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Category: Advocacy
Animal Rescue League of Boston Marks Bill Signing

H. 1220 Strengthens Financial Protections for Animal Care Facilities

 The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined Representative Linda Dean Campbell, fellow animal welfare organizations, state and local officials, animal control officers, and the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association at MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen today, to announce the signing of H. 1220 – An Act Updating the Law Relating to Posting a Security for Seized Animals in Cruelty Cases.

 H. 1220 was sponsored by Representative Campbell (D-Methuen), supported by 72 co-sponsors, and signed into law by Governor Baker on January 13. It will become effective on April 14.

“I am very optimistic about the positive impact this bill will have to expedite animal cruelty cases, promote better treatment of animals, and remove a financial and administrative burden on cities and towns,” said Representative Campbell.

Dr. Doyle speaks to crowd at Nevins Farm

Animal Cruelty cases often involve cities and towns, as well as organizations like ARL taking custody of the animal(s) affected. Some cases may take months to resolve, and the costs of caring for these animals is extensive. The update to H. 1220 now allows the prosecuting agency to request a court order for the accused to post a security bond, which can be utilized to pay for medical care, quarantine, behavioral training, food, shelter, and other care-related costs. This will hopefully expedite future cases.

“The organizations that care for and shelter the animals currently can request the court to order the accused to post a bond to cover the costs of sheltering the animal,” said Nadine Pellegrini, ARL’s Director of Advocacy. “Allowing the Attorney General and District Attorneys to also file the petition for a bond will be an addition, and hopefully, more efficient tool which will streamline the procedure during the course of the case and lead to a quicker resolution.”

Like people, the psyche and health of animals is fragile, and holding animals long-term isn’t only costly, it can be harmful. For dogs and cats these can manifest as aggression, the loss of house or litterbox training, or obsessive behaviors such as chewing and gnawing on themselves. And, medically, stress can result in a suppressed immune system, making animals susceptible to infectious diseases.

“It can be very challenging for shelters to meet the behavioral and medical needs of animals confiscated and held in cruelty cases,” stated Dr. Erin Doyle, ARl’s Lead Veterinarian. “Any measure that helps to provide resources for their care or expedites placement of these animals into stable homes will be greatly beneficial.”

As the new Legislative Session gets underway, the Animal Rescue League of Boston will continue its mission to be a champion for animals in need by collaborating with advocacy colleagues and working with law makers to further strengthen animal protection laws in Massachusetts.


Recent Animal Cruelty Case Reflects Commitment, Highlights Need for Change

Judge Cites Link Between Animal Cruelty and Other Forms of Violence

On January 6, 2017, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, in collaboration with the Salem and Peabody Police Departments, assisted in the execution of a search warrant that landed an alleged animal abuser in jail on a charge of animal cruelty, and removed a defenseless 11-month-old Pit Bull-type dog from his possession.
The investigation of alleged abuse by 31-year-old Salem resident John Leger was reported by witnesses in November, and ultimately involved both Salem and Peabody Police Departments and ARL.

Leger was arraigned on January 9, 2017 at Peabody District Court, and was formally charged with one count of animal cruelty. The district court judge required the posting of a $25,000 cash bond, and the alleged abuser was instructed to have no contact with any witnesses connected to the case, and was barred from any possession, custody and control of animals and cannot reside with any animal while the case is pending. The details contained in the criminal complaint are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case encompasses elements that mirror ARL’s continuously evolving mission to combat animal abuse.

  • The first issue is consideration of the link between animal abuse and other forms of violence. In 2014, the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force was created to consider future protections for animals and ways to strengthen Massachusetts’ cruelty laws. ARL President Mary Nee was a member of the Task Force and she and others explored a number of areas including the link between animal cruelty and other forms of violence and making courts and law enforcement aware of this connection. According to a Massachusetts study, 70 percent of people who committed crimes against animals had also been involved in other violent crimes, and were also five times more likely to commit a violent act against another person. During the suspect’s arraignment, District Court Judge Richard Mori did make note of the existence of the link between animal abuse and other violent crimes before he set conditions of release.
  • The second issue involves the release of a defendant charged with animal cruelty. The court was required to set conditions of release because animal cruelty is not listed as one of the crimes which permits a finding of “dangerousness” and which would permit holding the defendant without bail. ARL, along with other members of the Task Force, is working on legislation which would add the charges of animal cruelty to those which can be used to find that a person charged with animal cruelty may present a risk of danger to the community.

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department works tirelessly and is committed to protecting animals in Massachusetts from all cases of neglect and abuse. ARL would like to commend the Salem and Peabody Police Departments, as well as the Essex County District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit, for making animal cruelty cases a priority.

