Thunderstorms Bring Dangers of Loud Noises Home

Many dogs are afraid of loud noises a problem that takes on additional importance this time of year, with 4th of July Fireworks celebrations in most communities.  Recently, one of our own employees’ dogs became frightened during a thunderstorm and chewed through a screen door to escape.  Staff members and friends are now scouring a Stoneham neigborhood (click here for enlarged map) to find “Old Dirty” (left), a 60-lb and very sweet pit bull mix.

On June 30, specially-trained rescue technicians from the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston, staff, and friends scoured the Stoneham neighborhood where Old Dirty was last seen.

If you see Old Dirty, please call the Animal Rescue League of Boston at 617-426-9170.

Stoneham Sun News Story About Old Dirty


Loud Noises And How Dogs React

Dr. Amy Marder, director of the Center for Shelter Dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Boston and noted animal behaviorist, commented “Due to unusually intense and frequent thunderstorms, this season has been exceptionally bad for dogs and cats with noise phobias.  While most fearful dogs shake, pant and pace, some will attempt to escape, especially when left alone.”

There are things that you can do to help your pet be more comfortable during these times:

  1. Blocking the noise through the use of window fans and air conditioners helps many animals. 
  2. Showing your dog or cat to a quiet, safe area, such as a basement, closet or padded crate may also be appreciated. 
  3. Some phobic animals require the use of anti-anxiety medication to help them be comfortable. 
  4. Contact your veterinarian if you think that your dog or cat needs medication.

If your dog is fearful of loud noises, please take extra precautions during the Fourth of July. Doors, fences, and other enclosures that might keep your dog safe normally might not be sufficient during a storm.  Consider taking your pet to visit a friend somewhere that the noise from fireworks is minimal, and if you do need to be home, be sure your dog is securely contained and that there are no opportunities to escape through screens, gates, or fences. If your dog does become lost, waste no time in calling your local animal control officer.

The Massachusetts Animal Coalition has a very informative website detailing all the steps you can take to maximize your chances of finding a lost pet:


June Is Adopt-A-Cat Month

June is national “Adopt-a-Cat Month”. To celebrate, all adoptions of cats one year of age and over will be discounted.


Foster Care Baby Shower

Boston – Sunday June 1st  1-4 PM
Dedham – Sunday June 1st  1-4 PM
Brewster – Saturday June 7th  1-4 PM

Click here for more details!

In celebration of Adopt-A-Cat Month, Boston Veterinary Care is pleased to host a free Soft Paws clinic on Sunday, June 15 from 1- 4 pm.  Bring your cat or cats and Free Soft-Paws & Nail Trimming Clinic

Boston Veterinary Care  – Sunday June 15th – 1-4 PM

In celebration of Adopt-A-Cat Month, Boston Veterinary Care is pleased to host a free Soft Paws clinic on Sunday, June 15 from 1- 4 pm.  Bring your cat or cats and we will trim their nails and apply Soft Paws nail caps at no charge.  All cats must have a current rabies vaccine to be eligible.  Boston Veterinary Care is located at 10 Chandler Street in Boston’s South End.

Kids T-shirt Making!

Boston Adoption Center  – Sunday June 22nd – 1-4 PM

In celebration of Adopt-A-Cat Month, bring the kids to the Boston Adoption Center Lobby on Sunday, June 22 from 1- 4 pm where they can make their own cat T-shirts!

Weekly Raffles

Boston – Throughout the month of June every cat adopter will be eligible to enter a raffle for great prizes!  Winners will be drawn weekly.

