, knows that shredding is fun! She thinks you should try it out and help her friends at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

PETCO parking lot
1210 Providence Highway (Route 1)
Norwood, MA 02062
Sunday, April 25th
9am – noon

There’s a new kind of event that everyone’s been talking about, and it’s not only fun – but useful too! Mobile shredding events have been happening across the country as identity theft becomes a more prominent issue and the Animal Rescue League of Boston is excited to offer a twist on this popular way of destroying confidential documents. Not only will all of the proceeds go to support ARL of Boston’s programs, but there will be animals on-site during the event for you to “meet and greet”! Our Mobile Animal Transport (MAT) will be parked on-site with animals who may be adopted from our shelters after the event. You can also be assured that all shredded materials are sorted and recycled making the process environmentally-friendly. Save yourself the time of shredding, and the risk of identity theft, and have Doc Shredding Corp.’s mobile shredding truck destroy your sensitive documents while also supporting a good cause, and helping the environment!

The cost of shredding one standard size, 17’ x 12’ x 12’, box of documents is $5 with all proceeds going to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Don’t forget that if you’re bringing other family members along, they can visit the shelter animals while you wait to shred! For more information contact us atadvancement@arlboston.org.

Materials that can be brought to the shredder include tax records, medical information, bills, and any confidential documents like unsolicited credit card applications. Please check with a registered accountant on how long you need to keep your tax information. Items that should NOT be brought to the shred event are large binders, newspapers, phone books, magazines or any non-paper item. All of the shredded materials will be recycled at a local recycling center.

ARLB Testifies on Protecting Animals in Domestic Abuse Cases

Tom Flanagan testifies at a speaker forum sponsored by Massachusetts State Rep. Katherine Clark of Melrose as to the importance of including provision for animals in the issuance of temporary restraining orders in cases of domestic violence.

On Jan. 21, Tom Flanagan, Investigative Specialist for the Animal Rescue League of Boston and co-author of the book Silent Victims, Recognizing and Stopping Abuse of the Family Pet, was invited to testify on the link between domestic abuse and violence towards pets at a speaker’s forum arranged by Massachusetts State Rep. Katherine Clark of Melrose.

In addition to Flanagan, other testifiers included Animal Control Officer Deni Goldman as well as victims of domestic violence whose animals were also victimized.

According to Flanagan temporary restraining orders under Section 209A of the Massachusetts General Laws include the most obvious provisions: turn in any guns, stay 500 feet away from the complainant or children, don’t phone, don’t visit the complainant’s workplace.

“But provision for animals is not included. And so often, the family pet – which may be the only thing that gave kids any sense of stability – is used as a tool to lure a victim willing to do almost anything to get the animal back so the kids will have stability in their life. ‘You want the dog…?’ ‘You want the cat…?’”

Legislative efforts are being made to adjust the issuance of restraining orders to include animals as protected items, and the forum was held in support of that legislation.

“Our combined efforts were meant to emphasize the importance of animals in situations of domestic ‘disharmony’ – not just domestic violence -  and how important it is to include animals in restraining orders,” explains Flanagan.

“People don’t realize how huge an element that is in these situations. Hopefully we can get that info out so people can be aware of it and include it.”

Flanagan is optimistic that the testimony may have a positive effect. “The people we were trying to get to don’t get to deal with these things the way that we do. But I think we had a lot of impact on the people listening,” he concludes.

Massachusetts State Rep. Katherine Clark of Melrose with Animal Rescue League of Boston Investigative Specialist Tom Flanagan.

Interfaith ‘Blessing of the Animals’ in Dedham January 1

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Dedham branch invites the public to kick off the new year at a special interfaith “Blessing of the Animals” on Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their pets or a photograph of a beloved animal for an individual blessing.

“Each year, the most magical thing happens during the Blessing of the Animals,” explains Reverend Patricia Handloss, ARL of Boston overseer and associate vicar of the Old North Church (retired). “There is a verse in the Book of Isaiah that says: ‘the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.’ It has never ceased to amaze me that the most unlikely pairings of animals – from snakes to birds to an Australian tree frog  – can coexist so peacefully. I think they know they are being blessed,” she says.

