Court Prohibits Owner of Westport Property Farm


In July of this year, ARL’s Law Enforcement team, staff, and volunteers, along with other humane organizations and law enforcement departments, went to the aid of and helped remove more than 1,400 animals living in deplorable conditions on a 70-acre property located at 465 American Legion Road in Westport, MA.

Dog at Westport scene

Last month, many people were dismayed to learn that farm animals were being reintroduced to that same property.

Fortunately, on November 9, 2016, Superior Court Justice Renee Dupuis issued an Order which, for the time being, prohibits Medeiros from returning any animals to the property and orders him to remove any animals owned by him from the property.

To the extent that Medeiros has authority over third parties using the property, animals belonging to the third parties cannot be returned and any animals on the property now must be removed.

The Court further ordered that Medeiros allow the Westport Animal Inspector access to inspect the animals; retain a pest control expert to address the need for rat control; retain a disposal service to address the issues of “solid waste” removal; and prohibits the use of all structures on the property.

The Court will hold a further hearing on December 7, 2016.


TODAY ONLY! We’ll Match Your Donation for Animals

Make a donation before midnight and we’ll match it for #GivingTuesday 

Donate now for 2x the impact

Only because of YOUR support are animals like Izzy able to get through a life-threatening experience!

Earlier this year, a stray black cat arrived at ARL’s Boston shelter with dislocated tarsal (ankle) joints. Izzy, as she came to be known, had a noticeably wobbly walk and a limited gait. 

Because her legs were not stable enough to maintain a normal lifestyle, ARL’s veterinarians determined that Izzy would have to undergo major surgery to help her walk properly.

A $3,000 procedure was performed on both hind legs to correct Izzy’s joints by removing the affected bone and placing bone grafts and metal plates to stabilize the leg. Despite her postoperative discomfort , Izzy was the perfect patient and remained exuberantly friendly to her caretakers

Izzy at ARL Boston

Izzy recovering after her surgery at ARL’s Boston shelter.

While surgery was the first step to getting Izzy back up on her paws, her recovery process afterward was just as critical. Not only did Izzy benefit from ARL’s shelter and veterinary staff, but also from our foster care program – made up entirely of volunteers. ARL’s foster care program enables trained volunteers to bring animals into their home and rehabilitate them away from the stressful shelter environment.

For two months, Izzy’s foster mom, Angela Wehr, carefully monitored the recovering feline’s movements by lifting her, so she wouldn’t jump, and by only using toys that Izzy could swat at while remaining stationary. Big movements during this phase can cause long-term damage, so this special program was vital to her recovery. 

Izzy recently came back to the ARL for her follow-up appointment—the last hurdle before being cleared for adoption– and passed her veterinary exams with flying colors! Her gait is nearly normal and she’ll be able to function perfectly well as an indoor cat, pain-free in her affected joints… and NO long-term medical issues!

Izzy at home

Thanks to supporters like YOU, Izzy is now safe and healthy in her permanent home!

Over 14,000 animals come through ARL every year seeking immediate attention just like Izzy.

Because ARL is an essential resource for animals in need and the people who care about them, ARL’s Board Chair Malcolm McDonald and an anonymous donor have teamed up to offer this exciting #GivingTuesday challenge:

Raise $25,000 and they will match it!*

That means your donation TODAY can go twice as far.

Donate now for 2x the impact

When you express your love for animals, compassion, and kindness with a gift of $100 or more for #GivingTuesday, we’ll feature your and/or your pet’s name on our Wall of Honor online at, available for viewing on December 6; just type your pet’s name into the ‘Additional Comments’ section of our online donation form.


*All money raised will go toward direct animal care; however the match will apply to the first $25,000 to be donated.


Tomorrow: We’ll DOUBLE your donation!

Donate on #GivingTuesday and make 2x the impact for animals like Mayfield 

Donate now for 2x the impact

Your unwavering support helps prevent the cruelty, suffering, and neglect of over 14,000 animals every year. Without you, ARL would be unable to provide the special police investigation necessary to protect animals across the Commonwealth.

All thanks to friends like YOU, animals like Mayfield now have a bright future ahead of them…

Earlier this year, a concerned citizen noticed something odd with the trash put out around Norfolk Street in Dorchester, MA. In the middle of the garbage to be collected was a birdcage filled with maggots and cockroaches– and an Umbrella Cockatoo.

