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Investigating Animal “Blood Sports”

Recognizing National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

The ASPCA designated April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day  to increase understanding and awareness about dog fighting. We encourage animal-lovers to take action against all blood sports, an extremely brutal form of cruelty.

What are “blood sports”? Blood sports are defined as an illegal sport or contest involving the bloodshed of animals for the purpose of gambling or entertainment, and include:

        • Dog fighting is a brutal sport or contest in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit/ring to fight one another for the purposes of entertainment and gambling. The fight ends when one dog can’t continue due to exhaustion, injury, or death. Each year in the US, an estimated 140,000 people and 250,000 dogs are involved in dog fighting despite the fact that it is prosecuted as a felony crime in all 50 states.
        • Street fighting is an impromptu altercation between two dogs instigated by their respective owners or gangs in either a private location or common public gathering area, such as school yards, parks, or abandoned buildings. In some cases, the owner encourages their dog to attack a stray.
        • Cockfighting is a sport in which two gamecocks (roosters), specifically bred for aggressiveness, are placed in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death. Owners often will inject doses of stimulant drugs, hormones, or vitamins to increase endurance and attach knives to the gamecocks’ legs.
        • Finch fighting is a sport between two male and one female perched birds that has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. Owners typically attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure the female finch’s demise.

Our Law Enforcement team works with animal control officers to identify signs of blood sports. Here are 3 common warning signs:

        1. Dogs kept on short heavy chains or tethered to makeshift dog houses
        2. Several crates, tethering devices, and specialized aerobic training equipment such as treadmills kept in basements and sheds
        3. Dogs with lots of scaring around the face, neck, front legs and chest

Whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban neighborhood, animal “blood sports” happens in all types of areas across the country, including Massachusetts.

Blood sports are a major concern for public safety as it’s often linked with gang activity and other serious crimes such as human assault, homicide, drug possession/distribution, and illegal gambling.

Based on the ARL Law Enforcement team’s experience, building an effective legal case against this type of crime is complicated, due to the multitude of individuals, groups, and gangs that can be involved. Fighting animals – especially dogs – are bred in Massachusetts and transported to other states to fight, making it very difficult to track the activity.

Read Turtle’s Story: From Bait Dog to Therapy Dog and Lobbyist

How can communities prevent blood sports from happening?

        1. Animal control officers and humane investigators focus on breaking up an animal fighting enterprise and immediately remove animals from the situation.
        2. You can help raise awareness and encourage intervention; both are critical to preventing this type of crime before it occurs

We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty and learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.


5 Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Should Avoid

Keep your pup joyful and healthy this holiday with these helpful tips

Thanksgiving is a time to savor delicious food, enjoy the company of our family and friends, and to show gratitude for all that we are thankful for in our lives.

While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to remember that our furry companions cannot indulge in the same feasts that we prepare for ourselves. Some of the common Thanksgiving foods that fill our plate can actually be very dangerous for your pet to ingest.

Here are the 5 Thanksgiving foods that your dog should avoid:

  1. Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.
  2. Fat trimmings and fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest. In fact, consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease can include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.
  3. Dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, so the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.
  4. Mushrooms can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.
  5. Raisins and grapes, although the causes of their toxicity are unknown, can cause kidney failure in dogs.

The best way for your pet to partake in the holiday cheer? Stick with traditional treats that are safe for dogs and cats! Food puzzles and interactive toys like a Kong filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your canine entertained and feeling satisfied all holiday long.

Bonus tip: Keep your vet’s emergency number handy. Should your pet become ill, contact your pet’s veterinarian or the local animal hospital’s number! A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. 


April is National Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know… it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to spread Heartworm disease to your pet?

Heartworm disease

Heartworms.
Source: www.heartwormsociety.org

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal illness for cats, dogs, and ferrets, as well as other mammals. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of affected animals. Heartworm may result in lung disease, heart failure, or other organ damage.

Although this sounds scary (it is!), Heartworm disease can be avoided altogether with the necessary preventative measures.

