Funding Provided Through Line 33F Campaign
It’s the height of tax season, and Massachusetts residents once again have the opportunity to donate to the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF); an organization dedicated to eradicating animal homelessness through spay and neuter programs. This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and MAF officials gathered at ARL’s Dedham Shelter to discuss the importance of expanding this highly successful program.
“Right now there are 256 municipalities and about 30 veterinarians participating in the program statewide,” said Lauren Gilfeather, Coordinator for MAF. “It’s a safety net for people who are enrolled in state-funded assistance programs, and who may not be able to afford to have their pet spayed or neutered.”
Animal Rescue League of Boston and Mass Animal Fund staff gather at ARL’s Dedham shelter.
The MAF was created in 2012, is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, and funded through the voluntary tax check-off (Line 33f) on the Massachusetts resident income tax form as well as monetary donations. With current funding levels, MAF can provide vouchers for about 1,100 surgeries annually. However, with just a minimal donation amount, that number could increase dramatically.
“If every Massachusetts taxpayer donated just $1, we could help up to 40,000 animals a year,” Gilfeather said.
Local animal control officers may request vouchers for dogs and cats held in their respective municipal shelters, or on behalf of low-income residents or feral trappers who request them. Since the first vouchers were disseminated in July 2014, more than 7,500 surgeries have been performed state-wide, nearly 800 by ARL alone.
“The Animal Rescue League of Boston was one of the first providers to sign on and through the Spay Waggin’ has been able to get to areas on the South Shore where we don’t have providers,” Gilfeather said. “ARL has been always been supportive and is a big reason for the program’s success.”
Two kittens await surgery during ARL Community Surgical Clinic in Dedham.
In conjunction with MAF, ARL is currently operating a Community Surgical Clinic at its Dedham location every Friday. The clinic offers low-cost spay and neuter services for pet owners who have received an MAF voucher from their local animal control officer and area animal shelters that need assistance for animals in their care. In addition, the clinic will soon be able to offer other services as well, including dental procedures. Appointments can be made online, and you MUST have an MAF voucher to receive services.
“The Dedham Community Surgical Clinic will provide much needed surgery space for clients with MAF vouchers that are not able to schedule elsewhere for their pet’s surgery,” said Cheryl Traversi, ARL Associate Director of Community Services. “By operating this clinic, ARL is ensuring that we are providing even more spay and neuter surgeries to the pets and pet owners in the greatest need.”
Your Donations Matter
Homeless Animal Prevention and Care is one of six causes listed on Line 33 of the Massachusetts resident income tax form, and taxpayers can contribute any amount they choose. ARL encourages any Massachusetts taxpayer who has a compassion for helping animals in need to contribute to the cause, and help us ensure that animals are safe and healthy living in communities and out of shelters.
Good for Pets & the People Who Love Them
Today marks the 22nd anniversary of World Spay Day. Originally created by the Doris Day Animal League in 1995 it became a program of the Humane Society of the United States when they combined operations in 2006. World Spay Day is the first and only international day of action to promote spaying and neutering of pets.
If you don’t have a pet you might be wondering why you should care about spay and neuter. Here are a few factors to consider:
- All of us are affected by animal overpopulation
- Millions of tax dollars are spent annually to shelter and care for stray, abandoned and unwanted pets (the ARL is privately funded and does not receive any of those tax dollars)
- Property damaged and livestock killed when pets roam
There are numerous reasons to spay/neuter your pet. Here are just a few of the most important ones:
- Curb pet overpopulation and make your pet healthier
- Reduce the number of homeless pets euthanized - In the U.S. estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year
- Neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs
- Spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs
- Increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain type of cancers including uterine cancer and cancers of reproductive tract
- Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer (decreases the chance by over 98%) and totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer
- Reduce unruly behavior
- It is good for the community
If you’re concerned about the cost of of spay/neuter surgery, low-cost options are available in most areas. The ARL established the Spay Waggin’ in 2000, in recognition that basic veterinary services, including spay/neuter, were financially out of reach for many pet owners who wanted to do the responsible thing, but could not afford to. Keep in mind that the cost associated with providing adequate care for just one litter of puppies or kittens is often more than the cost of spaying or neutering
Phil Set to Begin New Life
The maltese-type dog that was found abandoned and shivering inside a crate along the side of Downer Avenue in Hingham several weeks ago has found his forever home. Renamed Phil by shelter staff, he was adopted on Thursday at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Chandler Street shelter.