ARL quickly responded to the call to help the discarded bird, later named Mayfield, and brought her in for immediate veterinary care. Weak and emaciated, it was determined that Mayfield had a serious medical condition and would require emergency surgery.


The concerned citizen reported finding Mayfield’s birdcage filled with maggots and cockroaches.

Despite all she’d been through, Mayfield maintained an upbeat attitude while she recovered in foster care post-surgery. Several weeks later, Mayfield was healthy enough for adoption.

Today, we’re happy to share that Mayfield is doing well by all accounts. “We took her to see the veterinarian for a check-up and received uplifting news,” says Mayfield’s owner. “Her incision is healing incredibly well and she’s finally gaining weight.”


Mayfield, pictured above, healing at ARL Boston after her emergency surgery.


Thanks to supporters like you, Mayfield was able to fully recover and enjoy a safe and healthy life with her adopters.

Sadly, Mayfield is not the first animal we’ve seen abandoned in the trash or on the streets. Your donations today allow us to continue our important work so that we can prevent cases of animal neglect from happening in the future.

Because ARL is an essential resource for animals in need and the people who care about them, ARL’s Board Chair Malcolm McDonald and an anonymous donor have teamed up to offer this exciting challenge:

Raise $25,000 and they will match it!*

That means your donation for #GivingTuesday 2016 can go twice as far.

Donate now for 2x the impact

When you express your love for animals, compassion, and kindness with a gift of $100 or more for #GivingTuesday, we’ll feature your and/or your pet’s name on our Wall of Honor online at, available for viewing on December 6; just type your pet’s name into the ‘Additional Comments’ section of our online donation form.


*All money raised will go toward direct animal care; however the match will apply to the first $25,000 to be donated.


Hot off the Press: Our Four-Footed Friends

Check out the many ways YOUR support helped animals in need in 2016


Click the image above to read the Fall/Winter 2016 edition of Our Four-Footed Friends.

The Fall/Winter 2016 edition of Our Four-Footed Friends (OFFF) is here!

For more than 100 years, ARL has responded to the needs of animals and the people who care about them. In fact, we are often the first to respond, as seen in the recent Westport farm animal cruelty case, featured on Page 10.

All thanks to YOUR critical support, this year we served thousands of animals through our outstanding veterinary care, adoption, rescue services, special police investigation, and advocacy.

Read the incredible stories about what you helped make possible…

Today, we increasingly focus on prevention and the impact we can have on more animals; keeping them out of shelters and in the communities where they belong.

YOU make our important work possible – THANK YOU!

Stay in touch between editions: visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Bay State Goes Cage Free

THANK YOU to everyone who voted YES ON 3!

It’s official: Massachusetts voters said YES to stopping farm animal cruelty in last night’s historic election. An incredible 77.7% of Bay State residents voted yes on ballot Question 3, The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals.

This groundbreaking ballot question is a great first step towards animal welfare protection in the Commonwealth. By 2022, highly-restrictive cages must be phased out giving farm animals enough space to turn around and extend their limbs. The ballot question will also protect Massachusetts families from substandard and unsafe food products.

citizens for farm animal protectionClick here to read more via The Boston Globe.

Animal welfare supporters from all over Massachusetts made last night’s vote a resounding victory. The ARL offers our sincerest thanks to the MSPCA, Franklin Park Zoo, The Humane League – Boston, Mercy For Animals, Farm Forward, Compassion in World Farming (USA), Animal Equality, Farm Sanctuary, the Mass Sierra Club, HSUS, ASPCA, and the hundreds of  other animal welfare groups, farmers, veterinarians, local businesses, and individuals who helped support this momentous effort to end the extreme confinement of farm animals!

Since the Summer of 2015, ARL’s volunteers and staff spent countless hours helping to collect over 170,000 signatures to get The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals on the 2017 ballot, as well as educating Massachusetts consumers about the importance of voting YES ON 3.

“When there’s an effort to improve the protection and treatment of animals – whether they are companion, working, or farm animals – the ARL is here to help,” says ARL’s President Mary Nee.

Massachusetts isn’t alone… Ten states have already passed similar laws and nearly 200 major food retailers, such as McDonalds’s, Walmart, and Dollar Tree, and restaurant chains have policies phasing them out as well.


3 Reasons to Vote YES on 3

Prevent farm animal cruelty with just one vote: YES on Question 3!

