An Open Letter Opposing Cape Cod Coyote Killing Contest

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), with an Animal Care & Adoption Center in Brewster, MA, is deeply troubled by the spectacle of killing coyotes for contest on Cape Cod. We are horrified to see people compete for cash prizes to see who can kill the heaviest of these animals. Contests like this are harmful for numerous reasons, including child health, public health, and wildlife management.

First, public hunting contests negatively affect children who witness these displays. Children who witness animal violence may become desensitized to animal abuse, which is often a precursor to other forms of abuse toward the elderly, the disabled, and family. Organizations such as the National Link Coalition research, document, and evaluate the link between violence toward animals as a predictor of future violence affecting both animals and humans. With a rise of violence in our nation’s schools, now, more than ever, we should protect children from witnessing or seeing harmful images or bodies of animal slaughter, especially for money.

Second, coyote hunting contests presented as management strategies for species overpopulation are unsupported by population counts or research. In fact, articles such as Megan Draheim’s, “Why Killing Coyotes Doesn’t Make Livestock Safer” published in the Scientific American, argue that the wide-spread killing of coyotes could actually result in a larger and unmanageable wildlife population because when coyotes are killed, they breed more rapidly and disrupt remaining wildlife.

Third, coyote hunting overlooks the role that coyotes have in the Massachusetts ecosystem. Coyotes control species and disease populations because their diet consists of rodents, rabbits, deer, birds, insects, and reptiles. They keep diseased animals from reproducing. By controlling rodent populations, coyotes protect crops and agriculture in Massachusetts.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston notes that the etymological meaning of the word “contest” is “together to witness.” As we, united with advocates on behalf of animals and children, bear witness to the contest that unfolds on Cape Cod, hope that Massachusetts legislators and citizens look to states like California and Vermont, who have undertaken legislative measures to prohibit coyote hunting tournaments.

A radical kill of animals for a cash prize is not consistent with sentiments of Massachusetts citizens and is inhumane for animals. It is harmful to children exposed to the unethical slaughter of animals for a cash prize.

Mary Nee

President, Animal Rescue League of Boston


ARL Caring for Nearly 60 Animals from Alleged Cruelty Situation

Please note: The animals involved in this case are not available for adoption.

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) assisted law enforcement in Auburn, MA, with the rescue of 60 animals from a residence. According to police, the conditions inside the home were unsanitary, deplorable and unsafe for inhabitance by animals and humans.

One of the animals in ARL’s care.

Almost all of the animals removed from the home are now in the care of ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center. The animals consist of 28 cats/kittens, and 26 dogs/puppies.

Each cat and dog has been thoroughly examined and vaccinated by ARL’s Shelter Veterinary staff. Unfortunately, a significant number of these animals show signs of respiratory infection, flea infestation, urine-stained and matted fur, as well as varying degrees of dental disease.

As authorities in Auburn work on the legal aspects of this case, ARL will continue to ensure that these animals are healthy and happy until the situation is resolved.

Animals need your support now!

The sudden influx of nearly 60 animals puts a heavy strain on ARL’s resources. Please consider making a donation today so that we can continue to provide each and every animal in our shelters with the kindness, care, and compassion that they need and deserve.

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Thank you for being a champion for animals in need!


Press Release: Emaciated Dog and Housemate on the Mend at ARL-Brewster

Previous owner charged with animal cruelty

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is caring for a pair of dogs at its Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center that were relinquished by their previous owner, who’s now facing animal cruelty charges.

“Ace” and “Bentley” came to ARL through the Rochester, MA, animal control officer who suspected that the dogs had been fed inadequately. Both dogs were malnourished, however the condition of one of the dogs was particularly appalling.

Weighing just 20 pounds, Bentley is on a regimented diet to gain weight slowly and safely.

Two-year-old Bentley was severely dehydrated and emaciated, weighing just 20 pounds (according to veterinary records he weighed approximately 50 pounds in 2017). Bentley’s body condition score was 1-2 out of 9, and he also has a number of scars on his face and ears. Nine-year-old Ace fared slightly better, while showing signs of malnourishment, his body condition is close to normal.

According to ARL’s shelter veterinary staff, barring any unexpected complications, Bentley and Ace are expected to make a full recovery and have a second chance at life.

Both animals are settling into their new surroundings and will be on a closely monitored feeding schedule to promote safe and steady weight gain.

As they recuperate ARL staff and volunteers will work with the animals to ensure they are socialized and able to shed the fear and anxiety of such a taxing situation.

Per Sgt. Robert Small of the Rochester Police Department:

On February 21, 2018 an alert utility worker called Rochester police and reported that she had seen two malnourished dogs in a home on New Bedford Rd. Police officers responded to the home as well as Animal Control officers. The officers found the dogs were locked in the home and appeared to be severely malnourished. The conditions were very unsanitary and the officers reported an extreme odor of animal urine and feces was detected from the driveway. The home appeared otherwise vacant and no food or water was available.