Phil became a media sensation when he was found, as both the ARL and the Hingham Police Department received thousands of inquiries from animal lovers throughout the state and the nation as well. During his initial intake exam, ARL shelter veterinarians determined Phil to be about two-years-old and, despite his harrowing ordeal, was in excellent overall health.
Like every animal available for adoption at ARL, Phil was neutered, microchipped, fully vaccinated, and evaluated through the organization’s shelter behavior and enrichment program. Because of his shaggy appearance he was also groomed. While skittish upon intake, the friendly pup was quick to warm up, showing off his energetic personality to ARL staff and volunteers. The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Law Enforcement Services had been assisting Hingham Police in its investigation to discover who left Phil on the side of the road, as under Massachusetts law, abandoning an animal is a felony offense. Because there were no credible witnesses and Phil was not microchipped, all leads have been exhausted and the person(s) responsible have not been found.
The ARL wants to remind the public that if they are no longer able to care for an animal, they can be surrendered to organizations like ARL, or a local shelter, or even a local police or fire department. There are resources available, and abandoning an animal is NEVER an option.
These 5 cold weather habits will help keep animals safe
Let’s face it: residents of New England are no stranger to the frigid temperatures and harsh precipitation that winter can bring. Whether it’s salting our walkway, defrosting our car windows, or layering ourselves with heavy fabrics, we are quick to adapt to the changing elements.
When the blustery weather hits, adjusting a few more of your daily habits can actually help protect your pet and the animals in your community too! Just add these 5 Dos and Don’ts to your winter safety routine:
1. DO watch the thermometer. Although some animals are conditioned for cold weather, many are not. Whenever possible, bring all pets indoors when the temperature plummets below 20 degrees. Animals with short hair, puppies and kittens, senior pets, and those that have a lowered immune system are most at risk and should be moved inside when the mercury drops below 40 degrees.
2. DON’T forget to check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Unfortunately, this method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check to wake a napping kitty before you stick the key in the ignition.
3. DO winterize outdoor accommodations. If your livestock or neighborhood feral can’t be moved into a warm garage or basement, ensure that they have adequate protection against the elements. A winter-friendly outdoor shelter should have three enclosed sides, be raised off the ground, have heated water bowls to prevent freezing, and contain bedding, such as clean straw. The space should be big enough for the animal to lay down, stand, and turn around, but small enough to help trap the heat.
4. DON’T leave flames unattended. Pets gravitate toward warm spaces when they’re cold, just as humans do. If you have a working fireplace, wood stove, space heater, candles, or other heat source supervise your pet at all times to keep them a safe distance from hot surfaces and to avoid serious burns.
5. DO pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Long-haired pets, especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable..
For more helpful tips about dog and cat health and behavior, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.
Meet Zim: From a Rescue, to Patient, to Adopted!
Zim, an 11-month-old tabby classic, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after being trapped for more than two days nearly 50 feet off the ground in a tree in Brockton, MA. Responding to calls from surrounding neighbors, ARL’s Rescue Services was able to scale the tree and save the scared and vocal stray.
“He was certainly happy to be out of that tree,” said Mike Brammer, ARL’s Assistant Manager of Rescue Services. “Almost immediately you could tell that he’d been around people and was very friendly.”
Zim’s beautiful markings and sweet demeanor garnered instant attention, but so did a congenital defect called Eyelid Agenesis that was discovered during his intake exam. It’s a condition where part of the eyelid doesn’t form properly, causing fur to rub up against the cornea, resulting in chronic irritation. For Zim, both eyes were affected, increasing the concern.
“If the condition is left untreated, this chronic irritation can permanently damage the cornea and cause vision impairment,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “This chronic irritation also causes significant discomfort.”
The only way to truly fix the condition is with a skin graft; however the surgery is complicated and requires extensive post-operative care. While Zim’s condition affected both eyes, it wasn’t extremely severe, making cryosurgery an option. Zim had the procedure done by an ophthalmologist at a partner organization less than a week after being rescued out of the tree in Brockton.
“Cryosurgery does not fix the eyelid, but is used to freeze the hair follicles of the fur that is rubbing on the cornea,” Dr. Doyle said. “As such, the cryosurgery removes the chronic irritation caused by the fur and restores comfort to the eyes.”
Zim recovers from cryosurgery wearing a protective cone.
