Category: Blog
ARL Law Enforcement Assisting Malden PD in Abandoned Dog Case

Abandoned dog with 13-pound tumor found tied to pole in park

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department is assisting Malden Police and Animal Control in a case of an abandoned dog, where the animal required immediate medical attention, but is thankfully on the road to recovery.

The 5-to-7-year-old Mastiff, now named Big Momma, was found tied to a pole in Trafton Park on a cold and wet night in mid-December 2023.

She was found by a Good Samaritan who discovered the animal after hearing whimpering, then brought the scared, cold, and hungry dog to the Malden Police Department.

Big Momma had a very large mass on her underbelly, and Malden Animal Control Officer Kevin Alkins took steps to get the dog immediate veterinary care at the Blue Pearl Vet Hospital in Charlestown.

The 13-pound tumor was removed and testing revealed the mass to be benign.

Big Momma then went into the care of Bill Bowdridge, owner of Big Daddy Doggie Daycare in Malden, to begin her recovery process.

This is being considered a case of animal neglect and abandonment, and ARL Law Enforcement and Malden Police are asking anyone with information on where this dog may have come from to come forward.

The public can contact ARL Law Enforcement by calling (617) 426-9170 x110 or emailing cruelty@arlboston.org, or Malden Police at (781) 397-7171 with any pertinent information regarding this case.

Abandonment Never an Option

ARL understands that an animal with a medical condition may be a frightening or costly situation, however, the organization reminds the public that abandoning an animal is never an option.

When an animal is left to fend for themselves, they become vulnerable to many dangers that may result in illness, injury or even death.

There are resources available to pet owners, and ARL recommends pet owners to reach out to their local animal control or animal welfare organization to see what assistance or options are available.

ARL Hosts Suffolk County District Attorney for Announcement of Animal Cruelty Task Force

Task force created to tackle a rise in animal cruelty cases

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was honored to host the Suffolk County District Attorney, state and local law enforcement officers, and other animal welfare groups for the announcement of the creation of an animal cruelty task force, which aims to coordinate law enforcement efforts to fight animal cruelty.

It is the first such task force in the county.

The announcement was made at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden was stern and steadfast in his office’s commitment to assisting law enforcement in confronting animal cruelty head-on.

“This task force will be designed to address our ability to more effectively investigate animal cruelty cases, to make sure that we’re employing intervention and prevention strategies to prevent animal cruelty cases from happening in the first place, and to hold people accountable for instances of animal cruelty whenever necessary,” DA Hayden stated.

ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino also addressed the throng of media in attendance, praising the creation of the task force, which will create a more streamlined investigative approach among the law enforcement community and preventing animal cruelty before it starts.

“It’s really about providing the resources we already have to keep pets and people together in their homes, that is critical,” stated Dr. Schettino. “We don’t want to take pets from people.”

Cruelty cases are on the rise, as in the last five years alone, ARL has received more than 4,200 calls of suspected animal cruelty, and has helped nearly 12,000 animals.

Along with improving collaborative law enforcement animal cruelty investigation, the task force will also identify and target legislation that will protect animals not just in Suffolk County, but throughout the state.

“We want people to know that we are working together, that we are unified, that we are collaborating and that we are working together in the best interest of obviously pets and animals that have been neglected, but also for society as a whole,” Hayden said.

ARL is thrilled and honored to be a part of this newly formed task force, and look forward to implementing measures to prevent animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse, but to also hold those accountable who harm and jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of an animal.

Press Release: Senate Passes Legislation Prohibiting Cat Declawing in Massachusetts

Would become third state in nation to outlaw declawing procedure

This week, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed legislation that would prohibit declawing, tendonectomy, and similar procedures from being performed on cats in Massachusetts, except in cases of medical necessity to address a condition that jeopardizes a cat’s health — as determined by a licensed veterinarian.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Advocacy Department has adamantly lobbied support for the proposal and is thrilled the measure has passed its first hurdle.

“Declawing of cats does not improve the human-animal bond and often results in serious medial and behavioral problems,” said ARL Director of Advocacy Ally Blanck. “Banning this cruel practice, which is in essence amputation, will prevent animals in Massachusetts from needless pain and suffering.”

Declawing a cat involves amputating the first bone on each toe, and tendonectomies involve cutting a tendon in each toe that controls the extension of claws.

Cats who have had their claws removed are more likely to experience paw pain, back pain, infection, tissue death, and could be unable to use their legs properly.

They are also more likely to incur nerve damage and bone spurs as a result of claw regrowth and the procedure is commonly performed for human convenience and to prevent damage to furniture, rather than medical necessity.