The resident was contacted and returned to the house. The interior conditions were deplorable and contained a substantial amount of animal waste. Officers took custody of the dogs and Animal Control officers brought them for immediate medical treatment.

The owner of the dogs has been charged with two counts of Animal Cruelty and two counts of Failing to License a Dog.


Boston Veterinary Care Monthly

Anyone who’s cared for a puppy knows how cute they can be – but they can also be mischievous and challenging! Curious by nature, puppies can get into things they shouldn’t and chew whatever comes in range of their mouths.

For Finn, an 11-month-old Boxer-mix, his curiosity almost cost him his life.

When he was brought to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), he hadn’t eaten for several days, was lethargic, dehydrated, and an examination showed some sort of obstruction lodged in his intestinal tract.

He needed surgery immediately, but the procedure was cost-prohibitive for Finn’s owner. His owner applied and was approved for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, and Finn was sedated and taken into surgery.

An incision into his stomach revealed a pom-pom from a winter hat was blocking the outflow tract from the stomach. While the pom-pom was removed, a second obstruction, likely another piece of the winter hat, was found further down in his small intestines. This blockage was more serious and had caused a 12-inch section of the intestines to die and rupture.

The section of intestines was resected, and due to the extensive surgery, when Finn awoke he was in pain and his body temperature was too low. Finn was transferred to Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment & Specialties in Walpole for overnight care and pain management.

He was successfully discharged two days later, and Finn is back to his energetic self! The nearly $4,000 treatment was covered by the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund and Finn’s owner was overjoyed and thankful for the assistance and to have her beloved companion be healthy once again.

“It was a grueling surgery, but Finn showed his strength, and it’s wonderful to see how he’s recovered and will go on to lead a healthy life,” said BVC Lead Veterinarian, Dr. Nicole Breda.

The Alice T. Whitney Fund gives homeless animals and family pets the chance to heal — see how you can help today!

Dental Health Month at BVC

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and through the end of the month BVC is offering a free dental exam, toothbrush, and toothpaste with every wellness exam. Additionally, BVC offers a free pet exam for first time clients.

BVC is the clinic with a mission – as all profits benefit shelter animals of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). BVC offers a number of high-quality outpatient services, click here to find out more!


ARL Expands Reach to Help Animals in Need in Puerto Rico

Some of Old San Juan’s Most Famous Residents Finding Homes in Boston

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is broadening its reach in Puerto Rico by partnering with Save a Gato, a nonprofit group dedicated to rescuing cats in Old San Juan; the partnership began with a transport of nine cats this past week.

Once at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, the cats were placed under a state-mandated 48-hour quarantine period, given thorough examinations, vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and microchipped. From there, the gatos were made available for adoption, and to no surprise have been adopted very quickly.

An Internationally Known Colony

Save a Gato manages cat colonies throughout Old San Juan, including along the Paseo Del Morro – a trail that once serviced as a maintenance road for the massive stone protective walls of the city that date back to the 1630s.
For visitors to the National Recreational Trail, the numerous cats along the route are part of the experience, and many say that some of the cats are actual descendants of the original cats who came on ships when the first Spanish settlers came to the island.

To see video of one of the adorable gatos, click here!

Gatos and Satos

Along with Save a Gato, in 2017 ARL began its partnership with All Sato Rescue, and has transported dozens of dogs from the island, including an emergency transport of pups following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

There is an abundance of homeless animals in Puerto Rico. These transports allow ARL to supplement the number of animals the organization takes in locally, while giving our partner organizations the ability to continue their important work and make room for more animals in need.

Additionally, ARL receives monthly transports of puppies and dogs from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and Alexander County Animal Services – both based in North Carolina.


Press Release: Good Samaritan Helps Save a Life

ARL-Boston Reminds Public to Take Action when Seeing an Animal in Distress

With New England still in the grips of a brutal winter, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind the public to be mindful and to take action when seeing an animal in distress.

Such actions recently helped save the life of a female stray cat in Dorchester.

The Good Samaritan got a backyard surprise when pulling off the cover to an outdoor grill. Underneath was a shivering cat who was trying to get out of the cold and hadn’t been seen in the neighborhood before. The cat had suffered a devastating injury to her front left leg, and was very thin. Concerned for the animal, the resident took the cat in and contacted ARL Rescue Services.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, an examination by ARL veterinary staff noted that many of the cat’s toes on her left front leg were missing and the bones of her paw were exposed; a condition that was causing the animal severe pain. Additionally she was also dehydrated, anemic, severely underweight, and had an upper respiratory infection.

