Blog Archives
It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

ARL Volunteers and Staff Honored

As we round out National Volunteer Appreciation Week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would once again like to thank all of our volunteers and foster families!

The week has been filled with virtual events and was capped by the annual awards ceremony to honor those who have gone above and beyond to help animals in need.

Without further ado, here are the winners for ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Cape Cod locations!

Best of Boston: Jane Urban of Newton

Cape’d Crusader: Terry Snow of Harwich

Dedham’s Most Dignified: Linda Palmer of Milton

ARL’s Unsung Hero: Margaret Ronna of Cambridge

All Other Creatures Big and Small: Denise Fritschy of Eastham and Tricia Patterson of Somerville

Admin’s Above and Beyond: Kelly Scott of Winthrop and Martha Donovan of Harwich

Our Four Footed Friends Favorite Foster Parent:  Cindy Glade of Harvard

In addition, volunteers at each location annual vote for a staff member who embodies ARL’s mission.

Boston: Julie Pearce

Cape Cod: Dawn Lee

Dedham: Alicia Muller

“Awards night is a special night as staff and volunteers come together to celebrate all the successes of the previous year, highlight both volunteers and staff who consistently go above and beyond, and to embrace and share the love we all have for the animals in our care,” said Debby Chaplic, ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement.

Thank you to every ARL volunteer and foster family who donate their time and pour their hearts and souls into enriching the lives of the animals in ARL’s care – ARL volunteers are true champions for animals!

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

If you are interested in volunteering at ARL, please click here for more information and THANK YOU!

Curbing Pet Anxiety as We Head Back to Work

Routine and Structure are Key to Ensure a Smooth Transition

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced shutdowns over a year ago, many pet owners began working from home and needed to help their pets adjust to them suddenly being home all the time. Now, as many start to head back into the office, pet owners must prepare their pets to once again be home alone.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) understands this will not be an easy process and wants to help pet owners guide their pets into this transition.

But preparing is a slow and gradual process that can’t be done in a day – it starts with understanding the causes of separation issues for our pets.

The top causes of separation-related problems are fear, frustration, boredom, or something health-related. Pets become frustrated if they don’t get enough of something or even too much of something.

Boredom can result if the pets are not being challenged or stimulated enough, and health-related issues such as allergies can cause anxiety or discomfort for pets and while pets cannot tell us what is causing their anxiety or discomfort, the behavior they exhibit is very telling in this regard.

Again, it’s critical to begin setting our pets up for success well before we head back to the office, and that includes taking care of our pets’ physical and mental well-being and focusing on training.

ARL offers these four tips to preparing your pet for a return to the office:

    1. Start slow! Even if you plan on going back into the office in six months, the earlier you get your pet into a routine, the easier the transition will be! Just as with humans, creating a routine alleviates stress of the unknown, and it’s no different for animals.
    2. Begin your routine by waking up at the same time each day. Keep mealtimes, walks, and playtime on a consistent schedule as well.
    3. If your dog is not crate trained consider doing so, begin offering them high-value treats and toys to use during independent playtime while inside their crate. Before long, your pet will learn that the crate can be their own personal safe and happy space, whether you are at home or not.
    4. Remember that repetition, patience, and rewarding calm behavior is key.

It’s also important to remember that as a pet owner, you’re not alone! ARL offers a FREE Pet Behavior Helpline to help tackle a number of behavioral issues.

The Helpline can be reached at (617) 226-5666 or by email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org. Once you reach out, an ARL representative will be in touch within 48 hours.

ARL also offers dog training classes at its Boston and Dedham location for basic and advanced canine learning, semi-private and private sessions are also available.

For more information, course schedules and pricing, visit arlboston.org/services/dog-training.

ARL, Animal-Related Budget Items to be Debated in State Legislature

Annually, the Massachusetts Legislature debates to prioritize and solidify a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

After the Governor files suggestions in January, both branches of the legislature work together to hold hearings to discuss revenue and issues facing the Commonwealth.

The House then releases and debates a budget in April, with the Senate debating theirs in May.

The budget includes funding for state programs, so-called “earmarks” to address specific concerns of legislators, and “outside sections” that include policy changes that do not deal with funding.

Over 1,000 amendments are filed in each branch, and both branches take multiple days of deliberation.