“The cats of Massachusetts are our beloved friends, and thousands of our Commonwealth’s residents return home from work or school every day looking forward to a warm purr that greets them at the door,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Today, the Senate acted to treat our feline friends as we would any friend—with the kindness and respect to which they are entitled—by passing legislation to outlaw the outdated and cruel procedure of declawing. As we pass today’s legislation, I am thankful to Senator Montigny for sponsoring the bill, Chair Rodrigues and Chair Cronin for their support, and the countless advocates who have brought this issue to the forefront.”

“I’m pleased this compassionate animal protection bill has been passed by the full Senate. Unnecessary declawing of cats in the Commonwealth has no place in our society and should rightfully be constituted as animal abuse. I would like to thank Senator Montigny and the animal rights activists who were largely responsible for this commonsense legislation,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

“Declawing cats is a practice we need to leave in the past,” said Senator John J. Cronin (D-Fitchburg), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues and all of the advocates who made this legislation possible.”

“Declawing is an abhorrent practice that most veterinarians view as inhumane,” said Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), a longtime legislative leader for the humane treatment of animals. “But it is also a procedure that is widely misunderstood and requested by owners.  By passing this legislation, veterinarians will no longer have to weigh the choice knowing that if they don’t provide the procedure an owner is likely to just look for someone who will.  This is another step in my commitment to protect animals in the Commonwealth.  As a state we have done far too little to punish heartless abusers and to push back against a weak court system that has too often failed to hold them accountable.  There are too many people who have committed horrendous abuses to animals that have been unpunished and are walking free to continue to do harm.”

S.2552—An Act prohibiting inhumane feline declawing—would only permit licensed veterinarians to declaw a cat if they determine it is medically necessary. Veterinarians who violate the conditions for performing a declawing may be subject to disciplinary action by their licensure board.

Under this legislation, the civil penalty for violating this prohibition is $1,000 for the first offense, $1,500 for a second offense, and $2,500 for a third or subsequent offense.

If passed into law, Massachusetts would join New York and Maryland as the third state to have enacted statewide bans on declawing.

Additionally, more than a dozen U.S. cities have banned the practice and dozens of countries ban it or consider it illegal.

Get Involved

The bill will now go to the Massachusetts House, and ARL urges animal advocates to contact their state representatives and ask for their support of this measure to further protect cats in Massachusetts.

Find your State Representative here (https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator)

Please visit ARL’s Advocacy page to learn more about the organization’s advocacy efforts and learn more about how you can get involved in the legislative process!

ARL Provides Cat with Severely Fractured Leg Emergency Surgery

Cat surrendered due to cost of care for fractured leg

A 10-month-old female Ragdoll cat is recovering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after receiving an emergency amputation surgery due to a severely fractured leg.

The cat, named Winter, was recently surrendered to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center after breaking the leg in a fall in her former home, and unfortunately, the financial estimates to treat the injury were too great for her former family.

Upon intake at ARL, the cat underwent a thorough veterinary exam, including x-rays.

The images revealed a significant femoral fracture, and the damage was too extensive to save the leg.

Along with amputating the fractured leg, ARL veterinarians also spayed the animal, which revealed another issue for the young cat.

Winter was born with a partially formed uterus and was also missing a kidney.

The partially formed uterus and associated ovary were removed during the spay and will not have any impact on her future health.

ARL suggests that Winter’s new family consult with her primary veterinarian regarding living with one kidney, so her kidney function can be monitored as she ages – but it is expected that Winter will enjoy a normal quality of life.

Winter is not only a beautiful cat, but has also displayed a friendly, loving and playful personality, becoming an instant favorite among ARL staff and volunteers — she will certainly make a wonderful pet once she finds her new home.

The cat continues to recover in foster care and is not currently available for adoption, but it’s expected that she will become available in the coming weeks.

ARL understands the cost of veterinary care, particularly in an emergency situation can be shockingly expensive, and suggests any pet owner facing financial difficulties due to pet care to contact ARL.

Winter is Here!

ARL receiving reports of animals being kept out in the winter cold

Although winter thus far has been relatively mild, we have seen plenty of days and nights with temperatures below the freezing mark, and our first winter storm is also on the horizon.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has already received a number of calls from concerned citizens regarding animals being left out in the cold, and wants to remind the public when the mercury dips there are laws in place to protect animals, including the prohibition of excessive tethering.

According to Massachusetts General Law Ch. 140, Section 174E, Subsection D:

A person shall not leave a dog outside when a weather advisory, warning or watch is issued by a local, state or federal authority or when outside environmental conditions including, but not limited to, extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or hail pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of the dog based on the dog’s breed, age or physical condition, unless the tethering is not for more than 15 minutes.

