A Life-Saving Phone Call

ARL Recognizes Eversource Employee

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) welcomed a “hero among us” to its Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, for life-saving actions taken this past winter.

In late February, Eversource employee Susan Sweeney was in Rochester, MA on a routine service call, but her day turned out to be anything but routine.

Posting a notice on the door of the home, she heard barking and when she looked inside she saw two dogs living in deplorable conditions and in desperate need of help. Taking decisive action, Sweeney contacted the Rochester Police Department.

“I’m a dog lover, I’ve always had a dog,” Sweeney said. “But anyone in that situation would have done the same thing once they saw those dogs.

Rochester police and Animal Control responded to the residence, and immediately removed the dogs, who were then transferred to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bentley, a two-year-old Pit Bull-type dog, was severely dehydrated and emaciated, weighing in just a shade over 20 pounds. Nine-year-old Astro fared slightly better, while showing signs of malnourishment, his weight and body condition was close to normal.

Over a period of weeks, the animals slowly and safely put the weight back on and were soon made available for adoption. To no one’s surprise, both Astro and Bentley quickly found their forever homes and are now thriving.

This positive outcome would not have been possible without Susan Sweeney’s actions.

“She did what we hope everyone would do in that circumstance,” ARL President Mary Nee said. “She saw unacceptable conditions and contacted police immediately – these animals survived because of her actions.”

Report Cruelty and Abuse

While ARL has been combatting animal cruelty and neglect for 119 years, the case of Astro and Bentley shows that unfortunately there’s still work to be done. In 2017, ARL Law Enforcement investigated nearly 350 cases, and 316 animals involved in animal neglect and cruelty situations were confiscated or surrendered to ARL. If you witness or suspect animal cruelty or neglect, contact local law enforcement immediately. Your actions may just save a life.

 

April 8-14 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Education, Awareness are Keys to Prevention

There are an estimated 70 million dogs in the United States, and every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites are reported – 20 percent of which require medical attention.

The CDC goes on to estimate that at least half of dog bite victims are children.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to take this opportunity during National Dog Bite Prevention Week to remind dog owners that learning behavioral signs and properly training and socializing your animal can go a long way in drastically reducing these statistics.

When it comes to behavior, it’s important to recognize when a dog is becoming uncomfortable. Some of the signs include:

  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Cowering
  • Holding its breath
  • Flattening its ears
  • Growling
  • Snapping
  • Curling upper lip

When a dog gives these cues, it’s important to back off immediately. Too often these signs are ignored and result in a bite.

Teaching Children

It’s important to teach children not to approach a strange dog; however, it should be noted that not only strange dogs bite. Even a family pet can bite if it feels frightened, threatened, or is in pain. Parents should consider supervising a child’s interactions with dogs, while teaching the aforementioned behavioral cues.

Training and Socialization

Training and socializing with people and other animals is vital to having a puppy become a well-mannered adult dog. Have questions? You can always contact ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666.

ARL also offers a number of training courses covering a variety of areas including basic manners, commands, social skills and mental enrichment exercises. Courses are offered at ARL’s Boston location, and reduced rates are offered (first-time only!) to dogs adopted from ARL within the previous six months, and for Boston Veterinary Care clients.

 

Band Removal, Amputation Put Two Birds Back on the Adoptable Perch

This past week, Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) veterinarians performed surgeries on two colorful birds with colorful names, in an effort to fix lingering injuries and put them on a track towards finding forever homes.

In Boston, Neil Young, a beautiful 10-15-year-old cockatiel, was suffering from a leg band that had embedded into the bird’s skin. Adding further irritation to the cockatiel, a significant amount of debris was found underneath the band.

ARL’s shelter veterinary staff surgically removed the band, cleaned the wound underneath, and is healing nicely. Unfortunately Neil Young does appear to have permanent nerve damage to the foot, but is able to compensate without issue and is now ready to find his forever home! UPDATE — Neil Young is adopted and has left the building! 

In Dedham, Sir Ellington, a one-year-old white pigeon, was found as a stray in Dorchester. He was covered in black oil, and after removing the oil from his feathers, it was noted that he was not perching normally and was only using one of his legs.

The middle toe on Sir Ellington’s left leg was swollen and painful, and x-rays revealed that he had a displaced fracture of his middle left toe.