After both budgets are debated, a conference committee of six legislators will work together to come to agreement on each item.

Budget amendments are filed on a variety of topics, to both increase existing funding and add new funding.

The State House will be conducting the debate mostly virtually, and you can watch along on https://malegislature.gov/

Animal-Related Budget Items

There are three amendments filed to the House budget that would directly improve the lives of animals in Massachusetts.

#433 Mass Animal Fund

The Massachusetts Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund (MAF) helps provide spay/neuter to some of the most in-need residents across the commonwealth.

While some of the funding for this comes from an optional check-the-box on your taxes (33f if you haven’t filed your taxes yet), over the past few years the fund has been supplemented by funding secured in the budget.

This amendment would increase funding to MDAR for this fund.

#721 Hen Welfare

In 2016, Massachusetts passed a first-of-its kind law through ballot initiative to require that all whole eggs sold in Massachusetts be “cage-free” and fit certain requirements.

As other states have passed similar laws, they have adopted other protections and adopted a slightly different standard.

This amendment, also filed as a stand-alone bill, would strengthen hen welfare by affecting more hens and requiring more enrichment for these animals.

#1002 Animal Rescue League of Boston

For the first time, ARL is seeking funding from the state to help us continue our community programs, which include the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’.

Over the past year, we have seen incredible need in the communities we serve, and the need only continues to grow.

This funding would help ARL continue the critical community work we do, and help pets in the process.

Your Voice Matters!

As always, legislators rely on their constituents to reach out to them and share their priorities.

As a constituent, ask them to support these amendments and the welfare of animals in the FY22 budget.

The House will begin their budget debate early next week, so make sure to speak up for animals now!

For an example of how to format your email to your legislators, click here.

Find your representative here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Together, we can provide a better Commonwealth of Massachusetts for animals – Thank you!

Press Release: 65+ Cats Signed Over to ARL Following Bond Order

Cats rescued by ARL on Martha’s Vineyard in July 2020

This past week, an ongoing animal cruelty case involving more than 65 cats and kittens who were rescued from a private breeding facility on Martha’s Vineyard in July 2020, took a major step forward, as the animals were officially signed over to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

While the defendant in the case maintains their right to contest the five counts of felony animal cruelty levied against them, ARL is now able to take steps to begin finding the cats permanent homes.

At this time there is no timeline for the cats to be made available for adoption, and those interested in adoption can log onto arlboston.org/adopt.

Since rescuing the cats in July 2020, the animals have received extensive medical care and have been living with foster families. The cost of care has exceeded tens of thousands of dollars, and the decision to surrender was made after a security bond was issued in the case.

In 2017, legislation was enacted in an effort to strengthen financial protections for animal care organizations like ARL, who is responsible for long-term care of animals related to active animal cruelty investigations or prosecutions. The legislation allows the prosecuting agency to request a court order for the accused to post a security bond, which can be used to recuperate costs of care. When granted, the accused has to either cover the bond or forfeit the animals.

This is the second time ARL has been granted a security bond request for an ongoing case.

It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Not that we need a reason to celebrate our amazing volunteers and foster families, but this week marks National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Although ARL’s celebrations for the 800-plus volunteers will once again be virtual, it continues to be an honor to acknowledge those who make incredible contributions to help fulfill ARL’s mission.

The week will be broken up into several virtual events, highlighted by a kick-off celebration with ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster volunteers, and of course ARL’s annual volunteer awards night.

A number of awards will be handed out to those who went above and beyond to help animals in need over the past year, and the ceremony, virtual or not, is an annual favorite for ARL volunteers and staff alike.

Volunteers are mission critical for ARL, whether serving as ambassadors for the organization, working with behaviorally-challenged animals, comforting a frightened cat or dog, changing litter boxes, or performing a myriad of other tasks – volunteers achieve countless selfless acts of kindness every day and ARL is grateful.

Compassion Cannot be Quarantined

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted day-to-day operations for ARL, which of course affected our volunteers.

Per safety protocols, just six volunteers were assigned to each shift during the past year, however, many volunteers who couldn’t come into the buildings decided to serve in another way – as foster parents.

When ARL suspended adoption services in March 2020, nearly 200 animals were placed into temporary foster care. Additionally, ARL began two Covid-19-related programs, both of which have fostering components.

So many volunteers graciously opened up their hearts and homes to these animals when they needed it most and ARL could not be more thankful.