Under this law, any law enforcement officer, including special law enforcement officers with ARL, has the authority to issue citations or warnings for owners who do not comply: $50 first offense, $100 second offense, $300 and possible loss of ownership with a third or subsequent offenses.

Winter is here, and it’s up to us to protect our pets, and also include them in any winter storm preparations.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind to keep animals safe:

  1. Prepare your dog for the elements. If you have a longer coat dog, let it grow out for the winter; for shorter coat dogs, sweaters, coats and booties can go a long way to protect your pooch.
  2. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Chemicals used to treat sidewalks can irritate your dog’s paws, and can be poisonous if ingested. When coming in from the cold, clean and dry your dog’s stomach to keep them healthy!
  3. Keep outdoor trips quick. Bathroom breaks or walks, keep it short and sweet and keep your pets indoors as much as possible.
  4. Never leave your dog alone in a cold car. Temperatures inside a car can plummet when the engine is turned off. Just like it’s illegal in Massachusetts to leave an animal in a hot car, it’s also illegal to leave an animal in a car during extreme cold. When going out, leave your animals at home.
  5. Pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable.
  6. Check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.

Bottom line, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pet to be outside.

Overweight Pig Looking for New Home to Start 2024

Overweight pig has been in Care of ARL since October

A four-year-old overweight pig currently in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is looking to kick off the New Year on the right hoof by finding her permanent home.

The young potbelly pig came to ARL approximately 30-35 pounds overweight, and with weight-related mobility and emotional issues, but has made tremendous strides in the past two months.

The pig, named Nala, was surrendered to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center in October, when her owner could no longer care for her.

Nala originally came from a cruelty case in Ohio as a piglet, and was an indoor/outdoor pig in her previous home.

Due to her weight gain, Nala was uncomfortable upon her arrival at ARL, and had limited mobility.

Her discomfort also impacted her behavior and she was closed off and did not want contact initially.

However, as she began to lose weight, her mobility improved, as did her behavior.

A slimmed down Nala can now be seen moving freely throughout her paddock and she has also begun welcoming interaction, allowing pets and showing off her sweet and tender side.

While she has lost some weight, her new owner will need to help Nala continue her weight-loss journey, but ARL feels she is now physically and emotionally ready to find her forever home — just in time for the New Year!

Help an Animal Like Nala

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Nala get everything they deserve this holiday season. 

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes. 

From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues, to veterinary care, enrichment and  behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible. 

2,839+ animals in need have already found homes this year. Will you make a year-end gift to help one more? 

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Neonatal Kittens Rescued in October Find Homes for the Holidays

Neonatal kittens rescued when mom was injured and unable to provide care

Rescued as a trio of neonatal kittens in October by the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) have completed a remarkable transformation by finding their forever homes just in time for the holidays.

In October, the kittens were discovered in Fall River by a concerned resident who noticed the mother cat was unable to care for the kittens due to severe wounds.

At just 4-weeks-old at the time, the kittens were in an incredibly vulnerable situation, which could’ve been life-threatening without intervention.

ARL’s Field Services routinely works in the Fall River area, an area with countless community cats, and immediately responded when receiving the call about these three kittens.

The kittens and the mom were trapped and transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, where they immediately received veterinary care.

The kittens were filthy, and suffering from upper respiratory infections.

The trio received medication for the infections and were placed into foster care so they could be constantly monitored.

The mom cat, now named Kiki, was suffering from multiple puncture wounds, and was also underweight.

The kittens rebounded rather quickly, and once they hit the right age, they were spay/neutered and recently found their forever homes.

For Kiki, because she had wounds of unknown origin, she continues a state-mandated 4-month quarantine with ARL, but she will become available for adoption in early 2024.

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with staff dedicated to helping community cats, which can be found in any city or town in Massachusetts, and it’s estimated that there are 700,000 community cats living throughout the Commonwealth, 70,000 in Boston alone.

Community cats face many challenges living outdoors. Without proper shelter and care, they are at risk of illness and injury.

Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters and continue the cycle of large colonies of unowned cats.

ARL’s Field Services Agents will respond to the call of residents who report a colony of cats, investigating the colony to determine the number of cats and kittens residing in that area, the cats’ overall health status, and whether or not a local resident is feeding them regularly and can continue.

After the initial assessment, a TNR (Trap-Neuter- Return) plan is formulated for that particular colony.

TNR is one of the most humane and effective ways to stop the cycle of homelessness among cats.

Spay and neuter surgeries are low risk and proven to improve the safety and health of these cats as well as the community as a whole.

The plan also includes vaccines, and whether each cat will be returned to the colony, returned to their owner if microchipped, or admitted to an ARL shelter to be put up for adoption if they are friendly.

Helping Homeless Animals in Need

For a homeless animal or at-risk pet, your kindness can change their whole life.  

