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Category: Blog
ARL Advocacy Activity on Beacon Hill Intensifies

ARL Advocacy testifies in number of animal protection bills

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Advocacy Department was busy this past week on Beacon Hill, as ARL publicly supported several bills on the organization’s legislative agenda.

The Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources held a hearing on a number of ARL priority bills, including the ban of pet shops, regulation of commercial boarding and training facilities, funding for animal welfare and safety programming, and a ban on the sale of new fur.

Legislative rules allow that every bill get a public hearing, with opportunity for legislators and the public to share their thoughts.

While testimony could only be provided in-person previously, the Legislature now has all hearings hybrid, making it so that people from around the Commonwealth (and the world!) can testify without having to make their way into Boston.

ARL Priorities:

Filed for a number of sessions, this year the pet shop bill reflects the immediate concerns of new pet shops in Massachusetts.

An Act banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in new pet shops (H.826 sponsored by Representatives Natalie M. Higgins, Kimberly N. FergusonS.549 sponsored by Senator O’Connor) takes after the law passed in Maine in 2020, which would prohibit the opening of new pet stores in the Commonwealth.

With the ban on pet stores in New York, Massachusetts could become a haven for these pet stores.

ARL also provided testimony in support of An Act banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet shops (S.550 sponsored by Senator O’Connor).

Across Massachusetts, 13 municipalities have passed local level prohibitions on the sale of dogs and cats, with many municipalities adding additional animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

Animals from pet stores often travel long distances to get to Massachusetts, and can harbor and spread diseases dangerous to people and animals.

Small animals like rabbits are common in shelters, and the sale of them in pet shops has contributed to to a number of abandoned animals over the past few years.

ARL continues to support local level bans as well.

ARL has been supportive of efforts to protect animals at boarding and daycare facilities through increased standards for boarding and training kennels.

Filed again this session, An Act protecting dogs at boarding kennels and daycare facilities (H.385 sponsored by Representative Hannah Kane; S.548 sponsored by Senator Patrick O’Connor) would allow for uniform state standards at these facilities, including around staff to dog ratios, group sizes and supervision, and other important protections.

Currently, the only statewide standard for these facilities is that they are “sanitary and humane”.

Looking for some information on how to vet a facility before you book your pet’s holiday stay? Check out ARL’s Board Safely ™ checklist for what to look for and what questions to ask.

An Act to provide additional funding for animal welfare and safety programming (S.533 sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny) would take fines from animal welfare violations and, instead of them going back into the General Fund, would specifically put them into the Homeless Animal Fund, which provides for funding for spay/neuter, preventative care, and training for animal control officers.

For the second legislative session, the Massachusetts Legislature has considered a ban on all new fur sold in the state.

An Act prohibiting the sale of fur products (H.849 Sponsored by Representatives Jack Patrick Lewis and Josh S. CutlerS.590 sponsored by Senator John Velis).

Aside from the cruelty of fur farming, fur farming has contributed to the spread of diseases such as COVID-19, with outbreaks on mink farms that lead to the culling of millions of animals.

Want to learn more about how to get involved with ARL’s advocacy efforts? Contact advocacy@arlboston.org


A Round of A-paws for our Sponsors!

With the help of our amazing sponsors, we achieved record breaking fundraising at our Paws to Celebrate events in Chatham, Truro, Boston, and Dedham!

Thank you to the following businesses and individuals for their generous support:

 

Leader of the Pack

Best in Show

Top Dogtop dog sponsorships

Top Cat

AAFCPAs

Dedham Savings

The Norfolk Group

Team Guthrie Mabile, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Robert Paul Properties

Arthur & Paula Rabe

Wilson Partners

 

Animal Advocate

Scott Allegretti, DDS

Animal Arts

Bowditch

Busy Paws Pet Supply

Carlson Audio Visual Inc.

IDEXX Laboratories

Helen Kosinski: Certified Soul Level Animal Communicator®

Needham Bank

Northern Business Machines

ProPrint

Rutter Networking Technologies

SpeedPro

TD Bank

Three Fins Coffee Roasters

Veterinary Wellness Center of Provincetown

Wegmans

Doug Zeghibe

 


ARL Alum Found Living Among Cat Colony

Cat from cat colony receives critical surgery upon return to ARL

When a three-year-old cat was recently trapped from a cat colony in Boston, the organization scanned the animal for a microchip, and turns out the cat was adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) when he was just a kitten.

