Category: Blog
ARL Spay Waggin’ Visits Martha’s Vineyard

ARL Spay Waggin’® provides spay/neuter surgeries, rabies vaccinations

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to provide a number of much-needed services for pet owners within the island community.

During the day-long trip, ARL spayed or neutered nearly two dozen pets, and also participated in a rabies vaccination clinic in collaboration with Tisbury Animal Control that was able to vaccinate 23 animals.

This is ARL’s first trip to Martha’s Vineyard in several years, and given the need on the island, ARL does plan on making further trips to provide a low-cost spay/neuter option for pet owners.

“Being an island community, pet services are limited and ARL is committed to assisting more pet owners in the coming years by partnering with agencies on the island to bring services directly where they’re needed,” stated Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Senior Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services.

About ARL’s Spay Waggin’

If getting your pet spayed or neutered is cost-prohibitive, ARL can help.

The Spay Waggin’ offers low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter services for Boston, the South Shore, and Cape Cod and the Islands with rotating and convenient monthly stops.

Since first hitting the road in 2000, more than 75,000 spay/neuter surgeries have been performed on the mobile surgical unit.

The spay package for dogs or cats includes a brief veterinary exam, spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations, and a nail trim.

The Spay Waggin’ operates by appointment only, and anyone looking to schedule an appointment can do so online and can call 877-590-SPAY (7729) or email spaywaggin@arlboston.org with any questions.

Transport Puppy with Gunshot Wound Seeking New Home

Puppy suffered gunshot wound at former home in Mississippi

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is ready to find a special home for a puppy transported from a shelter in Mississippi who is lucky to be alive after suffering a gunshot wound at his former home and ready for his next chapter.

Biscuit, a 6-month-old male Lab-mix, was transported to ARL as part of the organization’s partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Relocation Program, where animals are transferred from overcrowded shelters to organizations that have the capacity to take in the animals and find them permanent homes.

Biscuit’s wound was certainly noticeable, but because is was unknown how the wound happened, he was facing a state-mandated four-month quarantine for a wound of unknown origin.

Given his age, a four-month quarantine would have stunted his ability to properly socialize with other animals, so ARL shelter staff went to work to see if it was possible to confirm how he was wounded.

The source shelter in Mississippi confirmed that Biscuit’s wound was the result of a gunshot.

His former owner brought the puppy to the shelter for his safety, saying that their neighbor was discharging a firearm at the property, and that a bullet had grazed the puppy’s head.

Biscuit is lucky to be alive, however, he was likely traumatized by the event.

While friendly and playful, the puppy is very nervous with new people and situations.

He will make for a wonderful pet and his new family will need to exercise patience with Biscuit to help him work through the trauma, let him know he’s safe, and take the steps necessary to help him become a well-mannered young adult dog.

Biscuit is currently available for adoption at ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Trio of Pug Puppies at ARL Through Community-Based Program

ARL’s community-based Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program provides care for parent pets and offspring

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is ready to find homes for a trio of 5-month-old Pug puppies that came to the organization through an innovative community-based program aimed to promote spay/neuter and assist pets as well as the people who care for them.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters is a community-based program established in 2016, and provides complimentary assistance to local families and their pets in the event of an unplanned or unwanted litter.

The program, available at all three ARL locations, provides free spay/neuter services and vaccinations for mother/father cats or dogs.

After surgery, the mother/father pair or individual are returned to their owner. ARL also waives surrender fees for the parent(s) litter of puppies or kittens.

The offspring are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and once eligible, are placed up for adoption.

Aside from offsetting the cost of a spay/neuter surgery, pet owners can be assured their pets will greatly benefit from the surgery, as spaying female dogs and cats helps prevent uterine infection and reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Neutering males can eliminate their risk of testicular cancer and spay/neuter can also help in reducing spraying, wandering and other behavioral concerns.

The three pug puppies, which include two females and a male, still need to undergo spay/neuter surgery, but will be available for adoption very soon.

Anyone in the situation of having an unplanned or unwanted litter of puppies or kittens are urged to contact ARL, and can learn more about Healthy Moms, Happy Litters by contacting ARL’s Boston, Dedham, or Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

Future Focus: Strategic Plan Goal 1

Provide high-quality care in our Animal Care and Adoption Centers


Provide animals with the highest standards of care to help them heal and thrive in their new homes.

Vision in Action

When Winter arrived at ARL, she was suffering from a broken leg. Our veterinary team assessed her injury and came up with a treatment plan based on her unique needs. The plan included amputation because the fracture was beyond repair. During the procedure, it was discovered that she was also missing a kidney!

Winter, 10-month-old female Ragdoll cat sitting. A small photo of an x-ray is shown in the corner.

After her surgery, she faced a long road ahead to recovery. She needed round-the-clock care, including specialized veterinary treatment and other supplies to keep her stable and comfortable.

Winter got everything she needed to heal and thrive in her new home.

Learn more about ARL’s 2024-2028 Strategic Plan for the Future.


ARL Caring for Injured, Abandoned Rabbits

Abandoned rabbits found Easter weekend

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for four injured, and abandoned rabbits that were found in a Northborough, MA, neighborhood on Easter weekend.

