Category: Boston Veterinary Care
It’s Wicked Cold! ARL Reminds Pet Owners to Protect Animals from the chill

Winter is finally here in New England, and with a potentially historic storm on tap for the weekend, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to take cold-weather precautions to protect pets — frigid conditions can endanger the well-being, safety, and the lives of the pets we love.

Here are some things to keep in mind not just for this storm, but for the remainder of winter:

    1. Prepare your dog for the elements. If you have a longer coat dog, let it grow out for the winter; it will provide warmth and protection from the cold. 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. Sidewalks are treated with a number of chemicals. These chemicals 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 and warm!
    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. Many Massachusetts residents are aware that it’s illegal to keep an animal in a hot car, under the same law it’s ALSO illegal to keep your animal in a cold car (Ma. Ch. 140, Section 174F.  (a) A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or 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! Long-haired pets especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable.
    6. Keeping Warm During Power Outage. Provide your pets with extra bedding or blankets should the lights go out. For small animals, you can wrap a blanket around the bottom of their enclosure to add warmth but still provide ventilation.

    Additionally, it’s important to keep pets calm. The wind, cold temperatures and potential power outages can cause anxiety not only for us, but for our pets as well. Have plenty of treats and toys on hand to keep them occupied and calm.

    For more winter weather pet safety tips, please visit www.arlboston.org/winter-pet-health

    ARL Receives Transport of Dogs Removed from Kentucky Region Recovering from December Tornadoes

    This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA), received a transport of dogs removed from an area in Kentucky devastated by a series of tornadoes in December of 2021.

    In the wake of the tornadoes, the ASPCA was immediately dispatched to assist shelters in Kentucky, relocating dogs and cats in order to free up space for owned animals impacted by the storm.

    The animals ARL received are among the dozens of homeless dogs moved to a facility outside of the impacted areas, who have been receiving care by the national organization since late December.

    ARL was honored to become a part of the ASPCA Relocation Program in 2021, and is thrilled to be able to assist in the on-going disaster relief efforts by taking in these animals in need and finding them loving homes.

    “By evacuating these homeless animals displaced by the devastating tornadoes in Kentucky, the ASPCA was able to free up critical resources for organizations in impacted communities to help save more animal lives,” said Lou Guyton, Vice President of the ASPCA Relocation and Placement team. “The ASPCA is grateful to partner with organizations such as ARL who have kindly opened their doors to find adoptive homes for these animals.”

    “The ASPCA has done a tremendous job in its disaster relief efforts in Kentucky, and ARL is happy to be able to lend a hand in the effort by taking in these wonderful dogs and finding them loving homes here in Massachusetts,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino.

    The dogs were transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and have received thorough veterinary exams, are vaccinated, spayed/neutered, microchipped, and are now ready to find their new families.

    ARL Announces Dr. Nicole Breda as New Director of Veterinary Medicine

    The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is thrilled to announce that Dr. Nicole Breda has been promoted to Director of Veterinary Medicine for ARL.

    Dr. Nicole Breda

    Dr. Breda joined ARL in 2015, as Lead Veterinarian for Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), a full-service veterinary clinic with a mission, as all profits benefit ARL’s shelter animals.

    In 2018, Dr. Breda transitioned to BVC’s Medical Director, and through her leadership, BVC has become a premier veterinary clinic in the City of Boston.

    Dr. Breda’s passion in caring for animals in unparalleled, and in her new role she will oversee all aspects of veterinary medicine for both BVC and ARL’s Shelter Medicine team.

    “I am very excited to get to work in this new role,” Dr. Breda said.  “Over the last six-plus years I have developed deep rooted relationships with the entire veterinary team here at ARL, not only at Boston Veterinary Care, but also with the Community and Shelter Medicine Team. I know I can use my experiences in both management and in veterinary medicine to lead ARL’s veterinary teams, and provide high-quality care to the animals in our care, and to foster an environment of collaboration and success.”