Protect your pet by reading these 6 FAQs about Heartworm:

  1. How can Heartworm disease spread to my pet? Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes carrying the parasite Dirofilaria Immitis. When an infected mosquito bites a cat, dog, ferret, or other mammal, larvae are transmitted into the bloodstream and ultimately settle in the heart, arteries, blood vessels, and lungs after a period of months.
  2. Which pets are most at risk? Outdoor cats and dogs who spend a significant amount of time outside are most at risk, as well as those indoor pets who live in particularly mosquito-dense areas.
  3. What symptoms should I look for? Signs of Heartworm disease can be very subtle or very severe depending on the case. Symptoms may include persistent cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, decreased appetite, vomiting, and weight loss. As the disease progresses, an animal may experience fainting, seizures, difficulty walking, or fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Kittens, puppies, and senior pets face the highest risk of developing the more severe symptoms.
  4. How is Heartworm disease diagnosed? It takes approximately 6 months after being bitten by an infected mosquito for your pet to test positive for Heartworm. A veterinarian can make a diagnosis by doing a physical examination and running blood tests.
  5. Is Heartworm disease treatable? For dogs in the US, there is treatment available. Unfortunately for cats in the US, there is currently no approved treatment. The good news, however, is that many Heartworm-infected cats are able to fight the infection themselves and can be monitored every few months, while waiting out the worms’ lifespan. Medications can also be given to help alleviate some symptoms, such as coughing and vomiting.
  6. How can I prevent my pet from contracting Heartworm disease? There are several FDA-approved medications* on the market available for both cats and dogs. Your pet should begin a heartworm preventative around 8 weeks of age, which should be taken year-round. Dogs should be tested for Heartworm every 12 months and regular check-ups for all pets are key to early detection.

 

*Always consult with your veterinarian before administering any type of medication to your pet.

Pets As Gifts… CAN Be a Good Idea!

5 factors to consider before you give pets as a holiday 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 holiday even more joyful.

While this is the gift-giving scenario that every animal lover dreams of, make sure it really is the purr-fect 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 adoption centers, 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!

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


February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

5 reasons why you should spay/neuter your pet

During National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month this February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds the public that pet overpopulation is a real issue, however, there are steps us humans can take to curb this problem.

“There are too many cat and dogs in our communities that don’t have homes,” explains Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare & Veterinary Services. “Every year, animal shelters like the ARL are inundated with stray and surrendered puppies and kittens that are the result of unplanned litters.”

In fact, national studies have found that amongst pet owners who indicate that their pets had at least one litter, 59% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners described the litter as “unintentional” or “accidental.”

Dr. Schettino believes that one reason that pet owners choose not to spay or neuter their pet is misconceptions about the low-risk surgery. “If we can increase spay and neuter rates, we can help prevent pet overpopulation.”

In addition to the benefits to the community, here are 5 more reasons why you should spay/neuter your pet:

09-24 Boston Spay Neuter Day_Thumb1. Cost Savings. The cost of caring for an unplanned litter of puppies or kittens far outweighs the cost of having a pet spayed or neutered. The good news – there are many affordable and free options in Massachusetts!

2. Reducing Spraying. Neutering resolves the vast majority of marking behaviors—even when a cat has a long-standing habit. Other nuisance behaviors such as howling in cats and excessive barking in dogs eases and even disappears after surgery.

3. Stopping Scuffles. According to the National Canine Research Foundation, approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their urge to roam and fight with other males.

4. Extending Life Span. The USA Today reports neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered males, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed females.

5. Long-Term Health Safeguard. Neutering male cats and dogs before six months of age prevents testicular cancer. Spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat offers protection from uterine infections and breast cancer.

ARL offers a number of spay and neuter services and programs, including the Spay Waggin’ and the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program.


Play it Safe in the Cold

6 winter pet safety tips to protect your pet from the elements

Oh, the weather outside is frightful… It’s winter in New England and the snow, ice, and frigid winds from the Atlantic are upon us. While our human instincts are to cozy-up indoors with a heated blanket and cup of hot cocoa, we know that it’s impossible to hibernate all winter long; even our pets have places to go and people to see!

When you and your pet brave the outdoors, follow these 6 winter pet safety tips:

1. Prepare Rover for the elements. If your dog typically has a longer coat, let it grow out for the winter; it will provide warmth and protection from the cold. If your pup has a short coat, keep him warm with a coat or a sweater. Just like you, your furry friend will enjoy the outdoors much more if he isn’t shivering!

winter pet safety tips

BONUS TIP: Snow can sometimes affects a pet’s sense of smell and their ability to navigate home! Make sure your pet’s microchip and identification tag are up-to-date in the event you and your pet become separated.