With Election Day only a few short days away, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind you why this is such an important election year. Sure, you’re voting for the next President of the United States — but you’re also voting YES to stop unnecessary farm animal cruelty and YES to protecting Massachusetts families from unsafe food products.

Endorsed by the ARL and all of Massachustts’ major animal welfare groups, The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, ballot Question 3, is a modest animal protection and food safety measure that will prevent breeding pigs, chickens, and calves from being confined in cages so small they can’t even turn around or extend their limbs.

Here are 3 reasons to vote YES on 3:

  1. Promotes responsible farming. Question 3 phases out the use of highly-restrictive cages by 2022, giving producers and retailers ample time to comply with the modest requirement that farm animals have enough space to turn yes on 3 blog thumbaround and extend their limbs.
  2. Protects food safety. Industrial animal operations put consumers’ health at risk. Unable to move and constantly stressed, confined animals suffer from weakened immune systems that lead to illness. The Center for Food Safety endorses Question 3 because numerous studies show that egg operations that confine hens in cages have higher rates of Salmonella, the leading cause of food poisoning-related death in humans in America.
  3. Makes economic sense. Most Massachusetts farmers are already cage-free and have shown that affordable food can be produced with animal welfare in mind. According to a study conducted by the egg industry itself, it costs just a penny per egg to produce cage-free eggs rather than battery cage eggs. The pork industry published a study that determined it can cost 11 percent less not to use gestation crates. In addition to the ten states that have passed laws prohibiting certain types of extreme confinement, nearly 200 major food retailers, such as McDonalds’s, Walmart, and Dollar Tree, and restaurant chains have policies phasing them out.

When you hit the polls on Tuesday, November 8, don’t forget to vote YES on Question 3 to prevent farm animal cruelty!


Vote YES on Question 3

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8 – Don’t forget to vote YES on ballot Question 3 to prevent farm animal cruelty!

The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, on the ballot as Question 3, is a modest animal protection and food safety measure that will prevent breeding pigs, chickens, and calves from being confined in cages so small they can’t even turn around or extend their limbs. A YES vote on Question 3 will also protect Massachusetts families from substandard and unsafe food products.

Question 3 is endorsed by all of Massachusetts’ major animal welfare groups, including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), MSPCA, Berkshire Humane Society, Dakin Humane Society, and Zoo New England, as well as national charities like the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States and more than 500 Massachusetts veterinarians.

citizens for farm animal protection

The amount of  “personal space” each hen has is smaller than an iPad.

Why Vote YES on Question 3?

  • The vast majority of pork sold in the Commonwealth comes from industrial factory farms where pigs used for breeding are confined in narrow crates so small they can’t even turn around. This limitation in movement results in a lifetime of crippling pain and emotional distress. Calves raised for veal are often confined in similar conditions.
  • Most of the eggs sold in Massachusetts come from industrial egg producers that cram hens into cages so small the birds can’t even spread their wings. Packed five or more to a cage, each hen spends her whole life in a space smaller than an iPad. Chickens often suffer from bone fractures, feather-loss, and can die from starvation or dehydration.

Your vote counts, so please vote YES on Question 3 this Election Day!


ARL Focuses on Low Stress Handling for Felines

3 techniques used by Shelter Veterinary Services to keep cats happy and healthy during exams

At the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) our Shelter Veterinary Services provide high quality, compassionate care to a variety of species. Cats, however, continue to comprise the greater part of our shelter population.

In an effort to expand our Shelter Veterinary Services’ ability to provide care that not only addresses the medical health of our cats, but also their behavioral well-being, Jessica Wright, ARL’s Lead Veterinary Technician, recently became certified in “Low Stress Handling Techniques” via Dr. Sophia Yin’s online course. The certification process required a commitment of at least 20 hours, during which online lectures and labs were viewed and follow up discussion questions and exams were completed.

As an organization, the ARL strives to reduce the stress that our shelter cats inevitably experience while in our care. These efforts can be seen in the double sided cages that the cats reside in, and the hiding boxes that each cat is offered. Upon completion of the Low Stress Handling course, Jessica was excited to incorporate the new techniques she had learned into the Shelter Veterinary Services’ daily rounds.