Despite restrictions, ARL volunteers donated more than 63,000 hours of service – a 66 percent increase from 2019! This also is the equivalent to 30 full-time staff!

“I’m always proud of the incredible accomplishments of our volunteers, but 2020 offered such unprecedented circumstances and once again ARL volunteers, which of course includes our amazing foster families, stepped up and went above and beyond anything I could’ve imagined,” said Debby Chaplic, ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement. “ARL’s volunteers are a shining light and true champions for animals in need.”

Stay tuned to see who our award winners are!

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

Thank You

ARL is grateful to each and every volunteer who helps ARL fulfill its mission to be a Champion for Animals – we are all in this together and we cannot do it without you!

If you are interested in volunteering at ARL, please click here for more information and THANK YOU!

ARL Partners with HSUS for Law Enforcement Training

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department recently completed the second of two training sessions for animal control, veterinarians, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The training was a collaboration between ARL and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Topics included all aspects of equine investigation, and veterinary forensics in animal investigations.

“Properly collecting and documenting evidence is critical in any law enforcement investigation, and science and technology have come a long way in aiding investigative methods as well,” said Joe King, ARL Director of Law Enforcement. “There are so many tools we can use to help solve animal cruelty cases and these training courses will help shape investigations in Massachusetts going forward and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with a great organization like HSUS.”

Well over 100 animal control officers, veterinarians, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers attended the virtual sessions, which are the latest in a series of training that ARL has offered.

For ARL, training those on the front lines and often the first to respond is essential not only for rescuing animals suffering cruelty, neglect and abuse, but to also hold those responsible for harming animals to be held accountable.

Since 2019, ARL has conducted training sessions for more than 600 animal control officers and members of law enforcement.

About ARL Law Enforcement

As a leader in animal welfare, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is committed to preventing animal suffering, neglect, and abuse in Massachusetts.

Law Enforcement investigates crimes against animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect. ARL employs Special State Police Officers, with the authority to enforce animal cruelty and neglect laws. These officers work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth.

In 2020, ARL’s Law Enforcement department helped 2,030 animals.

Although we work closely with the state, as well as many cities and towns, ARL does not receive any government or public funding and relies solely on the support of compassionate individuals like you. Donate now to help us continue our important work to serve animals and communities in need!

It’s National Animal Control Appreciation Week!

This week marks National Animal Control Appreciation Week, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to commend and thank Animal Control Officers (ACO) throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for their steadfast commitment to keeping animals in their respective communities safe.

ACO’s are on the front lines every day and are involved with a myriad of activities – from enforcing animal protection laws, caring for stray or injured animals, to simply giving advice to pet owners to improve the lives of animals.

ARL routinely collaborates with ACO’s from all over Massachusetts to assist in any way possible. Here are just a few recent examples of our collective efforts.

Abandoned Kittens in Bridgewater

Neonatal kitten.

When animal control in Bridgewater came across a triad of three-week-old kittens who had been abandoned after likely losing their mother, they reached out to ARL for assistance.

The neonatal kittens were taken to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center whey they were bottle-fed, and underwent veterinary examinations.

Kittens this age are unable to care for themselves and are also extremely delicate.  They need to be bottle-fed every few hours and require a ton of attention and care.

The kittens will remain in foster care until they are old enough to be made available for adoption.

Stray Roosters in Billerica

Albert Eggstein and Cocky Balboa.

ACOs commonly come across stray animals, and will often contact ARL to assist with shelter, transport, or medical treatment.

Such was the case for a pair of roosters recently found as strays in Billerica.

The roosters, named Albert Eggstein and Cocky Balboa, were wandering in the town north of Boston, and once the roosters were secure, they were transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center and the roosters were soon right at home in the iconic red barn.

The pair were examined by ARL’s veterinary staff and are now currently available for adoption!

Providing Spay and Neuter in Fall River

Fall River ACO’s.

The importance of spay and neuter cannot be stressed enough. ARL is dedicated to helping pet owners break down the barriers that may prevent them from having their pets spayed or neutered.

The pricey surgery is a barrier for many, which is why, for more than 20 years, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has provided high-quality, low-cost spay and neuter services for communities along the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, and the Metro Boston area.

