Conviction Upheld for Inhuamane Confinement & Chaining of Dogs

ARL provided essential testimony in support of “overwhelming evidence” that dogs were kept in filthy and dirty conditions

A Cape Cod woman’s convictions for violating Massachusetts State law by confining her two dogs in a condemned home and a fenced-in yard, has been upheld by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

Leanne Trefry, of Brewster, MA, challenged her convictions and claimed that she did not violate the law because her dogs were not confined outside. The Court disagreed, finding that keeping dogs in filthy and dirty confinement both inside and outside was, in fact, a violation of law.

Trefry's Shetland sheepdogs, Kenji and Zach, peer through a fence on her property in Brewster on July 2013, just a few days before they were removed. Photo credit: Cape Cod Times

Trefry’s Shetland sheepdogs, Kenji and Zach, peer through a fence on her property in Brewster on July 2013, just a few days before they were removed. Photo credit: Cape Cod Times

Read the story, as reported by Cape Cod Times.

The Court found also that the dogs were effectively left alone on the property which was clogged with trash, inside and outside; emitted odors of trash (inside); dog feces (outside); and that there were many items which posed a threat to the dogs’ health and safety.

ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement, Lt. Alan Borgal, was one of the witnesses to the deplorable conditions in which the dogs were kept. He became aware of the situation when Brewster Animal Control Officer (ACO) Lynda Brogdan-Burns told him about the dogs and requested investigative assistance from the ARL.

Lt. Borgal went to see Trefry with the Brewster ACO and she agreed to allow the dogs to be taken to the ARL’s Brewster shelter for veterinary care and grooming because of the tick infestation.

At the time of the rescue, the dogs had effectively been left alone virtually all day every day for over a year with only intermittent contact with friends, a caretaker, and Trefry who provided food and water. One dog had Lyme disease and was limping badly from an injury. Both dogs were both tick-infested and described as “matted”, “ravaged” and “traumatized.”

During the trial, Lt. Borgal told the court that he had visited the home and found that the yard was overgrown, dog feces had not been picked up and removed and that, consequently, the yard itself smelled.

Both dogs were transferred to ARL’s Brewster shelter and were later boarded and fostered by Brewster Animal Control. After the conclusion of the case, the dogs were adopted.

Why is this case important? This is one of the first cases interpreting the Massachusetts law which prohibits cruel and dangerous conditions and inhumane tethering or chaining.


Update: Couple Charged in Westport Dog Case

Westport, MA pair arrested in connection with Jersey, the matted dog’s case

Earlier this week, the Westport Police Department and local authorities arrested two people on animal cruelty charges relating to the rescue of “Jersey”, the approximately 8-year-old Llasa Apso who was found roaming around Sanford Road and Milk Avenue in Westport, MA. Her severely matted fur was was caked in dirt, urine, feces. Watch Jersey’s story, as reported by Fox 25.

Jersey was taken in to the ARL’s Boston shelter where she underwent intense medical treatment, including enucleation surgery, rendering her permanently blind. She also underwent a procedure to have bladder stones removed. Jersey will also receive treatment for significant dental decay.

Despite all she’s been through, Jersey has kept her sweet disposition toward ARL volunteers and staff. Although she can no longer see, Jersey still loves to explore! Her favorite activity is sniffing around patches of grass, followed by a long nap in her favorite plush blanket.

UPDATE: During the course of Jersey’s investigation, a tip was called in to Westport Police that lead them to a residence in Westport, MA. When investigators arrived at the home, they discovered three Dachshunds in concerning circumstances and transferred them to the ARL’s Boston shelter. The dogs’ owners were both charged with Animal Cruelty by a Custodian. Anyone wishing to help with the care and medical treatments of these innocent animals is encouraged to donate at


Jersey is recovering well after undergoing surgery last week at our Boston headquarters. If you would like to make a donation to Jersey and other animals in need, click the photo above or visit


Three Dachshunds were also discovered at the Westport, MA residence. Left: Charlie; top-right: Penny; bottom-right: Gracie. Penny is available for adoption at our Boston Adoption Center. Gracie and Charlie have already found their forever homes. Please click the photo above or visit to learn more. Update: All three Dachshunds have been adopted!