Snapple peeking out of his kennel.

The male cat, now named Snapple, had been seen around the colony for about a year, so it’s likely he was abandoned at some point in his young life and showing off his survival skills, found and integrated with the colony to be with other outdoor cats.

When he was identified as an ARL alum, he was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center where he received a thorough veterinary exam, and while he was slightly underweight, the more pressing issue was entropion – a condition where the upper or lower eyelid is inverted and if left untreated can cause corneal abrasions, severe pain, and in some cases eventual blindness.

Both of Snapple’s lower eyelids were inverted, and ARL’s shelter medicine team performed a surgical procedure to correct the issue, saving the cat a life of pain and possible blindness.

Going Home

With the surgery completed and having a few days to recover, the next step for Snapple was to find the permanent and loving home he deserved.

Despite spending an unknown amount of time on his own in the outdoors, Snapple showed to be an incredibly social cat, often leaping into the arms of anyone interacting with him in his kennel.

To no ones surprise, when Snapple was made available for adoption, he quickly found his new home and has already settled in and is thriving with his new family!

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

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.

As part of ARL’s Community Cat Program, the organization’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.


ARL Saves Neonatal Kittens After Mom Cat Injured

Neonatal kittens requiring constant monitoring as mom cat recovers

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for three neonatal kittens and their mother, this after recently being discovered in Fall River, MA, by a concerned resident who noticed the mother cat was unable to care for the kittens due to severe wounds.

Community cats 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.

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

Due to her wounds, the mom cat was unable to care for her kittens, which drastically increased the urgency.

At just 4-weeks-old, the kittens would’ve been in grave danger without intervention and care.

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

The kittens were suffering from upper respiratory infections and given medication to get the infections under control.

Due to their age, the kittens were placed into foster care so they could be constantly monitored.

Despite their harrowing early-life experience, the kittens are doing well and will be made available for adoption sometime in November.

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

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.

As part of ARL’s Community Cat Program, the organization’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.


ARL Advocates for Several Bills at MA State House

State House testimony in favor of bills to establish boarding kennel regulations; maintain stable housing for pet families in economic crisis

The Massachusetts State House saw a flurry of activity this past month, as the State Legislature wrapped up the month of September by holding hearings on a number of bills to help animals in the Commonwealth, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Advocacy team was at the forefront of testimony to encourage legislators to take action on several bills to further protect animals in the Commonwealth.

Ollie’s Law

Ollie’s Law Coalition at the MA State House.

The Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government held a hearing on several animal related bills, including Ollie’s Law filed by Representative Brian Ashe (H.2019) and Senator Mark Montigny (S.1309).

ARL testified in support of this crucial legislation, which would provide minimum standards for kennels across the Commonwealth, including pet boarding and daycare facilities and breeders.

ARL was joined in testimony in support of these measures by members of the Ollie’s Law Coalition, including several pet parents who tragically lost their dogs at these facilities.

ARL has long been a vocal advocate for regulations of kennels, including our Board Safely Campaign. While these facilities are not subject to care and housing requirements, we recommend the public use our checklist to determine if a facility is right for you and your pet.

Learn more at: https://www.arlboston.org/board-safely/

ARL testifying at the MA State House.

Supporting Pet Families in Economic Crisis

The Joint Committee on Housing held a hearing that included An Act to maintain stable housing for families with pets in an economic crisis and beyond filed by Representatives Rogers and Montaño (H.1367) and Senator Gobi (S.876).

These bills would help pets and people stay together by ending breed-based discrimination in insurance and housing.

Breed based discrimination is not based in data and relies on outdated attitudes around breeds that are perceived to be dangerous.

Housing is overwhelmingly a barrier to families staying with their pets, and ARL was joined by many advocates who told their stories of how this has impacted them.

Get Involved

The Massachusetts Legislature will continue to hold hearings on bills on ARL’s Legislative Agenda and encourage anyone who is passionate about protecting animals throughout the state to become involved.

Have questions or want to get involved? Contact advocacy@arlboston.org for more information.