The rabbits, all estimated to be about a year old, were discovered on Easter weekend on Shady Lane in Northborough, MA, and initially taken in by a wildlife rehabilitator.

Northborough Animal Control contacted ARL seeking assistance with the animals, and the four rabbits were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Several of the rabbits were found with healing wounds, and while it’s unknown how the rabbits ended up on their own, ARL reminds the public that abandoning an animal is never an option.

Not only is abandoning an animal in Massachusetts illegal, but it can endanger the lives of the animals involved.

Domesticated animals like these rabbits cannot survive on their own in the wild.

If you are unable to care for an animal, you are urged to contact local animal control or an organization like ARL to facilitate surrender.

ARL understands that pet ownership can be difficult, and all three ARL Animal Care and Adoption Centers offer a compassionate, judgement-free environment to answer any and all questions and ensure that surrender is the best option for both the animals involved and their caretaker.

These rabbits are incredibly friendly and once their stray period is over they will be made available for adoption.

ARL Community Program Hits 4-Year Mark

Community program launched during Covid-19 pandemic, demand steadily increasing

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is marking the 4th anniversary of a community-based program that continues to see increasing demand and was initially launched during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic to help pet owners in Metro Boston facing financial hardship.

Making a delivery.

Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals and Families Everyday), delivers pet food and other essential pet supplies to clients’ homes and partner-supported community housing, and also provides temporary pet shelter for clients who are facing housing instability or imminent homelessness.

Over the past four years, the program has:

  • Made 781,591 pet meals available
  • Assisted 3,277 pets and families
  • Supported 796 pets through 51 community pet wellness events
  • Helped 153 pets with temporary housing

While the pandemic has largely passed, the financial constraints for many pet owners remains and demand for ARL’s community-based programs has increased over time.

ARL is focused on keeping pets in homes and out of shelters, and thanks to these and other initiatives, the number of animals surrendered from the service areas of Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Hyde Park and East Boston have drastically declined over the past few years.

To contact the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. hotline for assistance, please call (857) 350-8730, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To find out if your pet is eligible for temporary housing and for more information, call (617) 426-9170 and dial the extension of the ARL Admissions office nearest you: Boston x140; Dedham x404; Brewster x305.

Press Release: Hanson Man Arrested on Federal Dogfighting Charges

Operation resulted in the seizure of several pit bull-type dogs

Below is a press release provided by the United States Attorney’s Office — District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Hanson man was arrested today for allegedly possessing dogs at his Massachusetts home for participation in a dogfighting venture.

John Murphy, 50, was indicted on nine counts of possessing animals for use in an animal fighting venture, in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Murphy will appear in federal court in Boston at 10:45 a.m. today.

According to the indictment, Murphy possessed numerous items associated with possessing dogs for participation in an animal fighting venture at his residence in Hanson, Mass., including: intravenous infusion equipment; syringes; antibiotics; injectable anabolic steroids; injectable corticosteroids; a skin stapler; forceps; equipment used to train dogs, including a treadmill, a slat mill, a carpet mill, and a flirt pole; dog training and fighting literature; a hanging digital scale used to weigh dogs for matches; written training regimens; break sticks, used to separate fighting dogs; and a breeding stand used to immobilize female dogs during breeding to prevent harm while mating.

The United States also filed a civil forfeiture complaint against 13 pit bull-type dogs, seized in June 2023 from Murphy’s residence and another residence in Townsend, Mass. As alleged in the civil forfeiture complaint, several of the seized dogs had evidence of scarring. The dogs are currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) being cared for by a USMS-contractor. Pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act, animals involved in violations of 7 U.S.C. § 2156 are subject to forfeiture to the United States.

At both locations where the dogs were seized, as alleged in the civil forfeiture complaint, the following items commonly associated with an illegal dogfighting operation were found: training equipment; veterinary supplies; dog fighting literature, DVDs, and/or CD-ROMs; kennels used to house dogs individually;  and break sticks, which dogfighters use to force open a dog’s bite onto another dog’s body, specifically at the termination of a fight or while training.

The civil forfeiture complaint also alleges that Murphy communicated with other dogfighters via Facebook where they discussed the results of dogfights, injuries sustained by fighting dogs, as well as breeding dogs. It is alleged that Murphy also belonged to private dogfighting Facebook groups used to share fight results, buy and sell fighting dogs and exchange information on training and conditioning fighting dogs, among other things.

It is further alleged that Murphy’s Facebook accounts contained a photo of a pit bull-type dog with scarring and discolorations on its head and leg consistent with that of dogfighting, a photo of a pit bull-type dog restrained in a breeding stand, and videos that depicted pit bull-type dogs physically tethered to treadmill-like-devices commonly used to physically condition dogs in preparation for a dogfight. One video allegedly depicted what appears to be live bait placed at the end of the mill to entice the pit bull-type dog to run faster and harder.

To report animal fighting crimes, please contact your local law enforcement or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General complaint hotline at: https://usdaoig.oversight.gov/hotline or 1-800-424-9121.