SUSPECT ANIMAL CRUELTY? Call your local animal control officer or police department immediately. Learn the signs of animal cruelty at


The Patriot’s Logan Ryan Helps ARL Dog Find a Home

Coretta has been looking for her forever home since February

On a sunny afternoon in May, long-time resident of ARL’s Boston shelter, Coretta, met her biggest celebrity yet: New England’s Patriot’s Cornerback Logan Ryan! For Coretta, it was love at first sniff.


Coretta had a blast hanging out with New England Patriot’s cornerback Logan Ryan! Coretta is available for adoption at ARL’s Boston shelter.

Click here to learn more about Coretta

Logan Ryan selected the beautiful 3-year-old Pit-Bull Terrier mix as his May feature for Ryan’s Monthly Rescue, a social media campaign to give additional exposure to Pit Bull-type dogs looking for their forever homes.

Coretta was the perfect candidate! Check her out on Logan Ryan’s Instagram account.

Logan Ryan and Coretta spent the afternoon frolicking through the grass and tossing around a Patriot’s-themed football. All were impressed by her energy and athleticism!

“Coretta loves to run and play fetch, but she seemed to enjoy just hanging by my side for this photoshoot, too,” said Logan. “She’s worked on obedience training with the great volunteers and staff at the ARL and also enjoys nosework and agility.

ADOPT, DON’T SHOP – If you or a friend are looking for an incredible lady-like companion, please call our Boston shelter at 617-226-5602 and ask about Coretta!


Keep Your Pup Cool This Memorial Day Weekend

TOO HOT FOR SPOT – 4 important tips to keep your dog safe this holiday

This Memorial Day Weekend, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to remind you that the warm weather and bustle of the holiday’s festivities may be too stressful on your pup.

Pets don’t sweat like humans do and cannot cool their bodies efficiently in hot temperatures. Even when the outside temperature is 70 degrees, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 100 degrees in just minutes – even with the windows cracked! That’s why leaving your pet inside of a hot car is the most common cause of deadly heat stroke.

Watch this video to learn why it’s TOO HOT FOR SPOT.

With temperatures rising close to 90 degrees this weekend, remember these 4 important tips to keep your dog safe:

  1. heat stroke

    Never leave your pet alone in a parked car on a warm day- even with the windows cracked. It’s just TOO HOT FOR SPOT!

    Never leave your pup alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. On a hot day, the temperature inside a parked car can cause deadly heatstroke- even with the windows cracked.

  2. Always keep your canine on a leash or in a carrier if they must be outside. Set them up in a cool shady spot with ample air flow and plenty of fresh water.
  3. Keep your pooch away from potentially hazardous objects. Secure your pet a good distance from sparklers, BBQs, and pools. Remember that some pets can become “fearfully aggressive” due to loud noises, so monitor them closely, especially around small children.
  4. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals on holidays due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Be sure your contact information is current and always on your pup’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they be separated from you.

Prevention is responsible pet ownership. When in doubt, leave your pet at home in a quiet cool room. Turn on a TV or radio to help detract from outside noises and leave them free to roam around so that they don’t feel too confined.

Learn more about why it’s TOO HOT FOR SPOT at


Bison: New Federal Act is Food for Thought

The ARL reflects on our first national mammal, an animal that faced extinction just over a century ago

Did you know… that the bison are already on 2 State flags, are the official mammal of three States, and are the official symbol of the United States Department of the Interior? They are also mascots of sports teams and part of our coinage (yes, the “buffalo nickel” is really an image of a bison).

On May 9, 2016, President Obama signed into the law the National Bison Legacy Act, a bill that makes the bison the United States’ first national mammal; a big milestone for an animal that has played a central role in America’s history and culture!

Read more about the National Bison Legacy Act.