Performing the first bird surgery at ARL’s Dedham facility, Sir Ellington was sedated and the middle toe was removed. After a week of pain medication and antibiotics, the young pigeon is comfortably walking and perching!

Why Adopt a Bird?

Birds make great pets, particularly if you’re facing time or space constraints.

Here are 5 reasons why adopting a bird may make sense for you:

  1. You’ll have someone to talk to. Because of their above average intelligence, birds are very communicative and love to socialize with humans.
  2. You’ll have fun training them. Since birds are relatively small, training them can be less physically demanding than working with larger creatures, making them a good choice for the young, elderly, or disabled.
  3. You’ll have more space. A bird’s, food, water, and toys are typically self-contained in their cage, so smaller households will still have plenty of room to move around.
  4. You’ll have a loyal friend for the long-run. Many bird species have extraordinarily long life expectancies, some living more than 100 years! This often eases the concerns of people who want to make sure they adopt a pet that they can love and enjoy for a very long time.
  5. You’ll save money. Most landlords only charge “pet fees” to tenants with cats or dogs. Additionally, at the ARL, all of this is included in your pet’s adoption fee: health screening and veterinary exam, behavioral screening and evaluation, vaccinations, parasite treatment, and more!

Ready to Adopt?

Visit an ARL Animal Care and Adoption Center in Boston, Brewster, or Dedham and find your perfect match today! Dogs, cats, birds, and other small animals, your furry or feathered friend is waiting for a place to call home.

 

 

ARL Clinic Brings Services Directly to Community

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently launched a weekly, low-cost pet wellness clinic to serve pet owners in Dorchester. Pet owners have taken notice as the ARL Pet Wellness Clinic – Codman Square has grown incrementally since its opening.

The clinic offers high-quality services, impactful cost-savings as well as ease of access for pet owners – services are brought directly to the community.

For just $10, services administered by ARL veterinary staff include:

  • Physical exam
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Distemper vaccine
  • Flea treatment
  • Microchip

Open from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Friday at the Dorchester YMCA of Greater Boston, the clinic services reflect a cost-savings of more than $200 for cat owners, and $275 for dog owners. Click here to read a special report by the Dorchester Reporter!

ARL hosted a recent tour of the clinic! Top row from left to right: Sima Thakkar, PetSmart Charities; Sam Fincke, ARL; Mary Nee, ARL President; Cheryl Traversi, ARL; Reginald Jean, Dorchester YMCA; Betsy Jones, ARL volunteer. Bottom row from left to right: Sherisse Mayala, Boston Housing Authority; Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL; Henry Pimental, Codman Academy intern.

“The services were great,” Dorchester resident Ryan Joyce said. “I take my dog (Finn) for regular vet visits, but it costs hundreds of dollars. This was a great opportunity to keep Finn healthy and save a lot of money in the process.”

Services are open to all residents of Dorchester, and while walk-ins are welcome, appointments can be made by calling (857) 413-5964. In order to receive services, dogs must be leashed, and cats must be in a carrier.

This initiative is made possible by a grant from PetSmart Charities, and in partnership with the Dorchester YMCA of Greater Boston, and the Codman Academy Charter School.

“We are overjoyed for the opportunity to be able to bring these vital services right into the community where they’re needed,” said ARL President and Dorchester resident, Mary Nee. “Through support and partnerships, we are able to promote pet health, as well as pet retention.”

Why Codman Square

This geographic region was chosen based on ARL-collected data regarding pet and community animal needs, as well as the richness in community-based institutions in the area. ARL’s work has included extensive community outreach, public pet care workshops, and a survey regarding what it’s like to own a pet in Codman Square. The three main components of this initiative are; community-based pet education, community-based animal care services, and partnerships with human service organizations to support the inclusion of pets as part of the family unit.

Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities

The clinic is part of ARL’s broader community effort, the Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities Initiative. Established in 2017, the Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities Initiative is centered in Dorchester’s historic Codman Square Neighborhood, and connects the work of ARL for animals with community organizations for the benefit of both animals and people. The Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities Initiative is supported by generous grants from the Cummings foundation, and Jane’s Trust.

