Category: Boston
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

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.

Change of Scenery Helps Fearful Dog Find New Home

ARL’s different geographic locations helps fearful dog thrive

When fearful dog Sprinkles, a 4-year-old Australian Cattle dog came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center this past spring, her level of fear was practically paralyzing for all aspects of her life.

Because she spent the majority of her life indoors, upon arrival at ARL, she was unable to go outdoors, the shelter environment and presence of other dogs were overwhelming, and she spent her days in an office with ARL staff members working diligently to make her comfortable, gain her trust and improve her confidence.

Despite her sweet demeanor, her fearfulness was a tremendous barrier to her finding her perfect home and she remained in the care of ARL.

Geographic Advantage

ARL is blessed to have three animal care and adoption centers, spread over a large geographic area.

For Sprinkles, the hustle and bustle of Boston was clearly not for her, and the decision was made to transfer her to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, which could offer her a quieter environment and the slower, more relaxed pace that Cape Cod is known for.

The change of scenery was just what Sprinkles needed.

Overcoming Fear

Sprinkles enjoying the company of ARL Staff.

Within 48 hours of being transferred, Sprinkles began showing signs that she was in the right place.

While not venturing too far from her cozy dog bed that was set up in an office, Sprinkles began outwardly seeking attention from new people and showing the desire to be more outgoing, it was just going to take some time.

During her time at ARL in Brewster, she continued to take small steps, from going outside to relieve herself to spending short periods of playtime in a paddock with staff, volunteers, and even other dogs.

As she continued to make progress, after a couple of months in Brewster, Sprinkles finally met her potential new family.

The married couple visited with Sprinkles on three separate occasions, first meeting with her one-on-one, then together, making sure to go slow while making a loving connection with the fearful dog.

Going Home

Following the third visit with Sprinkles, the couple decided that the sweet 4-year-old pup had notched a special place in their hearts, and decided to adopt!

While most dogs walk out the door with their new family when leaving ARL, because Sprinkles is learning to live with her fear, saying goodbye to ARL was a special process – she was placed in a crate and carried to her new family’s vehicle, and from there, her new dog mom sat in the back seat with her for the ride home – another sign that Sprinkles had met the family she was destined for.

ARL Resources

While Sprinkles’ level of fear was extreme, ARL does routinely see animals of all types that are fearful.

ARL’s behavioral team works diligently to assess and then work with every animal in ARL’s care to help them tackle their fear and better acclimate into their new homes – however, once an animal goes home, ARL continues to be a resource.

Through occasional check-ins, dog training classes, and ARL’s free Pet Behavior Helpline, ARL can help guide pet owners through a myriad of behavioral issues and concerns.

If you have basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, etc., ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.

ARL Hosting Small Animal Adopt-a-Thon

Small animal adoption fees to be waived during adoption event

Thinking of adding a small animal to your family?

Join the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) across the organization’s three Animal Care & Adoption Centers for a Small Animal Adopt-a-thon in honor of Clear The Shelters, a national pet adoption campaign.

From August 10 through August 13, from guinea pigs to rabbits, mice, rats, among others*, ARL’s adoption fees will be waived — they may be small, but they will hold a big place in your heart!

ARL’s Adoption Forward process will remain the same and our adoption team will require prospective adopters to bring a photo of the cage their pet will live in to ensure it meets our requirements.

Search small animals available for adoption.

ARL has seen a steady influx of these animals including guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters, even sugar gliders and chinchillas over the past several years, and a large component to these surrenders are animals that are incorrectly sexed and wind up mating — leading to unexpected litters.

There are countless benefits to adopting a small animal.

Aside from off-the-chart cuteness, these animals are perfect for smaller living spaces and for living environment that may not allow a dog or cat. They are also social, loving, and make wonderful companion animals! Additionally, many smallies can be trained to use a litter box, among other cute and amazing skills!

Visit an ARL Animal Care & Adoption Center from August 10 through August 13 from 1:00pm-6:00pm:

Boston: 10 Chandler Street

Dedham: 55 Anna’s Place

Brewster (Cape Cod): 3981 Main Street
Note this location is open by appointment only on Sunday, 8/13. Please call (617) 426-9170 x305 to schedule an appointment.