The 3 Low Stress Handling techniques that the ARL uses for felines are:

  1. Picture1Adjusting the methods by which a cat is moved between the cage and the exam room. To avoid exposing the cat to any number of stressors that may be encountered while moving between spaces, cats are now wrapped in a towel for transport. Some cats prefer to have their head exposed allowing them to look about whereas others prefer to have their head covered. This use of the towel allows the removal of potentially stressful visual stimulation and provides the cat with the feeling of being adequately supported.
  2. Incorporating the use of towels for comfort. Rather than sitting on a cold metal exam table, the cats now sit on the towel they were brought to the exam room with. This provides a sense of comfort for each patient. In addition, depending upon the behavior Picture2of each cat, a second towel may be placed over the cat. This again removes any potentially stressful visual stimulation and allows for more ease of handling of the cat during examination.
  3. Introducing food during examination. As surprising as it may be, many cats will often eat a snack during an exam or vaccination. Providing food to the patient can act as a distraction from any potentially negative or stressful event that may occur. In addition, if the cat chooses to eat during these procedures, a positive emotional response is encouraged rather than the typical fearful or stressed response often associated with veterinary care.

As a result of the introduction of Low Stress Handling Techniques, our shelter cats are that much more happy and healthy!

YOU can help keep shelter cats low-stress too: Please consider making a donation of regular sized bath towels to enable the ARL to continue our Low Stress Handling efforts! Donations can be dropped off at our Boston Adoption Center lobby located at 10 Chandler Street in Boston, Tuesday through Sunday, 7:30AM – 6:30PM.


The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss

Russell Friedman shares advice for grieving pet owners and their loved ones

The relationship between an owner and their pet is a special one… and the loss of a pet can be a heartbreaking one. National Pet Memorial Day, the second Sunday in September, is a day designated to commemorate the power of the human-animal bond. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that over 63 million people annually are grieving the loss of a pet, whether it be a dog, cat, bird, horse, rabbit, or other animal.

In a time when pets are considered by many to be an equal member of the family, why is it that we don’t always quite know what to say when a family, friend, or acquaintance’s pet passes away? In fact, research shows that over 85% of the comments that a grieving pet owner hears within the first few days of their pet’s death is not helpful for them, no matter how well-intentioned they are.

ARL blog sat down with Russell Friedman, director of the Grief Recovery Institute and co-author of the Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, to find out how to cope with the loss of your pet, and what you should and should not say to a grieving pet owner:

ARL Blog: Many people experience a very emotional or difficult time when their pet passes away. Some even report that they cry harder and longer over a pet’s death than a family member’s. Is that normal?

Russell Friedman: Just as we never forget the people who we love and who were important to us, the same goes for our pets. Grieving for animal in the same way that you would grieve a human being is completely normal, natural, and healthy.

Everyone has their own unique relationship with their pet. Even members within the same household grieving the loss of the same pet will react differently. Don’t forget that animals have very tangible emotions, so your other pets may grieve the loss of their companion too!

Unlike children who grow into adults, become more independent, and move out of the home, our pets do not. Although pets do age, they remain in our home and will always depend on us for food, shelter, and protection. The “parental” aspect to being a pet owner can make the emotional bond so powerful. For some couples who can’t have children, their pet is their “child” and they view them in that same way.

Our pets also give us a safe space to be ourselves and express our emotions without judgement. They are our loyal confidants. More often than not, what the person is feeling is a loss of the entity that used to always be there for them.

ARL Blog: Can you share some advice for people who are dealing with the loss of a pet?

RF: During a pet’s final care, we imagine unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations for the future. There are always things that we wish would have happened differently. Allow yourself as much time as you need to grieve and surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Think of fond memories you had with your pet, and visit the gravesite or plant a memorial.

One of the biggest myths is the concept of replacing the loss. You need to allow yourself to grieve your old pet before you get a new one. This is only fair to the new pet, so that they have their own persona. As far as the timeframe between the death of your new pet and brining home a new one, there is no right or wrong answer; it’s whenever you feel ready.

If you are a friend or family member of a grieving pet owner, remember to never buy someone a new pet without their permission. Although your intention of helping that person to “move on” is well-meaning, the griever may simply not be ready to attach themselves to a new pet.

ARL Blog: In the Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss you discuss some phrases NOT to say to a grieving pet owner. Can you explain what a few of them are?

The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss

Russell Friedman, co-author of The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, shares important advice for grieving pet owners and their loved ones!