WHAT:   Interfaith “Blessing of the Animals” at the ARL of Boston

WHEN:    Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:  The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Dedham branch
55 Anna’s Place at 238 Pine Street
Dedham, MA 02026

Parking is available in the front lot (adjacent to Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery) at the Noble and Greenough School, located next door to the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Click here for directions to our Dedham facility.

Party with the Animals December 6

A horse named “Sammy” will be the special guest at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Holiday Open House Dec. 6 from 12:00-4:00 p.m. Santa Claus and a group of Victorian carolers will also be there, we’ll be having crafts for kids, face painters, photos of kids/pets – plus cocoa and all sorts of great cookies and pastries.

The open house will take place in the Lobby and Auditorium at the Animal Rescue League of Boston headquarters at 10 Chandler Street, in Boston’s South End. The adoption area will also be open for those wishing to check out the animals looking for a loving “forever” home.

Honor your own pet and support our shelter animals by purchasing a $20, $35 or $50 ornament for our “Giving Tree.” In addition, for the “hard-to-find-gifts-for” animal lovers in your life, we’ll have a variety of Animal Rescue League of Boston merchandise on sale – including t-shirts and sweatshirts, caps, calendars, tote bags, etc. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards are accepted.

Meet Sammy Dec. 6!

Even if you can’t attend, if you’d like to honor a beloved pet, you can contribute to the “Giving Tree.”

Directions to 10 Chandler Street

H1N1 (Swine Flu) and Your Pets

By Martha Smith, DVM

The H1N1 virus (or “Swine Flu”) has been of great concern to many during this flu season. Until recently, experts believed that our pets (with the exception of birds and pet pigs) were not susceptible to the virus. Typically, more common seasonal flu strains are not a major cause for concern for household pets.

However, recent cases of H1N1 in 2 ferrets and a cat that have tested positive for the H1N1 virus demonstrate that human transmission to pets is possible. To date, a ferret in Oregon that tested positive has since died, and a 13 year-old cat in Iowa fully recovered. No dogs have currently tested positive.

Treatment for pets that have contracted H1N1 are supportive care and antibiotics. The flu presents similarly in pets as it does in humans, which most commonly results in a mild illness. While veterinarians and the Centers for Disease Control continue to monitor H1N1 to protect people and their pets, there is no H1N1 vaccine approved for animals at this time.

We understand owners’ love for their pets, but veterinarians and public health experts recommend refraining from sleeping with or snuggling with your pet if you are ill.

If your pet presents signs of flu-like illness (lethargy, sneezing, decreased appetite), please do not attempt to treat the illness with human, over-the-counter cold and flu medicines. Instead, see your veterinarian or local animal hospital as soon as possible.

3-Year Plan to Guide League Through Turbulent Economy

On September 22nd, the Board of Directors of the Animal Rescue League of Boston approved a Three Year Financial Plan that was developed over the summer by an ad hoc Budget Committee.

The plan encompasses salaries and benefits; programs and facilities; use of the capital spending fund, bequests income, and the League’s endowment fund; as well as fundraising, and other cost cutting measures.

According to League President Jay Bowen, the plan is “designed to guide us through the current turbulent financial times while securing the future of our organization.

“Since December 31, 2008, despite the excellent work of our investment committee, we have experienced a serious decline in our endowment – as have most non-profits,” explains Bowen. “For the League, a 17.2% decline has meant a loss of $14,274,458 of market value, which means we have less to draw on to support operations.

“The Budget Committee basically looked at every aspect of the League’s activities to determine how we could best serve our constituents and continue to support our dedicated and hardworking staff, while maintaining fiscal responsibility during these particularly trying times. While none of us can be happy about cost cutting, I think the committee did an outstanding job of identifying and prioritizing the issues we face and steps we need to take.”

Below are the recommendations presented in the three-year financial plan.

Salaries
In 2010 salaries of all employees will be frozen. In addition, the salaries of members of the Senior Management Team will be reduced with the range being from 2.5-15%. The plan calls for the resumption of annual salary increases in 2011, however because of  financial volatility, a firm commitment to that goal cannot be made this time. 2010 Savings: Wage freeze: $122,687; Salary reductions: $57,708.