2. Keep Fido on a leash. Dogs can easily lose their scent in the snow, so never let your pet off-leash during a snowstorm, or when there’s ice or snow on the ground. If you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember that ice is not always uniformly thick or stable, and your pup could fall through into the icy water!

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Sidewalks are often treated with rock salt, antifreeze, and other dangerous chemicals. Not only can these chemicals sting your pooch’s paws, but they can be poisonous if ingested. Keep pet wipes by your front door to clean off you dog’s paws and stomach before he licks them first!

6. Never leave your pet alone in a cold car. Just as it’s TOO HOT FOR SPOT in the summer, the temperature in your car can become TOO LOW FOR FIDO and dangerously cold in the winter. The toasty temperatures inside your vehicle don’t stick around for long once the engine is turned off. Always bring your pet indoors with you or leave them safe and warm at home!

For more pet owner resources, click here.


7 Holiday Pet Safety Tips

DON’T FORGET… to help your pet have a furry and bright holiday too!

7 holiday pet safety tips to guarantee a celebratory season for everyone in your family:

holiday pet safety

Ditch the tinsel. Our feline friends often think this eye-catching decoration is a toy. Ingestion of this seemingly harmless material can lead to a obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.

1. Decorate with care. Ribbons and tinsel are especially attractive and hazardous to cats, as they can end up their intestinal tract, causing string foreign body blockage. Holiday plants like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias can cause vomiting, upset stomach, and blisters in your pet’s mouth. Avoid placing lit candles anywhere your pet can reach or on a surface that can be toppled over.

2. Secure your Christmas tree. Your frisky feline won’t be the first to topple over a 6-foot fir! Support your tree with a sturdy stand and wires to prevent tipping, should they decide to make a leap for it. For your canine companions, consider surrounding the base with a baby gate and hanging fragile ornaments higher on your tree.

3. Watch out for wires. Chewing on electrical cords can cause severe oral burns and even fatal shocks for cats and dogs. Secure cords with plastic casing you can find at a hardware store, or cover with a bitter-tasting, non-toxic product from your local pet supply shop.

4. Toss out table scraps. Although it’s tempting, avoid giving  your dog any meat bones that can become lodged in their throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. Also steer clear of sugary or alcoholic beverages, fat trimmings, raw dough and cake batter, onions, mushrooms, and grapes, which can cause severe abdominal issues, organ failure, toxicity, and even death. Allow your furry friend  to indulge with extra tasty pet treats instead!

5. Travel safely. If your entire family is making the trip to grandma’s house, securing your pet in a crate or seat belt harness may save their life should you get into an accident. If your pet isn’t used to being on the road, place treats and toys in and around your parked car a few days before your travels to let them sniff around. Then take a spin around the block to get them comfortable in the moving vehicle. You don’t want to begin a two hour trek only to find out that they become easily carsick!

6. Keep your pet stress-free. The holidays can be a stressful time of year for everyone- including your pets!  If your pet is timid around new people or those they rarely see, it may be best to keep them in a separate quiet room with toys and treats to keep them occupied.

7. Check the (micro)chip. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals during the holidays when pets are more likely to escape as visitors go in and out of the front door. Be sure your microchip contact information is current and that your pet’s collar is always on to ensure an easy reunion.

From everyone at ARL,

Happy Holidays!

 

For more pet owner resources, click here.


Double Your Impact: Matching Gift Challenge

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Donate now through June 15 and have your gift matched dollar for dollar!

A special group of generous donors will match your donation to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, today through June 15.

These donors, who share your compassion for animals, were inspired to create a matching gift opportunity to honor the memory of Stitch, a young dog who was rescued too late to save. Your gift will be doubled to provide safety, shelter, and veterinary care so that more animals can get the second chance that Stitch did not.

Your generosity will make stories like Phil’s possible… Phil Post Pic

(Above) Phil, a Maltese-type dog, was found abandoned inside a crate along the side of a busy road in Hingham, MA. Though he was left with a blanket, toys, and food, he was also left shivering in near-freezing temperatures. Fortunately he was found in time and brought to ARL where he received immediate care.

Our shelter veterinarians determined Phil to be about two years old and, despite his harrowing ordeal, in good health. While skittish upon intake, the friendly pup was quick to warm up, showing off his energetic personality to ARL staff and volunteers.

