Category: Boston Veterinary Care
Press Release: ARL Law Enforcement Removes 18 Dogs from Unsanitary Conditions

Majority of the dogs living in unsanitary conditions emaciated, animal cruelty charges filed

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, with assistance from Malden Police and Animal Control recently executed a search warrant at a Malden residence to remove 18 dogs, a number of which are emaciated, that were living in unsanitary conditions.

The operation to remove the animals from the home in Malden took place on Friday, December 2, and involved ARL Law Enforcement, Malden Police and Animal Control; the Malden Fire Department was also on-scene for a brief time.

Once removed from the home, the majority of the dogs were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, while several needed additional care and were taken to an emergency animal facility to receive 24-hour care.

Those dogs have since been transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center and are receiving ongoing treatment.

Along with living in unsanitary conditions, nearly half the animals are considered emaciated, and the majority of the dogs are extremely undergroomed, with overgrown nails, matted fur, fur loss, and moderate to severe dental disease.

The underweight animals are now on refeeding plans to ensure they gain weight slowly and safely.

While recovering, the majority of the animals will spend time in foster care where they will have a quiet and comforting environment to recover.

ARL Law Enforcement has filed 18 counts of animal cruelty (M.G.L. ch.272, s.77), along with 18 counts of violation of the state’s tethering and confinement statute (M.G.L. ch.140, s.174E) against Jennifer Ahn, of Malden.

ARL wishes to thank Malden Police and Animal Control, along with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance with this situation.

This work cannot be done alone and animals urgently need your help now.

Your emergency gift today can support:

  • Veterinary care and rehabilitation for the sudden influx of animals that have suffered the trauma of neglect
  • Ongoing investigations of cruelty to pursue justice for animals
  • Emergency response when crisis strikes and animals are in dire need

Make a donation today.

ARL and ABCD Mark Wellness Waggin’ Pet Wellness Clinic Milestone

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ completes 10,000th appointment

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) celebrated a major milestone for ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ — a mobile high-quality, low-cost pet wellness program that launched in 2019.

In less than three years, the Wellness Waggin’ has completed its 10,000th appointment, a huge milestone for the innovative program.

Serving clients weekly from ABCD’s Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan/Hyde Park locations, as well as two monthly stops in East Boston, the Wellness Waggin’ offers pets a physical exam, rabies vaccine, distemper vaccine, flea treatment and microchip – all for $10.

ARL is the only animal welfare organization in Massachusetts to offer such an extensive accessible low-cost clinic, and these aforementioned services would normally cost upwards of $300 in a veterinary clinic setting.

The Wellness Waggin’ was officially put into service in August of 2019, serving nearly 1,200 animals in the remainder of the year and the service has grown exponentially on an annual basis.

The idea for the Wellness Waggin’ was born out of ARL’s Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities Initiative, which launched in 2017.

The goal of the initiative was to improve the welfare of animals in Greater Boston, and to deepen the understanding of the human-animal bone and its connections with individual and community health.

Through partnerships with local organizations in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, ARL received direct feedback from the community regarding existing barriers concerning pet ownership.

Top responses included lack of affordable care and access to services. In its four years of service, the Wellness Waggin’ has drastically reduced these barriers.

Additionally, with pets being a large part of the family dynamic, the partnership between the two organizations has forged a new model of collaboration, with animal and human service organizations coming together to care for both animals and people in need.

“I’m overjoyed to celebrate this milestone and seeing how much of an impact the Wellness Waggin’ has had in the communities that ARL serves,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “This milestone is a reflection of the wonderful collaboration between ARL and ABCD and I look forward to this partnership continuing for years to come.”

ABCD President and CEO Sharon Scott-Chandler, Esq., said that ABCD seeks to meet as many needs of people who are struggling, including health care for four-legged family members and friends. “Because of the Animal Rescue League and its Wellness Waggin’, people in under- represented and under-resourced communities were and are able to get necessary and local vet care for their beloved furry friends, who are also family members who help get them through the tough moments, improve emotional well-being and make life a little brighter all around”, she said. “ABCD is so proud to be a part of this 10K Wellness Waggin’ moment with the Animal Rescue League, and be a contributor to meeting unseen needs in the community.”