IF YOU SEE ABUSE–REPORT IT
Often times, the initial step in animal cruelty cases are a report by a witness. As in the aforementioned case, witnesses who step forward and report are crucial. It is important to remind everyone concerned with animal welfare that if you see something, say something.

Immediately report an incident to your city/town animal control officer, or local police department. Members of the public and other agencies can also report suspected animal abuse to ARL’s Law Enforcement Department at (617) 226-5610 or cruelty@arlboston.org.


Top 5 Wins in Animal Advocacy

Massachusetts continues to be a leader in animal welfare in 2016

2016 was a historic year for advancing important animal advocacy laws in our state. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) worked tirelessly alongside local and national organizations to help move the needle when it came to the prevention of animal suffering, cruelty, and neglect across Massachusetts.

“There are many things to celebrate this year with respect to animal welfare and protection,” says Nadine Pellegrini, ARL’s Director of Advocacy. “Massachusetts residents should take great pride in being part of a historic ballot initiative which will go a long way in improving the lives of farm animals here and elsewhere. And, we now have a strong law in place to protect animals in vehicles as well as animals who are tethered or housed outdoors.”

Today we celebrate the top 5 wins in animal advocacy in 2016. Click the links below to learn more about each piece of legislation.

Pets in hot cars demo at the State House

1. “Too Hot for Spot” becomes law (see pg. 8) – As of November 16, 2016, S.2369, An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death prohibits pet owners from confining any animal in a motor vehicle when extreme heat or cold could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal. This new law also amends the anti-tethering statute and allows law enforcement officers from ARL and MSPCA to issue citations to violators.

Pig

2. Massachusetts residents vote YES to stop farm animal cruelty  On election night, November 9, 2016, 77.7% of Bay State residents voted yes on ballot Question 3, The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals. This groundbreaking ballot question was a great first step toward farm 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 MA families from substandard and unsafe food products.

Cat at the ARL's Boston Adoption Center

3. Rabies quarantine period reduced for shelter animals – On October 10, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker and key members of his administration gathered at ARL’s Boston shelter to discuss a change in regulation to the rabies quarantine period for shelter animals. Under the new law, the quarantine period has been reduced from six to four months, allowing cats and dogs to find loving homes sooner. This decision will improve the lives of animals in need and increase space and flexibility for animal shelters like the ARL.

Rat at ARL's Boston Adoption Center

4. Animal Cruelty & Protection Task Force Report completed (see pg 9) – On July 12, 2016, the Task Force Findings and Recommendations Report was voted on and approved by members of the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force, including ARL’s President Mary Nee. The Task Force was created after the passage of S.2345, An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (“PAWS”) in 2014, a result of the “Puppy Doe” case. For the 19 months following the passage of this new legislation, the Task Force addressed topics; such as current structure and use of anti-cruelty laws, education, housing, training, seizure of animals, and the creation of an animal abuse registry. Click here to read the full Task Force Findings and Recommendations Report.

Dog outside on a chain

5. Conviction upheld for inhumane confinement and chaining of dogs – In June 2016, a Cape Cod woman’s convictions for violating state law by confining her two dogs in a condemned home and a fenced-in yard, was upheld by the MA Appeals Court. The woman challenged her convictions claiming 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 lawThe dogs had been left alone virtually all day every day for over a year with only intermittent contact with friends. Both dogs were both tick-infested and described as “matted”, “ravaged” and “traumatized.”


Let’s help even more animals in 2017 – together!

While we have much to celebrate from this year, Nadine reminds us that, “There is still so much to do. We must and will continue to advocate for better protection for companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife.”

Only because of YOUR support is ARL able to carry on its important work. Make a gift today to ensure that ARL can continue to prevent animal suffering, cruelty, and neglect across Massachusetts in 2017 and beyond.

Click the red button below to…

HELP ANIMALS NOW


Court Prohibits Owner of Westport Property Farm

Update:

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.


Hot off the Press: Our Four-Footed Friends

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

ARL-Magazine-fall2016-Magazine-cover-400x520

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 arlboston.org 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!


One New Law – Three New Ways to Protect Pets

Combination of Animal Welfare Measures Triples Protection

At a ceremony at the State House on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, Governor Baker signed S.2369, An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death, into law. The law will take effect on November 17, 2016.

Watch a snippet of the State House ceremony

Did you know that S.2369 actually is 3 bills in one? The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is thrilled because the new law provides protection for pets in several ways! While there has been a great deal of attention –and rightly so– on the pets in vehicles portion of the bill, the ARL is pretty excited about the other provisions as well.

“With the signing of this bill, animals in Massachusetts will be safer. The need to enact S.2369 was met with widespread support throughout the House and Senate and now by the Governor’s office,” said Mary Nee, president of the ARL.