 

Justice for Puppy Doe

Defendant Found Guilty, Will Serve 8-10 Years

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to report that the man convicted of inflicting horrific and ultimately fatal injuries to the dog forever known as Puppy Doe, will spend the next 8-10 years in prison for these acts of cruelty.

Radoslaw Czerkawski, a 35-year-old Polish National, was convicted of 12 individual counts of animal cruelty.

ARL thanks and is grateful to Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey and his staff, the Quincy Police Department, and everyone whose hard work, dedication, and determination, led to this conviction.

From the outset, Puppy Doe’s death would not be in vain. She now has peace, but she continues to be a light to move forward in continuing efforts to improve animal protection laws in Massachusetts; we owe it to her to never allow such an atrocity to happen again.

“Today was a historic day for animal welfare in Massachusetts,” said ARL President Mary Nee. “With the conviction and sentencing of Radoslaw Czerkawski, it has been demonstrated that people who commit animal cruelty, and in this case extreme cruelty, will be held accountable. Ironically Puppy Doe’s short and tragic life was the impetus for stronger laws protecting all animals in the Commonwealth.”

Protecting Animals in Massachusetts

The discovery of Puppy Doe and the subsequent investigation that followed sparked conversation throughout the Commonwealth on what could be done to prevent anything like this from happening again.

In 2014, the PAWS Act was passed, which stiffened fines and penalties, required veterinarians to report suspicions of abuse to authorities (keep in mind if the veterinarian who initially treated Puppy Doe hadn’t had the foresight to report her findings to ARL, this case may have never seen the light of day), and established the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force, who was charged with providing future protections for animals in Massachusetts.

Currently, PAWS II, which derived directly from the task force’s recommendations, was recently passed in the Massachusetts Senate, and will soon be debated in the House. If passed, this bill would further strengthen animal protection laws in the state.

Puppy Doe Background

On August 31, 2013, after Puppy Doe was found by Quincy Animal Control and rushed to the South Shore VCA for treatment. Due to the extreme nature of her injuries, she was humanely euthanized. Fortunately, the attending veterinarian, Dr. Duffy, recognized the trauma this animal had endured and reported it to ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement, Lt. Alan Borgal, who dispatched ARL Rescue Services to transport her to the organization’s Boston facility, where a necropsy was performed.

Subsequently, Quincy Police were notified and the necropsy findings sent to the offices of Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey. Presented with the necropsy findings, which detailed an unprecedented level of abuse and torture, the Norfolk DA and the Quincy Police immediately began an investigation including appeals to the public for information related to the perpetrator of this horrific abuse.

During the investigation and the trial, ARL provided assistance to Quincy and Norfolk officials.

The amount of hours and manpower put into this single case of animal cruelty cannot be calculated and ARL commends everyone who fought to give Puppy Doe a voice.

Additionally, this case illustrates the importance of veterinarians and the public reporting animal abuse and neglect. We are all advocates for animals, and if an inhumane act is witnessed or even suspected, it’s imperative to contact local law enforcement immediately to remove the animal from the situation.

Again, ARL would like to thank everyone involved to bring justice for Puppy Doe, and may she now rest in peace.

 

Breaking News: Puppy Doe Trial Verdict

Defendant Found Guilty on 12 Counts of Animal Cruelty

Today, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was overjoyed to hear that Radoslaw Czerkawski has been found guilty of 12 counts of animal cruelty. Sentencing will take place Tuesday, March 27 at 2 p.m. This verdict provides peace to Puppy Doe, and also serves as a light to move forward in continuing efforts to improve animal protection laws in Massachusetts; because such an atrocious act cannot be allowed to happen again.

ARL wants to thank the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, Quincy Police Department, and countless others who worked to find justice for Puppy Doe. The verdict is a victory, but the work is far from finished. ARL will continue to educate, investigate, assist law enforcement, and advocate in order to protect animals in Massachusetts from cruelty and abuse.

Background

On August 31, 2013, after Puppy Doe was found by Quincy Animal Control and rushed to the South Shore VCA for treatment. Due to the extreme nature of her injuries, she was humanly euthanized. Fortunately, the attending veterinarian, Dr. Duffy, recognized the trauma this animal had endured and reported it to ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement, Lt. Alan Borgal, who dispatched ARL Rescue Services to transport her to the organization’s Boston facility, where a necropsy was performed.