The four-year long debate that ended with this moment presents us with an opportunity to talk about animals, history, culture, science, and our world. It gives us the opportunity to reflect upon and to remember all that has gone before. And that opportunity always presents another: it gives us a way to continue the dialogue and to advocate on behalf of all animals for so many different reasons.

bisontimelineHere are 6 more interesting facts about bison:

  1. Bison are not “buffalo”; that’s just a word that the citizens of the “Old West” used.
  2. The role of the bison was integrally linked with the economic and spiritual lives of many Indian tribes and their sacred ceremonies. Many animals, like the bison, have played and continue to play different roles in our society.
  3. Bison play an important role in ecology, such as improving the types of grasses found in the landscape of the United States.
  4. In the southern part of Utah there is a herd of rare, genetically pure bison, just as they were before they were almost hunted to extinction.
  5. Bison not only have intrinsic value, but economic value as well.
  6. It’s been over a century since William Hornaday, the first director of what is now the Bronx Zoo, along with Theodore Roosevelt, formed the American Bison Society. Hornaday raised captive-bred bison and eventually sent them to the first wildlife refuge in the United States. Such effort reminds us that we almost lost all of what the bison represents – then and now.

If the National Bison Act gets you to think about wildlife, ecology, and history– and if there’s dialogue celebrating and wondering about the life of the shaggy mammal– then the conversation and advocacy continues!


Check us out… On Newbury Street!

Animal adoption message featured in ARL’s “Designing for Good” exhibit

The owner of The Newbury Collection, Jamestown, L.P., has transformed several prominent window spaces on Newbury Street in Boston into a six-week exhibit called “Designing for Good”.

Check out the ARL on Newbury Street

Check out ARL’s “Designing for Good” window exhibit at 91 Newbury Street from now through the end of June, and click the photo to learn more about Paisley, our adorable adoptable pictured!

Four local non-profits, including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), were paired up with a recognized designer from the Boston area to create art that highlights the charitable work of each organization.

Check out ARL’s window at 91 Newbury Street. The artwork is also on display at 144 Newbury Street and 899 Boylston Street.

The ARL was partnered with illustrator Chris Piascik to create a colorful and whimsical window vinyl that would encourage fellow animal lovers to SPRING INTO LOVE… ADOPT and to get involved!

“We are honored to be featured as a non-profit partner for this wonderful, creative design project along Newbury Street,” says Mary Nee, President of the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “Our city is full of great people who support one another and this is just another example of that kindness and generosity and we are proud to be a part of the work.”

THANK YOU to Jamestown L.P. and Chris for sharing the importance of adopting a shelter pet– and bringing attention to animals in need at the ARL!





More Signatures Needed to Protect Farm Animals

Help Citizen’s for Farm Animal Protection collect 25,000 more signatures!

citizens for farm animal protection

Sign up for TODAY’S webinar to help the ARL and other animal lovers collect an additional 25,000 signatures to prevent cruelty to farm animals!

This past fall, key animal welfare organizations like the ARL, farmers, and other animal lovers across Massachusetts helped collect 133,058 signatures to ban the cruel confinement of veal calves, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs.

On May 3, the clock ran out for the Massachusetts legislature to take action on this farm animal initiative, placing the measure back in the hands of voters.


Click here to register for the webinar happening TODAY, May 17 at 6:00-7:00 PM EST to learn how you can help make history for farm animals in our state.

Volunteers are needed to collect an additional 25,000 signatures from registered voters in Massachusetts who did not sign in the fall.


Hot off the Press: Our Four-Footed Friends

Check out the Spring/Summer 2016 edition here!

ARL’s latest edition of Our Four-Footed Friends, includes news and photos of all the critical work for animals you helped support.

Our Four-Footed Friends Spring/Summer 2016 edition

Click on the image above to read the full Spring/Summer 2016 edition of Our Four-Footed Friends!

Click here or the image at right to view the full Spring/Summer 2016 OFFF magazine.

What’s inside…

  • How your support positively impacted ARL shelter pets in 2016!
  • The steps ARL is taking to advocate for animals- and what you can do to help!
  • A recap of National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month!
  • “Happy tail” & winter rescue success stories!
  • And much more!




Whiskers & Wine: ARL Toasts its Biggest Supporters

THANK YOU to our 400+ President’s Council donors for making our important work possible!

On the evening of May 12, 2016, over 125 of ARL’s biggest supporters came together at the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston for the second annual Whiskers & Wine President’s Council Spring Social. See photos from last night’s event.