Having 3 separate animal welfare measures enacted helps keep Massachusetts at the forefront of animal protection…

s.23691. Pets in vehicles, a new legal tool in place

The ARL’s “Too Hot for Spot” campaign is aimed at educating pet owners on the dangers of leaving a pet in a vehicle and it certainly underscored the need for this measure.

The new bill now allows first responders, such as animal control officers, law enforcement officers, and police officials, and firefighters, to intervene early and rescue a pet from a hot car –or from a car in extreme cold weather– before the pet is suffering.

Additionally, there’s a new consequence for people who put their pets in harm’s way by leaving them in cars, separate and apart from animal cruelty. People who violate the law will be given tickets, and the fines increase if they are repeat offenders.

Citizens may also help rescue pets left in vehicles, but only under limited conditions that require them to first call 911 and make reasonable efforts to find the owner. If the pet is taken from the vehicle, the rescuer must stay with the pet at the scene until law enforcement personnel arrive at the scene.

Dog tethered2. Tethering of dogs, now reduced to 5 hour time limit

The new bill updates a law already in place, which didn’t seem to be working as well as it should have been. Under the old law, a dog could be tethered (tied or chained up) for up to 24 hours. The law did not prohibit tethering outside in terrible weather.

The new law now limits the time of tethering outside to up to 5 hours. Additionally, a dog cannot be tethered between the hours of 10PM and 6AM, or outdoors when a weather advisory, warning, or watch has been issued.

 

s.23693. The ARL and MSPCA can further help enforce the law

The new bill gives the ARL’s and MSPCA’s law enforcement officers the ability to rescue animals that are confined under “cruel conditions”, which includes exposure to excessive animal waste, garbage, dirty water, noxious odors, and other potentially dangerous circumstances.

Under the new law, the ARL and MSPCA will now be able to enforce the prohibitions under this section. They are also permitted to write citations to violators if an animal control officer is unavailable or is unable to respond to the scene.

“We are grateful that first responders and citizens can protect the well-being of animals,” says Mary Nee. “We are also excited that our law enforcement officers now have the ability to enforce the law and stop animals from living in, and being exposed to, cruel and inhumane conditions.”

KNOW THE LAW… Click here to read the details of S.2369, An Act to Prevent Animal Cruelty and Death.

THANK YOU to Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Mark Montigny, Rep. Lori Ehrlich, Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Rep. David Rogers, Rep. Louis Kafka, Senator Pat Jehlen, Senator Barbara L’Italien, Rep. Speliotis, and the many other legislators for their commitment to helping animals across the Commonwealth and for taking action to prevent animal suffering and death!

SPECIAL THANKS to the MSPCA and HSUS for their partnership on getting this important piece of legislation passed for animals in Massachusetts!

s.2369

Rep. Lori Ehrlich takes the podium.

s.2369

This adorable pup couldn’t help posing for the camera!

s.2369

Left to Right: Rep. Lori Ehrlich, Senator Mark Montigny, and Senator Tarr.

 


ARL Seeks Public’s Help in Finding Animal Cruelty Suspects

Umbrella Cockatoo Recovering Well After Being Severely Neglected

DO YOU RECOGNIZE THIS BIRD? Contact ARL’s Law Enforcement, (617) 226-5610

On July 25th, 2016, a concerned citizen noticed something odd with the trash put out around Norfolk Street in Dorchester, Massachusetts; in the middle of the garbage to be collected was a birdcage filled with maggots and cockroaches– and an Umbrella Cockatoo.

umbrella cockatoo

Mayfield, the Umbrella Cockatoo found in the trash, is recovering well at the ARL after emergency surgery.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue services quickly responded to the call to help the discarded bird.

When found, the Cockatoo, now named “Mayfield”, was emaciated and had a serious medical condition that required emergency surgery. Luckily, she is now recovering at the ARL and doing well enough to soon be able to find a loving home!

Sadly, Mayfield is not the first animal we’ve seen who was abandoned and left to die in the trash or on the streets. We understand that tough economic conditions also affect pets, but let’s get the word out that the last resort is not throwing your pet away.

Learn the 7 warning signs of animal cruelty

There are many organizations like the ARL, agencies, and individuals, who can be a dependable resource for families who need help caring for their pet. There are always options, but throwing an animal away is not one of them.

The ARL needs your help in identifying Mayfield’s owners…

The person(s) responsible for neglecting and cruelly abandoning this lovely bird needs to be held accountable for their actions. Failure to provide proper food, drink, shelter, and a sanitary environment and willful abandonment of an animal are felony violations of Massachusetts’s anti-cruelty laws. A person convicted of these crimes could receive a prison sentence of up to 7 years.

If you recognize Mayfield or have any information regarding her case, please contact the ARL’s Law Enforcement Department at (617) 226-5610.