Three positions each in Advancement, Finance, and Rescue Services were discontinued when they became vacant. 2010 Savings: $128,000.

Benefits
Effective October 1, 2009 the League transitioned from a Harvard Pilgrim Health PPO to a Tufts Health Plan HMO with a $500 deductible per individual, $1000 per family.  Premium increases are budgeted at 10 percent for 2011 and 15 percent for 2012. 2010 Savings: $82,716.

Pembroke Animal Care and Adoption Center

The Center closed in the spring of 2007 and there have been ongoing efforts to either sell or lease the building.  It is anticipated that this will be achieved before December 31, 2009.  Permanent Savings: $272,636.

Mobile Spay Neuter Program
The existing program will be closed in December. Utilizing the Grace and Elliot Marks Fund, a new vehicle will be purchased which will increase the number of procedures completed during each session from 14 to 40.  The increased income eradicates the current operating deficit. In addition, the Barnstable Probate Court has permitted the League to draw 5% annually from the Marks Fund to support this program. Honoring the terms of our petition to the Attorney General and probate court, this program will service Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts. Overseer Beryl R. Benacerraf, M.D., who has great expertise in developing efficient operations in health care settings, is working with the staff to develop a new operating plan based on best practices. Permanent Savings: $336,250.

Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery
An ad hoc committee of directors, overseers, staff and a volunteer has been working over the summer to develop a marketing and business plan to eliminate ongoing operating deficits. Permanent Savings: $134,514.

Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center
Since 2008 $1,865,398 in bequests restricted by the donors to support the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Brewster program has been received. These funds are in a special restricted fund and will cover the operating deficit of approximately $1,808,698 through the end of 2012. 2009 Savings: $444,573; 2010 Savings: $470,436; 2011 Savings: $446,404; 2012 Savings: $447,285.

Center for Shelter Dogs
The second payment of $1 million from the Stanton Foundation was recently received. It is anticipated that the total grant of $3 million will fund the Center through 2012. The League is seeking endowment funds to secure support for the Center’s operations going into the future.

Capital Spending Fund
Annual contributions to the capital spending fund have been suspended in 2011 and 2012. 2011 Savings: $409,618.

Bequests Income
The total bequest income used in this plan is an average of bequest income received during the last 10 years and equals $1,600,000. If in one year more than the allotted amount is received the surplus will be folded into the endowment. If the reverse occurs then the League will be challenged to make the difference up through other means.
2010 – 75% $1,200,000
2011 – 50%      800,000
2012 – 25%      400,000
2013 – 0

Endowment
The 5% spending policy remains in place.

Other Cost Savings
In addition to the savings noted the Budget Committee reviewed all operating budgets and recommended adjustments to the Advancement and Communication budgets.2010 Savings: $227, 000

Fundraising
In addition, to cost cutting, says Bowen, the plan also places an increased emphasis on fundraising. Specifically, fundraising needs to grow at a more rapid pace than it has during the past three years. For the League to be financially solvent in 2013 when bequests will no longer be used to support operations and the Brewster restricted funds depleted there will be a need for annual gift income to have reached $4 million.  $2,377,000 has been budgeted for 2009.

“This will continue to be a priority for the Advancement Team and me,” says Bowen. “In addition, it will be necessary for the Directors and Overseers to have an ownership in fundraising and an Advancement Committee must become part of the governance structure.”

Thanks to Budget Committee
Bowen again, thanks the other members of the ad hoc Budget Committee who worked with him to come up with the three-year plan.

Committee members include Directors Kathleen Garvey (chair), Lee Ann Leahy and Robie W. White; Overseer Jeff Kaplan; Staff Julie Chirillo, Jenny Lindamood, Gary Patronek, Susan Ruderman, Martha Smith, Lyn Washington and Jennifer Wooliscroft.

“For any organization, developing a financial plan to deal with an uncertain economy is a daunting task.” says Bowen. “For a non-profit with a special mission such as the Animal Rescue League of Boston, that charge is particularly challenging, but the committee took it on, and I think all of us can be proud and grateful for the work they have done.”