Dog Who Suffered Severe Burns Overcomes Trauma to Find Her Home for the Holidays

“Annie” still recovering from severe burns, adopted by her foster family

You may remember the story of Annie, a one-year-old mixed-breed dog that was found abandoned in Norwood, MA, in late August and had suffered second-degree burns to 20 percent of her body.

In the past four months, she has redefined perseverance.

In Need of Help

Annie was discovered along Route 1 in Norwood, wearing a collar and leash, but with no identification, and was not microchipped.

She was taken to the Norwood Police Department, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department was contacted. She was then transferred to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The burns covering her head, neck, shoulders, abdomen, and front limbs were extremely painful, and the ARL shelter medicine team’s first priority was to help manage her pain and provide treatment for the wounds.

Initially Annie’s situation was critical and given the severity of the burns and the pain level, she was transferred to Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment & Specialties (Tufts VETS) in Walpole, MA, for several days to receive intensive 24-hour care and pain management.

Ongoing Care and Foster

Once the young dog was stabilized, she began the next phase of her recovery and over the next two months she would undergo comprehensive and sometimes painful procedures to aid in the healing process of the burns.

Over time her pain was greatly reduced, and her fur also began to grow back, however, the physical scars of the trauma she suffered will likely be noticeable for the rest of her life.

Annie was also placed into foster care to give her a quiet and comfortable environment to heal.

Finding Her Home for the Holidays

Annie’s foster home was the perfect environment for her.

Her foster family offered the support and love she needed during her recovery, and in the process became bonded with the young dog.

In the fall the family decided that Annie had found her family and her new home, and officially adopted her!

While she continues to heal from her ordeal, she is ready to begin the next chapter of her life.

She is thriving and is overjoyed to be spending the holidays with her new family and ARL could not be happier for this outcome!

How You Can Help Animals Like Annie

For all of us, and especially for animals in need, this has been a trying time. Soaring inflation has made our work much more difficult and strained our limited resources.

ARL cannot respond in times of crisis without you – and the need has never been greater.

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


Young Cat at ARL Overcomes Medical Challenges and is Ready to Find a Home for the Holidays

Cat has been in the care of ARL since August due to medical concerns

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is a resource for animals in need, and sometimes those needs can be quite extensive.

For Regan Macneil, a 2-year-old female cat, her journey with ARL began in August when she was surrendered to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center due to cost of care.

Medical Concerns

Upon arrival at ARL, the organization’s shelter medicine team began Regan Macneil’s stay with a thorough medical exam.

The young cat had a severe head tilt to the right and facial paralysis, a sign that there may be neurological deficits. Horner’s Syndrome, a common neurological disorder of the eye and facial muscles caused by a dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system was suspected.

A heart murmur in the cat was also detected.

Additionally, a polyp was discovered in the cat’s ear and needed to be removed, a portion of which needed to be biopsied to help get a clearer picture of her overall health.

Fortunately, the biopsy revealed the polyp to be benign, and Regan was placed into foster care to begin her healing process.

Making Progress

The young cat was shy but friendly, and being in foster care helped tremendously in having Regan come out of her shell and show her true personality.

Over time her health and behavior improved dramatically, and in December, a veterinary recheck indicated that while the head tilt was still present is was not as pronounced, and that the facial paralysis had also resolved.

Ready to Go Home

With her health continuing to improve, Regan Macneil is now ready to find her perfect home for the holidays and beyond.

The collaborative effort between ARL’s shelter medicine, shelter staff, volunteers and foster care network was extensive, and demonstrates the commitment by the organization to treat every animal as an individual by providing that animal with all the resources they need to heal and then thrive once finding a forever home.

For more information about Regan Macneil.

How You Can Help Animals Like Regan Macneil

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Regan Macneil 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.

2,285+ animals in need have already found homes this year. Will you make a year-end gift to help one more?