Thanks Adopters!!! The total number of cats adopted in June: 218

Rescue Services Participates in MEMA Evacuation Drill

On May 10, 2008 the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston participated in a training exercise with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The exercise simulated a significant nuclear event at the Seabrook Power Plant which may warrant an evacuation. The drill was held at the Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield MA, which is designated as the reception center for evacuees. The ARL of Boston’s role is to be the lead agency for any animal-related issues and to provide temporary housing for animals while their owners are being processed. Our Mobile Adoption Rescue Vehicle (MARV) was on site to simulate how we could care for animals during disaster situations. We also had one of our rescue vehicles there, simulating that we were ready to respond in case animals needed to be transported or there was a call for assistance in the area. The day was a great success and our portion of the exercise was very well received by MEMA and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), who was grading the exercise.  A 2nd drill will be held in June so that FEMA can evaluate some areas that were not graded in the 1st exercise. The ARL of Boston will be present at this drill as well.

Special Boston Veterinary Care Event

In celebration of Adopt-A-Cat Month at The Animal Rescue League, Boston Veterinary Care is pleased to host a free Soft Paws clinic on Sunday, June 15th from 1 4 pm.  Bring your cat or cats and we will trim their nails and apply Soft Paws nail caps at no charge.  All cats must have a current rabies vaccine to be eligible.  See you there!

June Is Adopt-A-Cat Month

June is national “Adopt-a-Cat Month”. To celebrate, all adoptions of cats one year of age and over will be discounted. Last year 212 cats found new homes in June League-wide. This year we hope to increase that number.

Please help make this our most successful adoption month yet – Adopt a cat today!

Current Legislation the Animal Rescue League of Boston is Following:

Senate Bill 860: An act relative to prohibiting internet hunting.

Internet hunting allows customers to point and shoot at animals in a video game-like setting, only through this technology, it can actually kill animals. The system connects the person “hunting” on the internet to a camera and rifle set up on a platform aimed at potential animals. The bill, signed into law on August 2, 2007, makes it illegal to hunt via an internet connection or operate a physical or internet site where this activity is conducted.
Sponsor: Senator Robert S. Creedon (D-2nd Plymouth and Bristol)
Signed into law by Governor Patrick August 2, 2007.

Senate Bill 1787: An Act Establishing a Massachusetts Cat and Dog Overpopulation Fund  
This bill would create a voluntary tax check-off to prevent pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering. The fund would be used to assist persons meeting income limit standards to sterilize and vaccinate dogs and cats and to educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering.
Sponsor:  Senator Pamela P. Resor (D- Middlesex and Worcester)

Senate Bill 2002: An Act Relating to the Treatment of Elephants
The bill would disallow any person who houses, possesses or travels with elephants (with a few exceptions) to use any implement that would result in physical harm to the elephants. The bill would also prohibit keeping the elephants constantly restrained by chain or similar device. For example, the bullhook (or ankus) which is a club made of wood, metal, or other substantial material, with a sharp steel hook and metal poker at one end is commonly used to train an elephant.
Sponsor: Senator Robert Hedlund (D- Plymouth and Norfolk)
Reported unfavorably.
The Animal Rescue League still supports this bill and will be pushing it again in the next legislative session.

House Bill 3563: An Act Relating to Regulating the Display of Red and Blue Flashing, Rotating or Oscillating Lights
This bill would grant officers of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, who are commissioned as special state police officers, the authority to utilize emergency flashing lights on their vehicles. Officers of these agencies are mandatory EMS providers and have administered emergency first aid to victims of motor vehicle accidents. These warning lights would ensure both officer and victim safety.
Sponsor: Representative David Linsky (D- Norfolk and Sherborn)

House Docket 4864: An Act Prohibiting the Renting of Pets
This bill was filed in response to a new company, Flex Petz, that rents dogs.  It was filed on February 23rd and is currently in the Rules Committee.