The charges of possessing animals for use in an animal fighting venture each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Christopher P. Robinson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region; John E. Mawn Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police; and Joseph F. King, Director of the Animal Rescue League of Boston – Law Enforcement Division made the announcement today.

Valuable assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; U.S. Marshals Service; Maine State Police; New Hampshire State Police; Massachusetts Office of the State Auditor; Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and the Hanson, Boston, and Acton Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danial E. Bennett and Kaitlin J. Brown of the Worcester Branch Office and Trial Attorney Matthew T. Morris of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), Environmental Crimes Section, are prosecuting the case. Carol E. Head, Chief of the Asset Recovery Unit for the District of Massachusetts, and Trial Attorney Caitlyn F. Cook of ENRD’s Wildlife and Marine Resources Section are prosecuting the civil forfeiture case.

The details contained in the charging documents and civil forfeiture complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The United States must establish that the dogs are subject to forfeiture by a preponderance of the evidence.

ARL Gives One-Eyed Puppy the Second Chance She Deserves

Puppy given second chance transported from overcrowded shelter in Mississippi

A nine-week-old puppy is getting the second chance of finding the home and the life she deserves thanks to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

Clementine, an adorable female lab-mix puppy, was found along with her sibling as strays in Mississippi, and while healthy overall, a ruptured corneal ulcer may have changed her outcome.

Along with blindness, a corneal rupture causes severe pain and can also lead to infection if untreated.

The best course of action for Clementine was to remove the eye, and after recovering from surgery, this Southern girl is your typical puppy – sweet, playful, energetic and curious.

ARL is a proud partner of the ASPCA’s Animal Relocation Program, which transports animals from overcrowded shelters throughout the country to shelters like ARL who can offer them the chance for finding the forever home they deserve.

Clementine, her sibling, and about 20 other puppies were part of the most recent transport of pups to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, and it certainly didn’t surprise anyone that on the very first day she was available for adoption, she found her forever family.

Ability for Transports

Thanks to the ongoing community-based efforts of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) to partner with human-service organizations, help local animals in need, and assist pet owners to keep pets out of shelters and in homes, ARL is in a wonderful position to assist shelters in other parts of the country that are faced with overcrowding.

ARL receives puppies, young adult dogs, as well as kittens and cats from other areas of the country on the monthly basis, and all of these animals are provided with the utmost compassion and care until they find their permanent homes.

These animals receive thorough veterinary exams and care, behavioral assessment, and all the attention and love they need before going home.

Without ARL, these animals would face an uncertain future, and the organization is proud to be able to give these animals the second chance they deserve!

ARL Rescues Rain-Soaked Stray Cat at Busy Dedham Shopping Center

Stray cat found huddling under parked car

This past weekend, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department rescued a scared, cold, and rain-soaked stray cat found hiding under a car in the parking garage at Legacy Place, a busy shopping center in Dedham.

A shopper spotted the male cat and contacted Dedham Animal Control and ARL, but also tried luring the cat from underneath the car with a can of tuna fish, but while the cat sniffed at the food he did not move from beneath the vehicle.

Oskar taking it easy at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Once on-scene, the ARL Field Services agents also tried luring the cat with food but also had no luck.

The frightened feline remained steadfast by hissing and growling, but when one ARL agent tried to get closer to the animal, the cat darted out from underneath the car, and ran to a lower level of the garage, finding a garbage dumpster to hide behind.

The two ARL agents on-scene blocked all passageways around the dumpster and were able to catch the cat using nets, and once he was secured in a carrier, the animal was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Although clearly scared and agitated, he did allow pets and ravenously ate when presented with food.

The cat, now named Oskar, is estimated to be 2-years-old, did not have a collar, ID tags or a microchip.

And while in overall good health, ARL’s veterinary team did notice a puncture wound on one of his legs.

He is currently on a stray wait and if anyone does recognize the animal, they should contact ARL’s Dedham location at (617) 426-9170 x605.

 If the cat is unclaimed, he will need to undergo a state-mandated 4-month quarantine due to the wound of unknown origin.

About ARL Field Services

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies with equipment and training; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.

2024 – 2028 Strategic Plan for the Future

Our 2024-2028 Strategic Plan reflects our unwavering commitment to helping animals heal and thrive, keeping pets and people together, and protecting animals from cruelty and neglect. It will ensure we can continue to respond to the needs of animals and support a community in which animals are protected, safe, and healthy – in homes and out of shelters.

We acknowledge that we cannot achieve our vision without investing in our most vital resource, our people. We are committed to making ARL a great place to work and volunteer. We are also committed to investing in our facilities, laying the foundation for our future in Boston by rebuilding a state-of-the-art Animal Care & Adoption Center and Veterinary Hospital.

An ARL staff member holding a small black puppy

Our goals are ambitious but with your help, we can amplify our impact for the future!

    • Goal 1 – Provide high-quality care in our Animal Care and Adoption Centers
    • Goal 2 – Support animal health with our professional services
    • Goal 3 – Keep pets and people together
    • Goal 4 – Improve the lives of animals
    • Goal 5– Invest in our people
    • Goal 6 – Invest in our infrastructure

Learn more about ARL’s 2024 – 2028 Strategic Plan for the Future