ARL Tops 400 for Overcrowding Animal Intake in 2023

Overcrowding animals include cats, guinea pigs, rabbits

Overcrowding continues to be an area of emphasis for the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in 2023, and this past week the organization took in more than two dozen cats, and nearly two dozen guinea pigs from three separate situations.

ARL has now taken in more than 400 animals from overcrowding situations in 2023, more than double the overcrowding intake from 2022.

Traditionally overcrowding typically involved cats or dogs, however in 2023, ARL has also tackled situations involving guinea pigs and rabbits.

While some may associate overcrowding with neglect, these animals were all well cared for and the common issues that led to these situations were a lack of spay/neuter, or incorrectly sexed animals purchased from pet stores.

The cats from situations in Norfolk and Worcester counties were transferred to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers and have received thorough veterinary exams.

While the cats are overall in good health, a number of the animals are recovering from upper respiratory infections, a common byproduct of overcrowding.

Additionally, some of the cats are shy and undersocialized and will require their new families to have patience when allowing the animals to settle into their new homes.

The recent intake of guinea pigs are part of an ongoing operation between ARL and the former owner of the animals.

This particular situation was the result of incorrectly sexed guinea pigs being purchased from an out-of-state pet store.

All of these animals are doing well, and while some are available for adoption, others will require ongoing care before finding their forever homes.

Taking in such a large and sudden influx of animals is a daunting task, however, ARL has the experience and expertise to provide the care these animals need, and reminds the public that If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by having too many animals in their home, there is help available.

If you or someone you know is looking for support for spay/neuter services or to rehome cats, you can contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

ARL approaches every overcrowding situation with respect, compassion, and a staunch commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the animals involved, as well as their caretakers.


Severely Emaciated Dog in Care of ARL

Emaciated dog making progress, ARL Law Enforcement investigating case of animal cruelty

While a severely emaciated dog currently in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is making progress, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is investigating this case of starvation and gross neglect and is asking the public for any information which could lead to charges and subsequent prosecution for animal cruelty.

The approximately 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 transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for care.

Upon arrival at ARL, he received a thorough veterinary exam and the greatest concern surrounding his condition was the extreme level of emaciation.

Weighing just 37 pounds, he scored 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 was placed on a refeeding plan, and while he initially lost weight, he is now trending in the right direction weighing approximately 40 pounds, and continuing to make progress.

Despite his condition, Dobby knows he is in a safe and caring environment and personifies resilience and strength, as he has been incredibly friendly and receptive to attention from ARL staff.

He will be heading into foster care soon and it’s important to note that due to his condition he is not currently available for adoption.

ARL Law Enforcement asks that anyone with information pertaining to this case to call (617) 426-9170 x110 or email cruelty@arlboston.org


Massachusetts Animal Control Officer of the Year 2023

The Animal Rescue League of Boston and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) are pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the annual Massachusetts Animal Control Officer (ACO) of the Year award.

The award was established to honor an animal control officer whose efforts in his/her local community throughout the year demonstrate:

    • A dedicated, humane attitude toward the treatment and well-being of all animals
    • Effective enforcement of pet responsibility laws
    • A commitment to public awareness and humane education programs
    • Cooperative working relationships with other agencies, such as state and local government departments, other ACOs, and animal protection groups

All officers in Massachusetts are required to undergo training through the Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources. In order to receive this award, an ACO must be current on the state’s mandated training requirements through the Mass Animal Fund.

Nominations should be submitted in writing and may come from government officials, other officers, animal protection organizations, or private citizens.

Submissions should explain how the nominee has met the above criteria and should be sent to both:

Joseph King
Animal Rescue League of Boston
10 Anna’s Pl
Dedham, MA 02026
jking@arlboston.org

Kara Holmquist
MSPCA
350 South Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02130
kholmquist@mspca.org

Nominations must be received by September 30, 2023.


Dog with Malignant Mass Left Outside ARL’s Boston Shelter

An 8-year-old Shih Tzu was recently left tied to a fence outside of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and after discovering and removing a malignant mass, ARL was thrilled to find this sweet pup a special home to live out the rest of her days filled with comfort and love.