ARL’s corporate sponsors, Board of Directors, Leadership Council, President’s Council (those who donate $1K or more annually), volunteers, and staff toasted its most committed supporters for making our important work possible.

Click here or on the “play” button below to watch a video about the over 13,400 animals in need they helped in 2015!

Royalty Free Music from Bensound

Throughout the evening, guests mingled with fellow animal lovers over sparkling wine and delicious hors d’oeuvres. During the speaking program, key members from the ARL discussed the impact that our donors’ generosity has had on the thousands of animals who receive care through ARL’s programs and services each year.

Malcolm McDonald, ARL’s Board Chair, kicked off the evening with a big THANK YOU to everyone who made last night’s event– and our very important work possible. He also spoke about being the proud pet parent of two special ARL alum, his dog Hazel and his cat Max, without whom he couldn’t imagine his life without!

Dr. Kyle Quigley,  ARL’s Lead Veterinarian of Community Veterinary Services, Brian O’Connor, ARL’s Manager of Rescue Services, and Debby Vogel, ARL’s Manager of Volunteer and Educational Programs, shared very personal and heartfelt stories about how their individual programs positively impacted an animal in need.

From a woman desperate to get her cat spayed in the middle of a snowstorm, to a dog named Faith that was rescued after 7 weeks of being on the run, to a dog named CJ who helped get a young man get through a very difficult time, there were many laughs and even some tears shared amongst the crowd.

President Mary Nee also gave a glimpse into ARL’s exciting vision for the future. “Tonight, I am pleased to share with you our newly adopted statement of mission, the foundation that will guide our programs and plans in the years to come: We are an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes… It’s because of people like YOU who support this work, that most animals will able to live safely and healthy in their habitats and homes.”

Walter Kenyon, ARL’s Leadership Council Chair, closed the evening by sharing his excitement for following up with President’s Council members in the weeks ahead about the details of this bold new vision.

VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO… Our generous donors for expressing your love of animals, compassion, and kindness through your support of the Animal Rescue League of Boston!

…and to our corporate supporters of Whiskers & Wine 2016…

Blue Hills Bank
Katherine Burdon
David McGrath

Mintz Levin
Malcolm McDonald & Susan Passoni
Nancy Z. Bender

Grossman Marketing Group
Risk Strategies Company
Carol Akerson & Rich Kelly
Doug Zeghibe
Jane & Andy Urban
Lee Ann, Mike, and Mia Leahy

Bowditch & Dewey
East Boston Savings Bank
Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
Kirkiles & Associates Commercial Insurance Brokerage, LLC
Sullivan & Worcester
Kenn Freed
Mark J. Lanza, Esq.
The Fairmont Copley Plaza


USSC Increases Animal Fighting Penalties

ARL sent a proposal to the USSC urging higher guidelines for individuals found guilty of federal animal fighting crimes

Earlier this month, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reported that the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) was considering increasing penalties for animal fighting.

The ARL believes that these higher guidelines will help deter any potential offenders, and help to protect animals like Turtle from becoming “bait dogs”.

The ARL believes that these higher guidelines will help deter any potential offenders, and help to protect animals like Turtle from becoming “bait dogs”.

Click here to learn more.

The ARL, along with countless other animal welfare organizations, sent letters urging the USSC to consider higher sentencing ranges for individuals found guilty of federal animal fighting crimes.

Our voice was heard!

On April 15, 2016, the USSC voted unanimously to approve increases for the sentencing penalties associated with animal fighting. Previously, the range was 6 to 12 months in federal prison; the range is now 21 to 27 months in federal prison.

The USSC also authorized judges to impose upward departures – sentences above the usual range – for those cases where:

  • The suffering of animals was prolonged.
  • The fighting enterprise was on an exceptional scale (an exceptionally large number of animals was involved in the fighting enterprise).

The ARL believes that these higher guidelines will help deter any potential offenders, and help to protect animals like Turtle from becoming “bait dogs”.

It is for Turtle and so many other animals like her that the ARL continues to urge that those who are responsible for such harm and cruelty are brought to justice.

TAKE ACTION FOR ANIMALS! Learn the 7 most common warning signs of animal cruelty and report any suspicious activity to your local authorities.