    BVC clients who have come to know and depend on Dr. Breda to care for their furry loved ones over the years will be pleased to know that she will continue to see clients at BVC and, in addition, will also treat animals in the care of ARL.

    Join ARL in congratulating Dr. Breda!

    ARL Appears on Good Morning America as Part of Betty White Challenge Coverage

    On Monday, January 17, 2022, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, as part of the program’s coverage of the Betty White Challenge – which asked animal lovers to donate $5 to humane organizations across the country in recognition of the late actress’s fondness for animals.

    During the nationally televised segment, ARL discussed several aspects of the organization, including programs that have developed during the Covid-19 pandemic, with GMA correspondent Will Reeve.

    Additionally, the segment showcased Oliver Twist and Adeline, a pair of adorable piglets, currently in ARL’s care and will soon be available for adoption.

    ARL was truly honored for the opportunity to discuss the organization in front of a national audience, and to commemorate what would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday.

    And a special thank you to all who donated during the special day as the funds raised will help countless animals in need!

    Sandwich, MA Resident Reunited with Cat Missing Since August

    This past week, a family in Sandwich, MA, received the best gift they could’ve wished for – to be reunited with their family pet who had been missing for nearly four months.

    Neville reunited with his family.

    Neville, a five-year-old male cat, was recently brought into the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, by a Good Samaritan from Sagamore Beach.

    The cat’s finder noticed him around their property in early November.

    Neville would steal bread that was tossed for the crows and would stare into the window of the finder’s home looking for food!

    The finder realized the cat seemed friendly, and concerned that there was a family out there missing him, the Good Samaritan was eventually able to trap the cat and bring him to ARL.

    The cat was given a thorough veterinary exam and found to be in good health. He did not have a collar or identification tags, and was not microchipped.

    Neville’s finder had posted a photo of the cat on a Facebook lost pet community page, and when his owner Moira saw his photo, she reached out immediately.

    Once confirming the cat had been taken to ARL, Moira contacted the shelter and promptly made the trip from Sandwich to Brewster with high hopes of being reunited with her lost animal.

    With documentation and photos in hand, it was quickly determined that Neville was indeed the missing cat and was soon back in his home where he belongs – just in time for Christmas!

    Is your pet lost?

    ARL is thrilled Neville was able to be reunited with his family, and encourages pet owners to have their animals fitted with a collar, and ID tags.

    In addition, a microchip drastically increases the chances of being reunited with a lost pet.

    Should your pet go missing, ARL urges pet owners to report the lost pet to local animal control, local humane organizations like ARL, as well as social media pages dedicated to finding lost pets.

    You can also alert neighbors, and post missing animal posters in your neighborhood and surrounding areas.

    For more tips regarding a lost pet, log onto arlboston.org/ilostmypet/.

    2021 Flashback: 24 Dogs Rescued from Randolph Home

    In early August, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department collaborated with the Randolph Police Department to remove 24 dogs, mostly puppies, from a home in Randolph, MA.

    The Pitbull-type dogs were removed due to unsanitary conditions and inadequate access to food and water.

    Randolph Police responded to the home for an unrelated matter, but when the four adult dogs and 20 puppies were discovered, the responding officers realized the animals were in need and immediately took action.

    ARL Law Enforcement was contacted and responded to the scene, coordinating with ARL Field Services to safely remove the dogs and transport them to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

    ARL’s shelter medicine team provided vaccinations, thorough exams, and medical care for the animals; one puppy did have a fractured leg, several others had umbilical hernias which required surgery, and heart murmurs were detected in a few of the dogs as well.

    The dogs were placed into foster care and many found their perfect matches quickly.

    “The Animal Rescue of Boston cannot commend Randolph Police and Animal Control enough,” stated ARL Law Enforcement Senior Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal. “Everyone involved in this situation demonstrated a high level of professionalism, compassion and the steadfast commitment to removing these animals from the residence quickly and getting them the care they needed.”