 Your support is a powerful source of hope for the animals we serve, as it will ensure that we are able to provide all animals in our care with the level of compassion and love they deserve.  

 Will you make a gift to help animals experience kindness and joy this holiday season?

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Stray Dog Hit by Car Recovering at ARL

Stray dog suffered numerous injuries, including fractured pelvis

A stray dog is recovering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after he was recently struck by a car in Boston and suffered a broken pelvis, among other injuries.

Bingo, a one-year-old Border Collie mix, was found at the intersection of American Legion Highway and Blue Hill Avenue in the early morning hours of November 27 by Boston Animal Control, who immediately transported him to an emergency veterinary clinic to assess his injuries.

Once the dog was stabilized, he was transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for further treatment and care.

The injuries this dog sustained are consistent with being hit by a car.

Along with a broken pelvis, Bingo suffered a number of lacerations requiring stitches, a chest x-ray revealed moderate to severe lung bruising and a mild pneumothorax.

Bingo is on the road to recovery and will require strict crate rest and short leash walks for the next month or so as his injuries heal.

Despite his condition, Bingo is incredibly friendly and outgoing and while he is not available for adoption right now, ARL is looking forward to finding Bingo the home he deserves in early 2024.

Make a Difference

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Bingo get everything they deserve this holiday season. 

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes. 

From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues to veterinary care, enrichment, and behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible. 

2,839+ animals in need have already found homes this year.

Will you make a year-end gift to help one more?

donate button  

ARL Caring for Cat Suffering from Extensive Burns

Second/third-degree burns cover more than 50 percent of cat’s body

A one-year-old female cat found as a stray in Oxford, MA, is facing months of painful treatment and rehabilitation due to second and third-degree burns covering more than half her body, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) veterinary staff is working diligently to save her life and give her the second chance that she deserves.

The cat, now named Era, was found in a work shed in Oxford, MA, and once the extent of her injuries was realized, Oxford Animal Control contacted ARL for assistance and the cat was transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for treatment.

ARL’s veterinary team has assessed that second and third-degree burns cover approximately 55 percent of her body, and treatment has consisted of pain management and twice-weekly wound debridement involving removing dead skin and exposing the new skin underneath to promote healing.

The procedures are intensive and painful, and Era is at the beginning of a very long road to recovery.

At this juncture Era’s condition is guarded, but cautiously optimistic.

It is currently unknown what caused the burns and whether it was an intentional act, but ARL’s primary focus at this time is doing everything possible to save this animal’s life.

Era will continue to have twice-weekly debridement procedures, and will eventually be placed in foster care to give her a quiet and calm environment to further help in the healing process.

Help the Healing

ARL is asking the public for support in helping Era and animals like her.

The cost of her care is roughly $1,000-1,500 per week and at this time it is unknown how long her treatments will be necessary, but it’s anticipated that it will likely be several months.

ARL is committed to giving Era her best chance at life, and anyone interested in donating can visit support.arlboston.org/Era.

Former Severely Emaciated Dog Ready to Find Forever Home

Emaciated Dog gained 22 pounds in foster care

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is thrilled to announce that a now formerly severely emaciated dog that was found as a stray in August has reached a healthy weight and is now ready to find his new home — just in time for the holidays.

The one-year-old dog, now named Dobby, was reportedly found as a stray in the area of Franklin Park in Dorchester in mid-August, and was brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for care.

Upon arrival at ARL, he weighed just 37 pounds, scoring a 1 out of 9 on the body condition score chart which represents the highest level of emaciation with ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance, no discernible body fat and obvious loss of muscle mass.

Additionally, Dobby’s fur was urine-stained, presented with mild dental disease, and he also had a number of pressure sores, indicating that he had been kept confined to a small space.

Dobby went to foster care and placed on a strict refeeding plan to ensure safe and slow weight gain.

Over the past several months he has put on 22 pounds and is now at a stable enough weight to be made available for adoption!

Despite everything he has gone through, Dobby has defined resilience and strength and is a shining example of the work that ARL does every day of the year to help animals in need.

Dobby’s has won the hearts of so many at ARL with his sweet and loving demeanor and is sure to be an amazing pet.

See Dobby’s profile on ARL’s adoptable animals page!

Dobby’s case remains an ongoing investigation by ARL’s Law Enforcement Department.

You can give animals like Dobby the greatest gift of all: hope.

When Dobby arrived, he was so thin you could count his ribs. His fur was stained and he was covered in sores, signs he was likely confined to a small space for a long time.

Dobby’s worst days may be behind him, but he is still counting on you to help him find a home of his own!

Your donation today can make sure animals like him have everything the need to find a home for the holidays!