Subsequently, Quincy Police were notified and the necropsy findings sent to the offices of Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey. Presented with the necropsy findings, which detailed an unprecedented level of abuse and torture, the Norfolk DA and the Quincy Police immediately began an investigation including appeals to the public for information related to the perpetrator of this horrific abuse.

During the investigation and the trial, ARL provided assistance to Quincy and Norfolk officials.

The amount of hours and manpower put into this single case of animal cruelty cannot be calculated and ARL commends everyone who fought to give Puppy Doe a voice.

Additionally, this case illustrates the importance of veterinarians and the public reporting animal abuse and neglect. We are all advocates for animals, and if an inhumane act is witnessed or even suspected, it’s imperative to contact local law enforcement immediately to remove the animal from the situation.

 

National Puppy Day: Thinking About Adopting a Puppy?

10 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Adopting

We at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) love puppies. Let’s be honest who doesn’t? They’re adorable, loving and lots of fun. They’re also untrained, energetic and at times very destructive! While your heart may be in the right place, the bottom line is that puppies are not for every household. So on this National Puppy Day, here are 10 Questions to ask Yourself Before Adopting a Puppy:

  1. Time Commitment: How much time do you have to devote to the puppy and are you willing to commit to the dog for its life? From training, to multiple feedings daily, to middle of the night potty trips, puppies need constant attention and cannot be left alone for long periods of time. If you cannot devote time to properly and responsibly raise the puppy, then it’s not the time to bring a puppy home.
  2. Socialization: This job is critical of a puppy owner, and is especially important in the first few months of life. Can you commit the time to socialize your puppy? Puppies need to be meet people and other dogs to become a well-adjusted and confident adult dog. Socialization is never complete in a dog, but the longer you wait the harder it gets.
  3. Housing: It’s seemingly a simple question, but is overlooked or ignored by many. Can you properly house a puppy and are you allowed to have a puppy? Renters: Check your lease to see if there are pet restrictions. Home Owners: Check your home owner’s insurance policy for restrictions. Every year thousands of dogs are returned because they were not allowed – this is not fair to the animal or to you, so please make sure that there are no issues if you bring home a puppy.
  4. Lifestyle: What is your lifestyle like? Are you an active family that spends plenty of time outdoors? Or are you more of a couch potato? Some dogs require a lot of exercise daily, and remember that small does not equal less energy. Some large breed dogs have a lower activity level than many smaller breeds.
  5. Cost: Can you afford a puppy? Food, veterinary visits, vaccinations, training, licensing and medical emergencies. Just a few of the costs to consider, and remember the costs of owning an animal need to be maintained for its entire life.
  6. Patience/Training: Are you a patient person? Puppies are of course babies and need to learn in order to become a well-adjusted adult. Remember it takes time and lots of patience! House training, crate training, obedience training, how to walk properly on a leash; these are just a few of the critical training areas. If you lack patience and get frustrated quickly, then maybe an older dog would be better for you.
  7. Long Term: What will happen to the dog if you start a family? What if you have to move? Again there are thousands that are given up every year for these reasons. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, and plans for these factors need to be made to ensure that the dog remains a part of the family for the next 10-15 years.
  8. Human Medical Issues: Are there any allergies or medical conditions in your family that could cause issues that may result in having to surrender the puppy? If there are suspected health concerns, consult a doctor before considering any pet.
  9. Grooming: All dogs need grooming – even hairless breeds! There’s brushing as well as regular attention to teeth, ears and nails. Some breeds do require professional grooming, while others may require a few minutes with a brush on a weekly basis. Are you able to handle this responsibility?
  10. Need: Finally – Why do you want a puppy? If you already have pets in the house, especially senior pets, they may not be crazy about the idea of having a rambunctious puppy running around. Along with current pets, consider other family members too and who will care the dog for its entire life, not just its formative years.

Answer “YES” to All the Above? You’re ready to adopt! All adoptable animals at ARL are spayed/neutered, receive a thorough medical exam as well as vaccinations and other treatments. Additionally, Boston Veterinary Care offers superb wellness services for your pet after adoption and it’s the clinic with a mission – All profits benefit the shelter pets under the care of ARL. And if you’re looking for training for your puppy, ARL offers that too! Click here for a complete list of classes that will help you bond with your puppy, and help them develop properly in their formative years!