Home for the Holidays: Buzz Lightyear Finds a Perfect Landing Spot

Cat was found in Fall River with a glass jar stuck on her head

You may recall the story of Buzz Lightyear, back in October, the six-month-old kitten was spotted on the streets of Fall River in a precarious situation – she had a glass jar stuck on her head!

Fall River Animal Control contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department for assistance, and because ARL’s Community Cat Program is extremely active in the city, an agent was already in Fall River and was able to respond to the situation quickly.

Upon arrival, the kitten was seen wandering along the roadway, and while it took a bit of time, Buzz Lightyear was eventually captured by use of a drop trap.

Although she could not smell with the jar on her head, the agent used food to lure two of Buzz’s siblings into the trap and out of curiosity, she followed.

Once secured, ARL’s Field Services agent was able to handle the kitten and remove the glass jar, and then transported Buzz to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Preparing For a New Home

While Buzz Lightyear settled into her temporary surroundings at ARL quickly, she was unaccustomed to being cared for by humans and needed some time to undergo socialization with staff and volunteers.

After getting up-to-date on vaccines and undergoing spay surgery, she was placed in ARL’s cat colony room in Dedham, which included a couple of her siblings, to help her feel more comfortable and allow staff and volunteers to gain her trust and help her learn how to interact with people.

Going Home

It wasn’t long before Buzz Lightyear was showing off her friendly and playful side, and she was made available for adoption.

She was adopted almost immediately upon being made available, and is looking forward to spending her first holiday season in her new home where she is thriving with her new family and feline companion!

Making a Difference

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Buzz Lightyear 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.

2,285+ animals in need have already found homes this year. Will you make a year-end gift to help one more?


Home for the Holidays: Former Community Cat Overcomes Obstacles to Find Loving Home

Community cat received extensive treatment while in care of ARL

Animals are amazing in so many ways, but the resilience of animals seen every day at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is awe-inspiring, and a 7-month-old former community cat who has found his Home for the Holidays exemplifies resilience.

Yogurt came into the care of ARL in July from a colony in Fall River, an area of the state that ARL’s Community Cat Program is extremely active.

In Desperate Need of Care

The kitten was in rough shape upon arrival at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center: his abdomen was distended, he was very underweight, was infested with fleas and additionally, he had a fractured leg and a severe wound on his tail.

ARL’s shelter medicine team amputated part of his tail, and because the injury was a wound of unknown origin, Yogurt was placed into the state-mandated four-month quarantine protocol.

The hope was the fracture would heal with rest and constant monitoring, but over time the leg did not improve, and for his health and well-being, the leg was amputated.

Despite enduring so much at such a young age, Yogurt was resilient through it all.

Gaining Confidence

Because he previously lived outdoors, he needed plenty of socialization to become used to being cared for by humans, and that’s where ARL’s behavioral team came in.

Using clicker training that positively reinforces good behaviors, Yogurt took to his training well and soon became comfortable with those around him.

Yogurt transformed from a shy kitten, to a kitten that would quickly interact with anyone willing, purr loudly, and more than just a lap cat, he has been known to actually fall asleep in people’s arms!

Ready to Go Home

As Yogurt steadily progressed, he became an office foster so he could have constant interaction with people, and once his four-month quarantine had lapsed, he was ready to go into a new home.

Unsurprisingly, Yogurt was adopted quickly, finding a new home with an ARL employee, and he is now Home for the Holidays with his new family, happy, healthy, and thriving!

Make a Difference Today

For a homeless animal or at-risk pet like Yogurt, 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?

Join ARL today, and thank you for being a Champion for Animals!

ARL Receives Grant Through Thomas C. McGowan Fund for Animals of the Cape Cod Foundation

Grant funds to assist behaviorally and medically challenged animals on Cape Cod

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to announce the organization has received a generous grant from the Thomas C. McGowan Fund for Animals of the Cape Cod Foundation, which will greatly benefit behaviorally and medically challenged animals in the care of ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center through 2024.