The cat, later named “Addie”, underwent amputation surgery this past week, is ravenously eating to put on weight, and is making continuous progress. She’s incredibly friendly and will be available for adoption when she’s back to 100 percent.

“Considering her situation, she’s doing remarkably well,” said Dr. Kate Gollon, ARL Community and Shelter Veterinarian. “When she came to ARL she weighed about half what a cat her age should weigh and she’s already put on half a pound, so she’s definitely trending in the right direction.

Addie’s case serves as a reminder that if the public spots an animal in distress, calling ARL Rescue Services at 617-426-9170 or local animal control can be the difference in an animal’s demise or survival.


Boston Veterinary Care Monthly

A life-threatening infection and a life-saving surgery

Recently, the family of three-year-old Mica noticed she was lethargic, not eating, and her abdomen was distended. Alarmed, they brought her to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), and just in the nick of time.

An examination and x-ray confirmed that Mica was suffering from pyometra — a uterine infection that requires immediate attention. If left untreated, a uterine rupture would spread the infection into the abdominal cavity, and spell certain death. While not an uncommon condition, Mica’s case was severe.

“This was the worst case of pyometra I’ve seen in a cat,” said BVC Lead Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Breda. “Mica was close to rupture and needed surgery to remove the uterus and the infection, and to save her life.”

Quick action led to a successful surgery, and in the process Mica lost a third of her body weight. Mica weighed nine pounds upon check-in, and the removed infected area weighed an astonishing three pounds! With the crisis averted, Mica has her life back and is back home where she belongs.

“She’s doing well, her owner is so grateful to BVC for saving Mica’s life, and she will go onto have a nice long and healthy life,” Dr. Breda said.

Discover BVC

Located in Boston’s South End, BVC is the clinic with a mission — all profits benefit ARL’s shelter animals.

Along with a FREE wellness exam for new clients, BVC offers a variety of high-quality outpatient services including:

Wellness examinations and vaccinations

  •         Surgery
  •         Dental care
  •         Senior pet care
  •         Advanced diagnostics
  •         Radiology/diagnostic imaging

Cat-Only Night

A trip to the vet can be stressful for any animal, but particularly for cats. That’s why BVC also offers a cats-only night every Tuesday! Schedule your cat’s exam for after 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and enjoy a dog-free waiting room — less stress for you and your feline friend! 

To schedule an appointment call (617) 226-5605, or email


ARL Sheltering Displaced Animals Following Tragic Barn Fire

Animals Doing Well in the Wake of Trauma

This past weekend, a horrific barn fire in Holliston tragically claimed the lives of dozens of animals. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) responded to assist Holliston’s Animal Control Officer and first responders on-scene in rounding up surviving animals who scattered once they were freed from the barn.

ARL rescued and transported six chickens, four ducks, and two rabbits to its Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center. Additionally, three piglets were rescued and brought to a partner organization for treatment of minor burns and smoke inhalation.

The animals have been given shelter, food, water and physical examinations by ARL veterinary staff and despite the trauma, are doing well and adjusting to their new environment. The survivors will be with ARL for as long as they need to be and will receive the ongoing compassionate care and treatment they need to continue to thrive.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

ARL in the News

ARL’s collaborative efforts to save these animals has garnered much attention from national and local media including: WCVB, WFXT, the Boston Herald, Metro West Daily News, among many others.


Legislative Update: ARL-Supported Poaching Bill Passes Through Massachusetts Senate

Bill Aims to Stiffen and Modernize Illegal Hunting Penalties

The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed proposed legislation aimed to protect wildlife by increasing penalties and measures to stop illegal hunting, or poaching, in the state. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has publicly advocated for the measure since its filing in January of 2017.

Many of the state’s current poaching penalties are about a century out of date, and S. 2248, an Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices, would modernize the current antiquated legislation. This bill would bring penalties in line with other states, elevating fines, jail time, and hunting and fishing license suspensions for certain crimes, including the commercialization of fish and wildlife.

Additionally the legislation would bring Massachusetts into the Interstate Law Enforcement Compact. Currently Massachusetts is one of only three states that is not a member of the network which has been helping wildlife agencies increase compliance with wildlife laws for 25 years.

With passage in the Senate, the bill will now go to the House. ARL would like to thank Senate bill sponsor Senator Mike Moore and House bill sponsors, Representatives Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Lori Ehrlich, and Cory Atkins for all their hard work and dedication.

Get Involved

ARL is dedicated to preventing animal cruelty and neglect by strengthening law and public policy, and continues to be a voice for domesticated animals and wildlife in need. Please view our current Legislative Agenda, and we urge you to contact your representatives and encourage them to help further animal protection policy in Massachusetts.