 

 

Providing Comfort and Care in the Last Stage of Life

When Boston Animal Control recently brought Pablo to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, his prognosis seemed bleak. A large growth on the hamster’s back was likely cancerous, and because it was so ulcerated, there was a high likelihood of infection and chronic pain.

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, despite their size or species. Wanting to give Pablo a chance to be pain-free and enjoy a loving home for the remainder of his days, ARL shelter veterinarians decided that surgery was the only option to achieve this goal. It would also be the first surgery performed on a hamster in Dedham.

The mass was removed and Pablo has recovered well. ARL staff monitored him closely after surgery, spoiling him with a variety of treats including bananas and bell peppers; and while Pablo’s long-term outcome is unknown, his quality of life has vastly improved.

“We do not know how much time he has left now that he has had the surgery,” said Dr. Kate Gollon, ARL Community and Shelter Veterinarian. “But it was a wonderful opportunity to give Pablo some quality time for him to be pain-free and happy.”

Hospice Adoption

While hospice animals have medical concerns and are in most cases terminal – they still do have a quality of life and deserve to live out the remainder of their lives in comfort and surrounded by love.

When Pablo was made available for adoption, he did find a home quickly, and for these types of special adoptions, it takes a special person to make the situation work for them and for the animal.

“People who commit to a hospice adoption understand that while they may not have a lot of time with that animal, they can feel good about giving them love and support during the time they have left,” said Debby Chaplic, ARL’s Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement. “Adopters who are willing to open up their home and hearts to hospice animals are truly champions.”

Finding the Perfect Match

ARL is committed to matching adoptable animals with a permanent home. Our conversation-based, application-free adoption process is designed so that the needs of both the animal and the adopter are understood and compatible with one another. Visit our Boston, Dedham, or Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers today to start the conversation and to find your perfect companion!

 

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your Pet Safely!

St. Patrick’s Day, especially in Boston, is a day of celebration where everyone is a little Irish.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind pet owners to celebrate safely, and to keep a few things in mind while doing so.

  1. Everything is green…But your pet should NOT be. Green cookies, green beer and the like are commonplace on St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately many feel that dyeing their animal’s fur enhances the celebration. Dyed fur can cause irritation, and also imposes health risks. If your dog licks the area that’s dyed — even after washing — they can ingest a number of toxins that can cause nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions, or even death. It can also take up to a month to wash the dye completely from your dog’s fur.
  2. Keep a Watchful Eye on your Pet. Green beer has become a staple for many celebrating the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Most dogs will happily lap up anything on the table, and it doesn’t take much to intoxicate an animal. Needless to say, alcohol is dangerous for animals, so please keep an eye on your pup while attending parties or other holiday festivities.
  3. Luck of the Irish, NOT dogs. The shamrock is often found at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, however these plants can be toxic to your dog. If ingested, shamrocks can cause upset stomach, drooling, and in severe cases kidney damage. Again, keep close watch on your dog while celebrating.

If your animal shows any sign of toxicity for any of the above-mentioned issues, contact your veterinarian immediately for treatment. Vigilance is responsible pet ownership!

 

Animal Protection Legislation Moving Forward

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate passed S. 2332 An Act to protect animal welfare in cities and towns (PAWS II). It’s a big step forward for the legislation that would protect animals in Massachusetts in a multitude of ways.

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Mandated reporting of cruelty, abuse, or neglect between human and animal welfare agencies
  • Updated penalties for acts of animal cruelty
  • Ensure landlords/owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prohibit a number of cruel acts, including the drowning of animals

Also on Thursday, S. 2331 – An Act relative to protecting puppies and kittens was also passed in the Senate.

Both bills will now go to the House for debate.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to thank Senators Mark Montigny, Bruce Tarr, and Karen Spilka for their continued efforts to fight animal cruelty and abuse in the Commonwealth. ARL would also like to thank our colleagues at the MSPCA, HSUS, Mass. Coalition to End Puppy Mills, and Western Massachusetts Animal Advocates.

Be sure to check out 2018 Legislative Agenda page, and we’ll keep you updated as these bills make their way through the House.