    Randolph Police Commander Robert Emerson said, “We are pleased to have been able to remove these animals from the poor conditions they were living in. I would like to thank the ARL Law Enforcement and Field Services teams for their quick response and assistance at the scene, as well as the shelter medicine teams and foster care network for their dedication to caring for the dogs. I would also like to praise our responding officers who were called to the house on an unrelated issue and noticed that the situation the animals were living in was not acceptable.”

    The rescue of these animals is a shining example of ARL’s work in action. Through ARL Law Enforcement, Field Services, Shelter Medicine, Shelter staff and volunteers, these wonderful dogs received the love, care and support they needed to get well and find their perfect homes to spend the holidays in!

    There’s still time to make a difference for animals this year!

    Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need like all 24 of these pups can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

    We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

    2021 Flashback: Diggersby Hops into ARL’s Heart

    A few months ago, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center took in a litter of two-month-old rabbits in need of loving care and new homes.

    ARL typically adopts out hundreds of rabbits annually, but Diggersby, with his adorable markings and sweet demeanor, quickly became a favorite for ARL’s Dedham staff.

    Because he was only two-months-old at the time, he needed to spend some time in foster care before being made available for adoption.

    Once in his foster home, Diggersby quickly adapted to his surroundings and was extremely social right out of the gate.

    He loved hanging out with people, but was also introduced to a number of different animals.

    Diggersby met dogs, cats, hamsters and guinea pigs and took an immediate liking to everyone he met.

    Rabbits are very intelligent, and while in foster care, Diggersby learned to use a litter box in no time, and also learned to eat his food out of food puzzles.

    When he was made available for adoption in September, he found his perfect match quickly and is thriving with his new family!

    As mentioned, Diggersby made quite the impression on everyone he met during his time with ARL, and when the holidays rolled around, ARL’s marketing staff honored the cute bunny, by including him in ARL’s annual holiday coloring contest!

    There’s still time to make a difference for animals this year!

    Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need like Diggersby can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

    We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

    Home for the Holidays: Abandoned Doves Land a Loving Home

    In late October, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) assisted Chelsea Animal Control with four doves who were abandoned at a busy shopping plaza along the Revere Beach Parkway.

    ARL Field Services transported the doves to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, while ARL Law Enforcement launched an investigation to ascertain who may have left the birds.

    The doves were left in a remote area of the shopping plaza in a cage, and while the birds were in overall good health, the question remains: who would simply leave these defenseless animals?

    Whether furry or feathered, ARL is committed to helping animals in need, and these doves soon made themselves at home in ARL’s iconic Dedham barn, received veterinary care, and awaited the day where they could find a loving family.

    ARL Law Enforcement continues to investigate this case of animal abandonment, and asks anyone with information regarding these animals to contact ARL Law Enforcement at (617) 426-9170 x110, or email cruelty@arlboston.org.

    Going Home

    That day came in early December, when the doves were adopted by a bird enthusiast.

    The doves, now named Ghandi, Lennon, King, and Mandela, have overcome their ordeal and are now thriving in their new home.

    There’s still time to make a difference for animals this year!

    Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need like Ghandi, Lennon, King, and Mandela, can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

    We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

    Finding Violet a Home for the Holidays

    Adoptable Pig Continues to Overcome Behavioral Hurdles

    We first introduced Violet, an adorable four-year-old pig, back in November and her heart-warming story touched many people.

    Unfortunately, Violet remains at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, still looking for perfect match – but we’re hopeful she will find her new home during the holiday season!

    If you don’t remember, Violet was raised as a house pet, spending her days inside and constantly around people. Unfortunately, her family was no longer able to care for her, and she was surrendered to ARL.

    Violet is still looking for her perfect match!

    Although set up comfortably in an outdoor paddock and enclosure, it was not what she was used to. Violet did not have the constant companionship and interaction with people she was used to, and out of frustration, she began acting out.