In mid-August, the dog, named Raggedy Ann, was spotted by a trash collector around 5 a.m., tied to a fence outside of ARL’s shelter on the Tremont St. side, and notified staff a little while later when the Good Samaritan realized that the dog had likely been left by its owner.

The animal had a collar but not tags, and was also left with a bowl of water.

ARL surmises that the owner did not know what else to do, and left the dog in a moment of panic.

Raggedy Ann was given a thorough veterinary exam which revealed a mammary mass, which was removed and biopsied – unfortunately the mass was malignant.

And while a chest x-ray did not show any sign of metastatic disease, it is possible that additional mammary tumors may appear or that metastatic disease may become apparent as she ages.

Given her medical condition, ARL wanted to see Raggedy Ann find a new home as quickly as possible so she may enjoy the remainder of her life in a home with a loving family.

A dedicated ARL volunteer stepped up to open up their heart and home, and Raggedy Ann has settled in quickly and is thriving in her new environment.

ARL is a Resource 

With Raggedy Ann being left outside the Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, ARL wants to remind the public to please always surrender a pet in person.

Surrendering a pet is an incredibly difficult decision, and ARL understands this.

If a pet owner needs to surrender an animal, ARL asks that pet owners do so in person, so transfer of the animal can be done safely, and it’s also an opportunity for ARL staff to learn as much as they can about the animal.

Additionally, ARL understands that circumstances do arise in life when pet ownership is no longer feasible, and offers a comfortable, safe and perhaps most importantly, a judgement-free environment to complete a pet surrender.

If a pet owner is wrestling with the decision to surrender, ARL does offer a variety of services which may help keep the animal out of a shelter and in the loving home where they belong.

Services include ARL’s Free Pet Behavior Helpline, the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program, the Wellness Waggin’, Spay Waggin’, among others.


Supporter Spotlight: Jonathan Delgado and Catherine Bird

Like many, Jonathan Delgado and Catherine Bird were first introduced to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) when they adopted a new family member, a tuxedo cat they named Nippy. Both Jonathan and Catherine had always been cat lovers, but Nippy’s adoption was inspired by their daughter Athena’s desire for a kitten. A great companion to all, she could be found sleeping in bed with houseguests, squeezing into Athena’s dress-up clothes, providing grief support when other pet siblings passed, and startling tradespeople as they worked around the house.

When Athena left for college, Jonathan wanted to do something meaningful with his free time, which ultimately led him to start volunteering with ARL.

With his years of experience with cats, ARL’s Director of Volunteer Engagement suggested Jonathan start as a Feline Friend, caring for cats on Monday mornings. Little has changed: that was 10 years ago, and Jonathan has worked the same Feline Friend shift nearly every Monday since!

Volunteering brought Jonathan great perspective and insight into the work that ARL does for both animals and people in need. Jonathan noted that the various reasons for which an animal can be surrendered to ARL brought him a greater sense of empathy and compassion for those who must make difficult decisions regarding their animals. He witnessed first-hand the impact of ARL’s community programs that work to keep pets together with their families and the profound care given to those pets who needed to find new homes.

Jonathan and Catherine recognized the impact ARL has in the community and decided to put ARL at the forefront of their giving. Nearly ten years ago, they chose to become monthly contributors through the Champions Circle, and their dedication has not wavered.

They decided to start giving monthly to help smooth out the imbalance of seasonal giving. Catherine says “Many don’t realize organizations are running on fumes waiting for the large influx of donations at the end of the year.” Their commitment as monthly donors helps to keep operations running smoothly all year long. Jonathan notes that monthly giving also makes it easier to reach their giving goals by splitting up donations throughout the year. It allows them to “set it and forget it” and still have a measurable impact for ARL and the animals we serve.

The couple feels fortunate to be able to support ARL significantly as they do, and hope that their donations will allow ARL to continue its impactful work in the community for animals and the people who love them. Jonathan and Catherine’s generosity ensures ARL’s ability to do just that. ARL is extremely grateful to have them as friends, adopters, and benefactors of ARL.

September is Champions Circle month

Half of our donations arrive during the last four months of the year- and most of it during the last 2 weeks in December – yet animals need help every day.

So why wait until the holidays to help?

You can support animals in need ALL YEAR LONG by joining the Champions Circle, a monthly giving program that’s like a subscription for saving animals. Join today.