House Bill 774: Resolve providing for an investigation and study in order to balance the needs of property owners with those of coyotes.
This bill would create a 7-member special commission to investigate and study coyote-related issues.
Sponsor: Representative Frank Hynes (D-Plymouth)

House Bill 834: An Act Safeguarding our Natural Resources.
This bill would allow the use of the body-gripping conibear trap for recreational trapping.
Sponsor: Representative George Peterson (R- Worcester)

House Bill 761: An Act relative to the control of coyotes.
This bill expands the use of padded leghold traps for capturing coyote (pursuant to the health or safety exception) by allowing the Director of Fisheries and Wildlife to authorize this use (currently the state and federal departments of health can already do this).
Sponsor: Representative Wiliam Greene (D- Middlesex)

Hosue Bill 762: An Act Relative to property damage caused by beaver.
This bill would allow a so-called “pilot program” that woudl allow the use of the body-gripping conibear trap in most counties in the Commonwealth for recreational trapping.
Sponsor: Representative Wiliam Greene (D- Middlesex)

Senate Bill 540: Relating to Wildlife Management Commission
This bill will create a commission to evaluate and recommend methods to wildlife managers and the public to successfully manage and co-exist with beaver, muskrat, coyote and moose.
Sponsor: Senator Pamela Resor (D- Middlesex and Worcester)

House Bill 836: Relating to Further Defining the Term “Domesticated Animal” Concerning Animal Cruelty.
This would prevent the ARL of Boston from enforcing the animal cruelty statutes as they pertain to wildlife.
Sponsor: Representative George Peterson (R- Worcester)

House Bill 749: Relating to the Director of Wildlife and Fisheries.
This bill would give additional authority to the DFW and allow them to permit hunting on Sundays.
Sponsor: Representative Paul Frost (R- Worcester)

House Bill 2315: Relating to Hunting on Sundays.
This bill would allow hunting on Sundays.
Sponsor: Representative Anne Gobi (D-Worcester)

House Bill 754: Relating to the Moose Population.
This bill would allow a moose hunting season to be established in Massachusetts.
Sponsor: Representative Anne Gobi (D-Worcester)

Senate Bill 479: Relating to the Conservation of Fisheries and Wildlife.
This bill would give exclusive authority to the state DFW over the taking, possession and management of wildlife and inland fisheries.  This bill would remove the ability of any political subdivision (city/towns and their conservation commissions, etc.) to enact any bylaws and regulate activities (such as hunting, trapping) on municipal land.
Sponsor: Senator Stephen Brewer (D- Worcester)

House Bill 831: Relating to the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
This bill would make the DFW board advisory, and transfer decision-making power to the Commissioner rather than the Board in many instances.
Sponsor: Representative George Peterson (D- Worcester)

House Bill 744: Relating to Deer Hunting.
This bill would allow deer hunting on the Saturday and Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving.
Sponsor: Representative James Fagan (D-Taunton)

House Bill 890: An Act Relative to Hunting or Trapping on Private Land.
This bill requires that hunters must get written permission before to engage in these activities on private property, rather than placing the burden on property owners to place signs.
Sponsor:  Representative Martin Walsh (D- Boston)

Simple Steps You Can Take Today to Protect Urban Wildlife

  •  Keep cats indoors to prevent them from being injured and to protect birds, which are their most common prey after mice.
  • Cap your chimneys to prevent birds and small mammals from becoming trapped.
  • If animals are living in your garage or on your property, anything that prevents a mother from caring for her young will only cause suffering. Most species of native wildlife have their young from early spring (March) to early fall (SeptemberOctober). Since the family will typically live there for only a few weeks, it’s better to wait until they vacate in early fall and then take action to prevent other animals from residing there again.
  • To prevent animals from returning to attics, eaves and crawl spaces, place ammonia-soaked rags near nesting areas, or place a radio turned to a high volume in the area.
  • Tamper-proof your garbage cans. Cover all outdoor trash bins to prevent wildlife from being attracted to your yard, and to protect animals from injuries resulting from discarded food containers (such as peanut butter jars becoming trapped on raccoon’s heads, or yogurt containers on skunk’s heads.)
  • Check porches, decks, sheds, and garages for holes or weak areas and seal them off. Regularly check the roof and eaves and block all holes using galvanized sheet metal. Keep garage and shed doors shut at night. If an animal goes into a garage or shed, simply leave the door open for a few hours after dark and the animal will eventually leave.
  • Keep tree branches trimmed to prevent wildlife from accessing your roof.