Much to our delight, Phil quickly found a new loving home. We don’t know why Phil was abandoned. We do know that because of you, Phil was saved and received the care he desperately needed.

There are so many animals like Phil who need your help now. Last year over 6,400 rescued, abandoned, and surrendered animals came through our doors and we need you to help the thousands that will come to us this year.

Your gift today has twice the power to change the lives of animals most in need in Massachusetts. This means you can support twice as many emergency rescues, twice as many anti-cruelty investigations, and twice as many adoptions.

Please make the most out of this tremendous opportunity to double your impact for animals!

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THANK YOU for expressing your kindness and compassion for animals through your gift to the Animal Rescue League of Boston!

VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our Matching Gift Challenge Sponsors; Joan Bendery, Rosemarie & Charlie Boucher, David Fike, The Ellen B. Gray Memorial Fund, Molli Krauz, Charley & Kenneth Levine, Robert & Kathy Mahoney, Tara & Christophe Oliver, Cassie Ryan, and Marilyn Wales.


Remembering Arthur G. Slade

ARL President (1977 – 2005)

Arthur Slade

Arthur Slade and his ARL-adopted puppy, Winston.

In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Arthur G. Slade, President Emeritus. During his 41 year tenure at ARL, Arthur was a tireless advocate and unwavering champion for animals in need.  He was extremely passionate about ARL’s mission and cared deeply for every member of our organization and surrounding community.

Arthur served as ARL’s President for 28 years (1977-2005), as ARL’s Vice President for 1 year, and as Director of Operations for 12 years.

For young staff members like Lisa Lagos, ARL’s Dedham Shelter Manager, he was a true role model. “I strive to be more like Arthur every day.”

At ARL’s 100th anniversary celebration, Arthur was awarded the Anna Harris Smith Award. Upon his retirement from ARL in 2005, he was first recipient of the Arthur G. Slade Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with Arthur on numerous occasions and true to his reputation”, says ARL’s President, Mary Nee, “I found him to be a gracious and generous individual, deeply committed to ARL and animal welfare.”

A New England native, Arthur graduated from University of Connecticut in 1956. Following graduation, Arthur served as a first Lieutenant in United States Army, and remained in the Army Reserves until 1965 achieving the rank of Captain.

Prior to joining ARL, Arthur Slade held positions at the Connecticut Humane Society as a law enforcement agent and later as the Director of the Animal Department;  President and Director of the Massachusetts Federation of Humane Societies; Director and Treasurer of the New England Livestock Conservation; Director of the American Humane Association (AHA); National Chairman  of the Animal Advisory Committee of the New England Service Council of the AHA; Director and Assistant Treasurer of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA); Director of Red Acre Farm Foundation; and President and Advisory Director of the Pets and People Foundation of Boston.

Arthur Slade poses with Lt. Alan Borgal at an ARL event.

Arthur Slade poses with Lt. Alan Borgal at an ARL event.

“Mr. Slade was very passionate about animal advocacy and helped push through key legislation in the state with regard to pet shops, rabies vaccinations, dog licensing, and much more,” says Lt. Alan Borgal, ARL’s Investigations Specialist. “He was very well-respected in our field.”

During his long career in the humane field he received many other honors and awards; among them were the Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Agriculture, University of Connecticut in 1986 and the National Lifetime Achievement Award, American Humane Association in 1995.

“Mr. Slade was a man of integrity and always had the best interest of the animals at heart,” says Dr. Rashel Shophet-Ratner, Veterinarian at Boston Veterinary Care.

We know that Arthur’s dedication to animals and people in need can never be put to words, but today we remember him for his genuine kindness. “His compassion shone through in everything that he said and did,” says Beverly Hardcastle, Practice Administrator of Boston Veterinary Care. “Our heart goes out to his family and loved ones.”

Click here to make a gift in Arthur’s memory.


All Month: ARL Featured on WBZ Cares

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 … tune-in all month long!

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 is proud to support the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in their habitats and homes.

wbz newsradio 1030 logoIn 2016, ARL served more than 17,800 animals throughout Massachusetts.

WBZ Cares, a public service initiative that showcases the hard work and dedication of local nonprofits, will feature ARL during the entire month of March.

Learn more about ARL on WBZ NewsRadio 1030:

For additional information, visit arlboston.org or wbz.com/wbzcares.

THANK YOU to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 for selecting ARL as charity-of-the-month for March 2017!