ROAD TO RECOVERY
With the surgery complete, Zim settled in for a few days to recover. Despite undergoing the procedure and being placed in a protective cone, he continued to showcase his personality, purring almost immediately for all the shelter staff and volunteers who would check on the handsome tabby.
Making an excellent recovery, ARL’s veterinary staff determined exactly one week following his surgery that Zim was ready to find his forever home. Certainly not a surprise to anyone at ARL who came in contact with Zim, just a few days after being made available, he has been adopted!
Zim is ready to go to his forever home!
DOING THE WORK ONE ANIMAL AT A TIME
Zim represents the collaborative effort that is necessary to fulfill ARL’s mission of being an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. No matter how they come into our shelters, all animals are treated with kindness and compassion, but we cannot do the work alone.
ARL receives no government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to support programs that help animals in need. Please lend your support so ARL can continue to give animals like Zim a second chance at life.
Hop on over to the ARL and ADOPT a bunny today!
Thanks to our knowledgeable staff and volunteers, the ARL has many types of animals available for adoption- not just cats and dogs. If a feline or canine is not the pet for you, or you have limited space in your home, consider SPREADING THE LOVE and adopting a rabbit!
Bunnies like Tifa are searching for a family to love this Valentine’s Day.
8-month-old Tifa is ready to hop her way into your heart! Click the picture to see her profile.
Here are 5 reasons why you should consider adopting a rabbit this February:
- Bunnies spend the majority of their day quietly inside their cage, making them the perfect companions for apartment dwellers.
- Cottontails can be trained to use a litter box, so you won’t have to rush home from work to let them out.
- Hares need minimal exercise every day, so they require less attention than cats or dogs.
- Rabbits are curious, friendly, and will entertain you for hours with their silly antics.
- Hop-a-longs keep themselves tidy and are all about “clean eating”, snacking on salad, hay, and carrots as treats.
Need a 6th reason? All adoptable rabbits at the ARL receive the following: Spay/neuter services, health screening and veterinary examination, behavior screening and evaluations, vaccinations, parasite treatment, and more!
Don’t forget… to please bring a photo of the cage your rabbit will live in, as it’s required for adoption.
SPREAD THE LOVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY: Not able to ADOPT right now? That’s OK! Consider sponsoring a rabbit’s adoption fee to help a deserving bunny find a home this February! Contact our Boston, Brewster, or Dedham shelter for more information.
Does your dog need a sweater this winter? Answer these 5 questions!
Love it or hate it, many animal-lovers can’t resist a dog in clothing. Whether it be a holiday sweater, a Halloween costume, or simply a fancy collar, photos of a dressed-up doggies are shared by the millions on social media each day.
While the pet retail business may seem frivolous to some, the reality is that some dogs, just like humans, need a little extra help staying warm in the colder months. Sure, your dog naturally sports its own “overcoat”, but some breeds are just not suited to survive in harsh winter climates.
Dog sweaters, coats, and booties may be fashionable, but they can also be extremely functional as well!
Not sure if your if your canine companion needs a dog sweater this winter? Answer YES or NO to our questions below:
Dog sweaters can be both fashionable AND functional! Answer YES or NO to these 5 questions to determine if your dog needs a sweater this winter!
1. Is your dog’s coat made up of short hair like a Boston Terrier’s or French Bulldog’s?
2. If your dog’s coat is made of fur, do you keep it groomed short, as you would a Poodle?
3. Is your dog considered a puppy (under one-year-old), a senior (over 7-years-old), or a toy breed, such as a Chihuahua?
4. Does your dog have a weakened immune system due to health issues, such as hypothyroidism?
5. Do you live in a climate where temperatures dip below freezing during the hours your dog spends time outside?
If you answered “YES” to one or more of the questions above, you may want to consider buying a dog sweater for your canine companion to wear on cold days or during snowfall.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to run out and purchase 17 hound’s-tooth sweater options (unless you want to, of course!) you should browse a little to select outerwear that will work best for your dog.
Take your pooch shopping with you to determine what style, size, and fabrics fits your pup. Make sure whatever you select is simple to put on/pull off and has closures (buttons, zippers, etc.) that are easily accessible.
Your dog’s new sweater may just get everyone at the park saying, “now that’s one practical pup”!
For more useful pet safety advice, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.
5 tips to protect your pet from theft… and what to do if you’re a victim
We do it all the time: We let our cat out in the backyard on a sunny day. We tether our dog to the street lamp to run a quick errand. We live in a safe neighborhood, so what could possibly happen?
