Outdoor Dogs & Cats

The Animal Rescue League of Boston believes dogs and cats belong integrated into the family for animal welfare and human safety. For these reasons, we preferentially place dogs and cats in homes where they will be treated as family pets.

Family pets are animals whose owners keep them in the home for the majority of the day and also integrate them into the family lifestyle. These animals learn appropriate behavior through interaction with humans on a regular basis in positive and humane ways. Family pets have a better quality of life and are safer for the community.

 

Dogs

Dogs that are maintained without significant positive human interaction, usually in a kennel, basement, yard, or tethered on a chain, are referred to as ‘resident dogs”. These dogs are often used for guarding, fighting, protection or breeding. Resident dogs are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors if someone steps into their territory or if they get out of their yards. The vast majority of dog maulings and fatal dog bites are inflicted by resident dogs. [1]

Dogs left unattended outdoors are also vulnerable to other welfare challenges such as disease, abuse, fights with other animals and inclement weather. Unattended dogs allowed to reside outdoors run an increased risk of becoming lost, or killed from a traffic accident and if not spayed or neutered can contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

Working dogs (such as hunting dogs, farm dogs, and police K9s) can be afforded good welfare without a standard family integration, but this is a professional accommodation that requires specific plans and intention for providing dogs with appropriate management, enrichment, exercise and companionship.

 

Cats-Unowned Cats

The Animal Rescue League of Boston identifies community cats as feral, unsocialized, under-socialized, unowned and/or abandoned cats living outside in groups or colonies. Please see the position statement for Feral and Community Cats.

 

Cats-Owned

The Animal Rescue League of Boston recognizes that an indoor/outdoor lifestyle can add quality of life and help manage behavior concerns for certain cats. In order to minimize vulnerability to welfare challenges such as disease, abuse, fights with other animals and inclement weather, the owner should have a plan in place to provide identification, veterinary care, access to a home environment and appropriate socialization within the family. Cats allowed to live an indoor/outdoor lifestyle without access to appropriate care run an increased risk of becoming lost, or killed from a traffic accident and if not spayed or neutered can contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

There are cats who are not suited for the Community Cat lifestyle, yet are also not suited for a family lifestyle. For these cats, the Animal Rescue league of Boston supports programs that provide alternative placement into barns, warehouses, breweries, and others where cats do not have to interact with humans and still have access to appropriate care.

 

Therefore, the ARL will:

  • Inform adopters, clients, and community members of appropriate care for indoor/outdoor pets
  • Preferentially place cats and dogs in homes to be family pets
  • In cases where cats and dogs have not received optimal socialization and are not candidates for a home, we will work to provide alternative placements
  • Continue to support legislation that regulates care of outdoor animals

 

1.         Patronek G.J., Sacks J.J., Delise K.M., Cleary D.V. & Marder A.R. {2013}. Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States {2000-2009}, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 243 (12) 1726-1736. DOI: 10.2460/javma.243.12.1726