Two vets doing an exam on a beagle dog

The Thomas C. McGowan Fund for Animals grant will help provide animals on Cape Cod with the care they need.

The Thomas C. McGowan Fund for Animals of the Cape Cod Foundation grant, in the amount of $20,000, will be distributed over a two-year period to help ARL treat the increased volume of cats and dogs with complex medical and behavior issues which require a significant investment in care.

These issues are barriers to adoption and increase an animal’s length-of-stay (LOS).

Prolonged LOS can exacerbate or cause more issues.

Medical concerns affect an animal’s quality of life and can have negative effects on behavior. If left untreated, issues pose a financial burden and stress for potential adopters.

“ARL prides itself on its ability to deliver high-quality medical and behavioral care to every animal in our care on an individual level,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “With ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center seeing more and more of these types of animals coming through our doors, these grant funds will ensure that ARL can continue its standard of care, while finding these animals permanent and loving homes.”

In 2021, ARL’s Brewster location adopted nearly 100 animals with behavior concerns, representing 20 percent of adoptions.

The location maintained an average length-of-stay of 10 days for cats, 11 days for dogs, and 20 days for small animals and livestock. Additionally, ARL’s Shelter Medicine staff performed 275 surgeries and provided nearly 700 exams for animals in ARL’s care.

ARL Joins MAF for Special Spay/Neuter Clinic in Fall River

Spay/neuter clinic provides vital surgery for 30 cats

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ was once again in Fall River for a special spay/neuter clinic for more than two dozen cats as part of an ongoing collaborative effort with ARL, the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF), and Fall River Animal Control.

For four years, ARL has participated in the clinic in collaboration with MAF and Fall River Animal Control, with well over 100 animals receiving the vital spay/neuter surgery throughout this partnership.

The surgeries are under the MAF voucher program, which distributes vouchers to qualifying low-income pet owners to cover the cost of the important procedure.

Due to high demand, many clients have been on a waiting list for a number of months to have their pets spayed or neutered, and ARL is pleased to once again be providing this vital service that’s greatly needed in the Fall River Community.

“Fall River is already a struggling community, but since the pandemic, it seems as if getting spay/neuter services has proven to be even more difficult,” said Cynthia Berard-Cadima, Fall River Animal Control Officer. “People contact us daily, asking for funds.  Many are out of work and our homeless community is growing.  We are stretching every dime and our veterinarians are donating time and services more than ever.”

Clinics like this that provide subsidized spay and neuter services are at the core of MAF, which is primarily funded by the voluntary tax check off (Line 33f) on the Massachusetts resident income tax form. Since 2014, the MAF voucher program has helped provide spay and neuter services for more than 17,500 animals.

Along with these clinics, ARL continues to be extremely active in the Fall River, as the city is a hotbed when it comes to community cats.

With community cat colonies scattered throughout the city, ARL’s Community Cat Program has provided ample assistance to Fall River Animal Control over the past several years, trapping hundreds of cats, providing them with veterinary care, spay/neuter surgery, and finding the vast majority of them loving homes.

This work has become a year-round effort, and ARL cannot do this work alone.

Donate Today and Your Gift will Have Double the Impact!

The last few years have been extraordinarily difficult and soaring inflation has stretched our budget to the limit. Half of ARL’s donations arrive in the last three months of the year, and most giving happens in the last two weeks of December, yet animals need help every day. This is why GivingTuesday is such an important event for animals in need.

ARL’s Board of Directors, President & CEO, and Friends of ARL, are matching all gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 until Giving Tuesday, 11/29. Please make a gift today through our Facebook fundraiser (100% of your donation will go towards helping animals in need) or directly through our secure, online form.

ARL Offers Tips to Keep Pets Safe During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is reminding pet owners of some things to keep in mind to help keep our pets safe and healthy as we celebrate with friends, family, food and festivities!