RF: A few phrases that will actually have the opposite effect of what you intended are:

“I know how you feel.” This statement is always made in an attempt to commiserate, sympathize, or empathize with the person who is grieving. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to know exactly how the person feels, even if you have had a related experience. Every relationship is unique and everyone reacts to the loss of a pet, family member, or friend differently.

“They’re in a better place.” and/or “They’re not in pain anymore.” Perhaps their pet is in a better place and not in pain anymore, however the person who is grieving is not in a good place and feeling a painful loss.

“Don’t feel bad…” The person who just lost their pet does feel bad and is upset, even if their pet wasn’t suffering or lived its full life expectancy.

ARL Blog: Do you have any advice for what you SHOULD say to someone who has a lost a pet?

RF: Yes! First and foremost, make sure to acknowledge that you hear the person and the words that they are saying. Listen with your heart, not your head, and don’t give advice unless asked.

One of the best things you can possibly say is, “I can’t imagine what this has been like for you.” If you say it in the tone of question, it gives the grieving person permission to elaborate and express their feelings, should they want to. It shows the griever that you’re non-judgmental and that they’re in a safe space.

Alternatively, the truest and most failsafe statement when you encounter a grieving pet owner is probably, “Gosh, I heard what happened. I don’t know what to say.”

ARL Blog: Many parents are nervous to tell their children that their family pet is sick or has passed away in an effort to shield them from grief and sadness. Any suggestions of what you SHOULD say to children?

RF: Yes, be honest with them. When speaking to children about the loss of a pet, you can modify your language in terms that they can understand depending on their age; however the thoughts and ideas should remain the same. If you make the decision to put your pet to sleep, explain to your children gently what’s about to happen and give them the choice of whether or not they want to be there.

Encourage your children to show their emotions and teach them that grief is a normal natural reaction to loss. Have them tell you stories about their pet and how much they love them. Ask them to apologize to their pet and/or forgive their pet for any “wrongdoings”, such as chewing on their favorite doll. Remind them that although their pet won’t be there physically, that they will always have a place in their hearts and memories.


Shelter Veterinary Services: Not Just For Cats & Dogs

Espresso, a 1-year-old rat, recovering from surgery to remove a large tumor

Everyone knows that the Animal Rescue League of Boston helps cats and dogs, but did you know that we help all other types of small animals, livestock, and wildlife too?

Espresso, a 1-year-old female rat, was picked up by ARL’s Rescue Services after being abandoned at a local veterinary clinic with her sister, Mocha. The adorable pair were brought to our Boston shelter where they received a veterinary exam, behavioral evaluation, and kind attention from staff and volunteers.

Unfortunately, during Espresso’s initial examination at the shelter, a large tumor was found over her left shoulder. Our Shelter Veterinary Services team immediately brought her to surgery, which cost approximately $250, to remove the tumor.

Espresso rat surgery before & after

Espresso, a 1-year-old rat, is recovering comfortably from tumor-removal surgery at the ARL. She and her sister Mocha are available for adoption and looking for a loving family!

DONATE NOW to ensure that animals like Espresso receive the critical preventative or emergency veterinary care that they need.

Espresso was a trooper throughout her surgery and recovered very well. In fact, she was walking around her enclosure and eating within an hour after waking up.

Through all of this process, Espresso never lost her love of people and remained as sweet as ever!

After surgery, the removed mass was sent to a lab for analysis and was determined to be a benign mammary tumor.

Mammary tumors are very common in middle-aged to older rats. Because rats have mammary tissue that extends well beyond the area of their mammary glands, mammary tumors can occur in locations you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

Thankfully, the tumors are nearly always benign, as was the case for Espresso.  This means it’s very unlikely that they will metastasize or recur in the same location.

It’s important to know, however, that rats who develop one mammary tumor will often go on to have additional mammary tumors develop at new locations in the future.

We recommend that Espresso’s adopters have a discussion with their family vet about whether to consider additional treatment, such as hormone injections, to help prevent future tumors from forming.

MEET ESPRESSO AT OUR BOSTON ADOPTION CENTER! Espresso and her sister Mocha are both available for adoption and would make lovely little additions to your home. Visit us at 10 Chandler Street in Boston, email, or call (617) 226-5602 for more information about this pair.

UPDATE 9/5/16: Espresso and her sister Mocha have been adopted!