There are also ways to protect wildlife away from home. For instance, when at the beach, be sure to dispose of all containers, food wrappers and other trash before you leave. Sea turtles and other marine life will often eat plastic bags, causing severe (and often fatal) blockages in their digestive tracts. They can also become entangled in packaging such as plastic six-pack rings. Avoid losing Frisbees, aerobies (a type of flying disc with the center cut out) and other beach toys in the water to prevent sea life from becoming caught in them. Be sure to also bring in any loose fishing lines and lures from ponds and other fishing areas.

If you see an animal in distress, please call the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston at 617-426-9170.

Help the ARL of Boston’s Rescue Services team continue to perform life-saving rescues of pets and wildlife by making a donation today.

Volunteer Profile, Brewster: Dianne Wadsworth

From Loss to a Sense of Place

Arrive at the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston’s Brewster branch and there is a good chance you’ll see Dianne Wadsworth patiently preparing an eager dog for a walk. Since 1984, she has been firmly planted within the ARL of Boston’s Brewster branch, walking dogs along the eight-minute route that she designed herself. The route guarantees that each dog receives an equal amount of activity, attention and exercise, and is a symbol of her thoughtful devotion to them.

Dianne’s legacy began on a day that every pet owner dreads. Barely settled after her move from California, she was faced with a 15-year old Newfoundland shepherd in failing health. Knowing it was time to let him go, she stepped into the ARL of Boston’s Brewster shelter preparing to say goodbye to her dear friend. Through her tears, she happened to peer into a nearby kennel and spontaneously asked permission to walk a dog. She strapped on the leash, walked out the door and, at that moment, realized that a passion was born. Since that day, Dianne has been a devoted friend to the animals under her care, as well as an integral part of the day-to-day workings of the shelter.

“Dianne is everything you could want in a volunteer,” says Sandra Luppi, manager of the ARL of Boston’s Brewster branch.  “Although she has numerous other responsibilities, she takes her duties here very seriously. Dianne is here through the rain, sleet and snow. She knows the animals rely on her.”

Dianne’s love for the dogs is matched only by her respect for the ARL of Boston’s employees. She is a gracious co-worker and host; each year she throws a Christmas party for Brewster’s staff and volunteers, giving everyone a moment to relax, have fun and spend time together.

From what began as a deeply personal experience of grief for a beloved dog grew a passionate, 23-year commitment to uplifting the lives of our shelter animals, as well as the people, who care for them.


To help the Animal Rescue League of Boston continue to help abused, abandoned and neglected animals, please consider making a donation.

High Angle Rescue Training

Rescue specialists at the ARL of Boston receive special training that enables them to perform ice rescues, high angle climbing, technical rope work for cats in trees, swift water rescues, large animal rescues, disaster response and chemical capture. Our rescue specialists are supported by fully-equipped, state-of-the-art animal rescue vehicles and trailers containing nets, catch poles, snares, remote-controlled drop nets, humane traps, kayaks and ice boats.

Below are some photographs from our High Angle Technical Animal Rescue training.

Third Annual Paws for a Cause


Proceeds Benefit the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Brewster Branch

On Saturday, February 9, 2008, more than 80 canines took their human companions out for a fun-filled evening at the Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster, Mass., to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The third annual Paws for a Causeevent brought together a variety of dogs and their human companions and raised more than $3,000 for the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Brewster Adoption Center.

Special thanks to the following sponsors who graciously donated raffle items: Katrina Boucher, The Cape Cod Dog; Elizabeth Curran, Lady Brett Flowers; Joy Paules, Agway of Cape Cod; Brewster Shelter Agent Penny Loverme, Brewster; and Love of the Breed, Orleans. Also, a note of thanks to Brewster Volunteer Kim Roderiques who photographed the event, Cynthia Gordon O’Neil for her harp music, and Ocean Edge Resort for allowing dogs to roam the event hall.

To help the dedicated staff and volunteers at the ARL of Boston’s Brewster Adoption Center continue to care for and find homes for homeless animals on Cape Cod, please make a donation today.