Cat laying in Christmas free

Plants and Decorations

Pet owners should be aware of the holiday plants being brought into the home – mistletoe, holly, some types of lilies can cause a host of issues if they are ingested and additionally, poinsettias, while traditional, can also be toxic. Stick to artificial plant decorations, or opt for a pet-friendly bouquet.

If you have a Christmas tree, make sure it’s anchored so it doesn’t tip over and injure your pet, and also be sure to keep pets from drinking the tree water which could cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

For decorations, with its sparkle, tinsel can be mistaken for a toy, but if ingested can cause vomiting, dehydration or even a blockage in the digestive tract, so in short, if you have pets, leave the tinsel in the box!

Also, be sure to never leave candles unattended, and keep wires, batteries and ornaments out of reach of your pet’s paws.

small dog sniffing sweets in a bowl

Foods to Avoid

We all know that chocolate is a no-no, but there are also potential dangers hidden in many of the side dishes and snacks we enjoy during the holidays.

These include onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, nuts, milk and dairy, and xylitol, which is a sweetener found in many products including candy, gum and baked goods, can all be toxic to our pets.

Do not give your dog bones, either cooked or raw! Bones can splinter, causing intestinal obstructions and even fracture teeth.

Be mindful while cooking – consider keeping pets out of the kitchen and remind your guests not to feed your pets any scraps!

Should your pet ingest any items that may be toxic, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

white cat laying on bookshelf

Holiday Gatherings

If your hosting family or friends for the holidays, it could be a stimulus overload for your pet, causing anxiety and overexcitement. And in turn unpleasant behaviors may surface so be sure to set up your pet for success before your guests arrive.

Give your pets get plenty of attention and exercise prior to guests arriving because we all know tired pets are more apt to be better behaved pets!

With guests constantly coming and going, it’s best to remind visitors to be mindful when entering and exiting your home to ensure your pet does not make a great escape in all of the excitement – if they are overanxious they may make a dash for the door!

Additionally, provide your pet with a safe space away from your guests should they need an escape from the excitement.

The space should have fresh water, food, and items to keep them occupied including toys, or perhaps a food puzzle and bedding so they can be comfortable.

We all want our pets safe and healthy, so it’s best to plan ahead to ensure a worry-free holiday season.

ARL Partners with New England Center and Home for Veterans

ARL to offer variety of services, including temporary pet housing

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is proud to announce a new partnership with the New England Center and Home for Veterans (NECHV), in an effort to further serve Veterans who may be facing housing instability or other challenges.

ARL is currently offering its Temporary Pet Housing Initiative to NECHV clients, to ensure Veterans are getting the help they need, avoiding pet surrender, and keeping pets and people together. To date, ARL has already assisted several animals who have since been reunited with their owners.

“ARL is honored for the opportunity to partner with the New England Center and Home for Veterans by offering temporary pet housing to former service men and women who are in the midst of transitioning to permanent housing,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “To be able to temporarily care for and then reunite these animals with their families is a special responsibility, and ARL is proud to play a role in keeping pets out of shelters and in homes with the people who love them.”

“The New England Center and Home for Veterans is pleased to offer the services of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Temporary Pet Housing Initiative to the Veterans we serve,” said NECHV President and CEO C. Andrew McCawley. “Pets are like family, and the thought of having to give them up can contribute to the disruptiveness of homelessness. Through this partnership, Veteran pet owners who are experiencing housing instability can have peace of mind, knowing that their pets will be well cared for until they can be reunited with them.”

ARL’s Temporary Pet Housing Initiative allows pets to stay within ARL’s vast foster care network, relieving the pet owner of having to make any difficult pet-related decisions while allowing them to focus on bettering their own situation.

As the partnership grows, ARL aims to provide further services to Veterans and their pets including pet wellness, spay/neuter, among others.


Founded in 1989, the New England Center and Home for Veterans is a nationally recognized leader in serving Veterans.  The NECHV is a multi-dimensional service and care provider that assists Veterans who are facing challenges with a broad array of programs and services that enable success, meaningful employment, and dignified, independent living.

*To protect the privacy of veterans in this program, the photos used in this blog are not participants of the program.