    During feeding or enrichment time, Violet would charge, bark or nip at the ARL staff member of volunteer in the paddock, and not allow them to leave.

    ARL consulted an outside pig expert to better understand the behaviors Violet was displaying and to formulate a plan to curb said behaviors.

    It was surmised that Violet was exhibiting signs of depression, and was fearful about being alone. When she would charge or nip a staff member or volunteer, it was her way of expressing that she did not want the person to leave. To help Violet overcome her depression and anxiety, she was taught a “back-up” cue using positive reinforcement to teach her that she needs to give space to anyone interacting with her.

    Pigs are incredibly intelligent, and learning this cue has positively altered Violet’s behavior and she is once again ready to find her new home.

    To see Violet’s profile on ARL’s website, click here, and let’s find her a home before the New Year!

    There’s still time to make a difference for animals this year!

    Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need like Violet can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

    We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

    Governor Baker Signs Legislation to Improve Lives of Egg-Laying Hens in Massachusetts

    ARL’s collaborative advocacy efforts aid in bill’s passage

    This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation to help improve the lives of millions of egg-laying hens across the Commonwealth, but also helps avert a possible egg shortage in the state had the bill not passed in the Legislature.

    The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) collaboratively advocated for passage of the bill.

    “With passage of S. 2603, the Massachusetts legislature strengthened the existing law, passed at the ballot as Question 3 in 2016, to now mandate cage-free housing with critical behavioral enrichments for the birds, such as nest boxes, perches, and dust-bathing and scratching areas,” a joint statement from ARL, HSUS, MSPCA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund said. “Importantly, the legislature also expanded application of Question 3’s protections to hens raised for liquid eggs – a move that will protect at least two million more hens each year.”

    ARL would like to thank Governor Baker as well as the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dan Cahill and Sen. Jason Lewis; Rep. Carolyn Dykema and Sen. Becca Rausch, chairs of the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources; Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano, as well as all members of the conference committee.

    Question 3 Background

    In 2016, Massachusetts voters approved Question 3, An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, by a margin of over 77%.

    At the time, this was the strongest farm animal protection law in not just the United States, but the world.

    The initiative petition “prohibit[ed] any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely”.

    This impacted not just animals raised in Massachusetts, but any whole products sold in the Commonwealth.

    After Massachusetts voters chose to keep farm animals out of cruel confinement, other states followed. California, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Washington all adopted similar standards, but by this point a different style of aviary was more common for hens. The standard in these states was slightly different than that passed by Massachusetts, and has resulted in Massachusetts being an outlier.

    The ballot question passed by voters in 2016 required 1.5 square foot per hen.

    This assumed a flat system, without vertical space.

    The new standard passed by the legislature adds an additional humane standard: 1.0 square feet per hen only when there is unfettered access to vertical space.

    The commonly used aviaries of this size are similar to bookshelves, and allow hens to explore their natural behaviors with perches.

    The additions also require nesting boxes for the hens to lay their eggs, and enrichments, such as scratching and dust bathing.

    The updates are an improvement to animal welfare in the commonwealth, and are in line with the goals to end cruel confinement of many animals.

    The law goes a step further including not only whole eggs, but also liquid and frozen eggs sold in the state, dramatically increasing the number of hens who benefit from these requirements.

    Again, these requirements do not just apply to animals raised in the state, but to any whole products sold in the state, meaning that farms located outside of Massachusetts must comply with this in order to sell their products in the state come January 2022.

    ARL supported the 2016 ballot question because it would substantially improve conditions for many farm animals, and we support this update for the same reason.

    It is true that this effort is supported by both the proponents and opponents of Question 3—this is because this additional standard mirrors the humane standard adopted in other states.

    Massachusetts helped pave the way for farm animals to not be cruelly confined, and these upgrades will improve the lives of millions of animals.