This week, ARL collaborated with ACO’s in Fall River and the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF) to provide spay and neuter services for nearly two dozen pet owners – all at no cost.

This marks the third year that ARL and the MAF have hosted a spay/neuter clinic in Fall River, and we look forward to providing this important surgery for even more pets in this community in the future.

ARL is proud of its relationships with ACO’s throughout the Commonwealth and wants to thank everyone on the front lines for being a champion for animals!

ARL Expands Services to Fall River Community

Services include spay/neuter and community cats

For a third year in a row, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has partnered with the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF) to bring vital spay and neuter services to the South Coast community of Fall River, this as ARL continues to expand services to the Fall River community.

ARL’s Spay Waggin’, a state-of-the-art mobile surgical unit, welcomed nearly two dozen animals for the surgeries, which were covered by the MAF’s voucher program, which distributes vouchers to qualifying low-income pet owners to cover the cost of the important procedure.

Due to high demand and Covid-19-restrictions, many clients had been on a waiting list for a number of months to have their pets spayed or neutered, and ARL is pleased to once again be able to provide this vital service.

Additionally, ARL’s Field Services Department was on-hand to distribute pet food to clients.

Community Cats

ARL has recently expanded its community cat initiative into the Fall River region as well.

There are approximately 700,000 community cats, which consist of stray, feral, and semi-feral cats, in Massachusetts.

Through the Community Cat Initiative, ARL will assess colonies, and formulate a trap-neuter-return (TNR) plan to provide spay/neuter, medical care, and also find homes for cats deemed suitable for adoption.

So far ARL has worked with more than dozen cats in the region, and as the weather warms, the number of cats in need of assistance is expected to drastically increase.

For residents concerned about community cats in their respective neighborhoods, they can reach ARL’s Field Services Department by calling 617-426-9170, then dial 1.

Spay Waggin’

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides high-quality, low-cost spay and neuter services to animals in need on the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as select locations in Metro Boston.

Since 2000 the Spay Waggin’ has provided services for more than 60,000 animals.

The Spay Waggin’ is by appointment only, and to for more information and to book an appointment, call (877) 590-SPAY (7729), or email spaywaggin@arlboston.org.

Press Release: Deceased Dog in Plastic Bag Found Near Lawrence School

Necropsy reveals extensive abuse leading to death

In late March, a young female Jack Russell Terrier-type dog was found deceased near a Lawrence, MA, school.

A necropsy has revealed the dog’s death was the result of extensive abuse, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, working in conjunction with the Lawrence Police Department, are urgently seeking information to determine who may have been responsible.

A Lawrence police officer discovered the approximately 1-year-old dog along a frequented walking trail behind South Lawrence East Middle School on March 17, at approximately 10:45 a.m.

The white and tan dog had been partially wrapped in a “pee pad” and placed in a black plastic bag. There was blood present inside the bag and on the dog’s body, as well as urine staining on the dog’s tail.

It is likely the dog had not been left in the area for very long.

It appears the animal suffered extreme cruelty and abuse, which led to the dog’s death.

A necropsy has determined the animal’s cause of death to be acute blood loss and multiple skull fractures. Extensive bruising on the body indicates the dog was also intermittently abused in the 36-hours leading up to its death.

Anyone with information pertaining to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact Lawrence Police Det. Carmen Poupora at (978) 794-5900 x625, or ARL Law Enforcement at (617) 426-9170 ext. 110 or cruelty@arlboston.org.

Non-Native Lizard Hitchhikes from Florida to Massachusetts

Finders brought lizard to ARL Brewster Facility

Recently, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center took in a curious, non-native lizard that decided to hit the road and had hitchhiked its way from Florida to Massachusetts.

To see local media coverage of this story click here!

This curious lizard took a little road trip and wound up at ARL!

The person who brought the lizard to ARL stated that the reptile had somehow gotten into the interior of the vehicle when leaving Florida and was discovered upon arrival in Massachusetts.

The lizard, described as a Brown Anole, is native to Florida and abundant in the Sunshine State, but a non-native species to Massachusetts — the lizard was transported to a reptile rescue organization in Connecticut to receive care and be rehomed.

ARL commends the actions of the lizard’s finder and reminds the pubic that non-native species should never be released into the wild, as they can create vast ecological problems.

Any non-native species should be taken to a rescue organization like ARL where they will receive the care they need.