Due to the ever-changing economy and the pet business becoming increasingly more lucrative, the scary truth is that pet theft is on the rise. Just as you wouldn’t leave a young child outside unsupervised, the same should go for your pet.With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, don’t forget to show your furry companion how much you love them by keeping them out of harm’s way.
If your pet goes missing, immediately contact your local animal control and shelters.
Follow these 5 important tips to protect your pet from theft:
- At home, keep your pets supervised at all times. Think twice before letting your cat roam freely around the neighborhood or tying your pup to the tree in your front yard.
- Running an errand? Leave your pet at home. Although walking your dog while tackling your daily chores may seem like you’re accomplishing double-duty, the reality is that it only takes a few seconds for a dog-napper to take off with your pet.
- Follow the same rules for pets of all breeds and sizes. Although purebreds and small dogs are the most desirable to a thief for obvious reasons, big friendly dogs or mixed breeds can be just as easily lured into a get-away car waiting nearby.
- Spay or neuter your pet. February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and the ARL has been sharing the many health and behavioral benefits of the low-risk procedure. Another perk? Spayed or neutered pets are much less desirable to thieves, since they can’t be bred.
- Microchip your pet. It only takes a second for a thief to remove your pet’s collar, making them very difficult to identify should they turn up at an animal shelter or hospital. Quick and painless, microchipping your pet is extremely important to ensure that you and your pet are reunited.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think your pet was stolen:
- Immediately file a report with your local police department and animal control.
- Contact your pet’s microchip company, as well as local animal shelters and hospitals to see if your pet has turned up.
- Post fliers around your neighborhood, especially in public spaces and businesses, with your pet’s photo, name, breed, color, weight and any distinguishing characteristics.
- If you offer a reward, ask for a very detailed description of your pet and how they came into that person’s possession. If you suspect that you are being scammed, call the police.
- Monitor newspaper ads and online postings to look for any that might fit your pet’s description.
PREVENT PET THEFT BEFORE IT HAPPENS! Report any suspicious activity, or animal cruelty and neglect to your local police department and animal control office.
5 factors to consider before you give pets as Valentine’s Day gift
It seems like a no-brainer… Giving a pet as a present can be a win-win situation for everyone involved: the animal has a cozy home to call its own, the recipient is in a state of awe, and the giver (you!) has made your loved one’s Valentine’s Day even more romantic.
While this is the gift-giving scenario that every animal lover dreams of, make sure it really is the purrfect present for the person on your list.
If giving your loved one a new pet as a present is on your mind, here are 5 things to consider:
- Manage the surprise. Even at the risk of spoiling the surprise, make sure that the intended recipient wants a new pet. Check in with someone who currently has pets or has recently lost one to make sure they are ready.
- Don’t make them sneeze. That’s not a twinkle in their eye; it’s allergies. Confirm any allergies among all household members. No one wants to go get an allergy shot after opening what’s supposed to be an extra special gift, after all.
- Know where they live. Even if you know your intended recipient really wants a pet, ensure that their building and development allows them. If their home is pet-friendly, be sure to confirm any weight or breed restrictions.
- Find out what they can handle. You want to know that the animal you are getting matches the lifestyle, physical limitation, ages, and personalities in the household.
- Adopt from a shelter. When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life. Adopting from a reputable animal shelter like the ARL’s locations in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham also has many practical benefits. All our adoptable animals, for example, receive spay/neuter services, vaccines, and a health and behavioral screening.
Keep in mind… It never hurts to run the idea by your loved one beforehand or take them along to pick out their new pet. They and their new furry friend will be thanking you for many years to come!
The ARL has many deserving animals looking for a home!
It’s not just snowing cats and dogs here at ARL’s shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham. We have many special small shelter pets like birds and rabbits who are looking for loving homes!
Search all adoptables
ARL programs and administrative offices will be closed on February 9
Due to the winter weather, ARL will be closed to the public on Thursday, February 9:
- Administrative offices
- Adoption centers in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham
- Boston Veterinary Care
- Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery
- Rescue Services
- Spay Waggin’
Dedicated staff and volunteers will remain at each shelter location to make sure that the animals in our care remain safe, warm, and in good spirits as the snow flies.
When a snow storm hits, we often receive an increasing number of calls from concerned citizens with questions about feral cats. We suggest trying to coax a feral cat indoors to a garage or basement for shelter. If that’s not possible, watch our helpful how-to video to build a DIY cat shelter.
For more winter weather pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health.