*exclusions apply

ARL Staff and Volunteers Going Above and Beyond to Help Morbidly Obese Cats

Volunteers helping 30-pound obese cats groom, and exercise to promote weight loss

With several morbidly obese cats recently being brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), the organization’s staff and volunteers have dedicated themselves to helping these 30-pound cats in any way possible to help them lose weight and find the forever homes they deserve.

Maleficent came to ARL weighing more than 30 pounds.

To put this into context, a typical healthy weight for a cat is approximately 10 pounds!

For Maleficent, a 3-year-old female cat, and King, a 7-year-old male cat, both exceeded 30 pounds upon arrival at ARL, and given their condition, they were unable to groom themselves, leading to painful mats in their fur, and were relatively immobile.

Following their initial veterinary exams, both cats needed a dietary plan to lessen their caloric intake, and as we all know, the key to weight loss is to get up and get moving.

ARL staff and volunteers have dedicated themselves to spending ample time with these cats during the day, helping them groom so they will remain comfortable, and getting them out of their kennels for playtime and exercise.

To date, the cats are both responding well, they have come out of their shells and are starting to show their sweet and playful sides, and have both lost several pounds over the past month or so.

King came into ARL weighing 33 pounds.

Despite the progress, both cats will need to be in homes with families that are committed to helping the cats continue their weight loss journey and help them in any way possible.

Like humans, excessive weight gain for animals can be extremely detrimental to their overall health and well-being.

Health risks for obese animals include diabetes, high blood pressure, renal disease, and respiratory disease, among others.

Both King and Maleficent are currently unavailable for adoption as ARL wants the animals to achieve a healthier weight before finding their forever homes.

Volunteering at ARL

ARL volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, performing many tasks to help ARL achieve its mission to be an unwavering champion for animals every day of the year.

In 2022, 1,100 volunteers donated nearly 118,000 hours to help animals in need, the equivalent of 57 full-time staff members!

If you have a passion for animals, consider volunteering at ARL.

ARL Reminds Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe During Heat Wave

Heat wave with high humidity poses threats to pet health

With an oppressive heat wave poised to settle into the area over the next few days, a wide swath of Massachusetts will be under a heat advisory, while the City of Boston has issued a heat emergency, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is reminding pet owners to take measures to keep pets comfortable and safe during this time.

Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important basic guidelines:

  • Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a cool humidity and temperature-regulated room.
  • If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  • Hydration is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest. Aside from the heat, the high humidity can cause respiratory issues for animals, particularly short-snouted animals (i.e. pugs).
  • Be mindful of surface temperatures. Asphalt, concrete, or brick surfaces absorb heat and surface temperatures can exceed 145 degrees can cause severe burns to your pet’s paws! Apply the 7-second rule – place the back of your hand on a surface and if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
  • When the temperatures rise, it’s Too Hot for Spot®! Never leave your pet alone in a parked car — even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked.

It is illegal in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle during extreme hot or cold conditions, and when a weather advisory is issued, it is also illegal to keep dogs tethered for longer than five hours in a 24-hour period.

Dogs also cannot be tethered outdoors between 10 PM and 6 AM, unless for not more than 15 minutes and when the owner/keeper is present.

ARL Teams with NE Revolution, Mass State Police, MassDot, RMV for Too Hot for Spot® Demonstration

When the Temperature Rises – It’s Too Hot for Spot®!

As New England continues to see extremely hot summer conditions, this week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) teamed up with the New England Revolution, Massachusetts State Police (MSP), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDot), and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, for ARL’s 10th annual summer safety campaign, Too Hot for Spot®, to remind pet owners about the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot car.

ARL hosted a press event at the organization’s Dedham Campus, which included a demonstration of how quickly the interior of a vehicle can heat up.

A large thermometer was placed in a vehicle by Slyde, the NE Revolution’s mascot, and with an outside temperature of 80 degrees, in less than 10 minutes the interior temperature of the vehicle soared to over 115 degrees!

Unlike humans, animals cannot efficiently cool their bodies.

And if you think that cracking the windows will help keep your pet cool – it won’t.

As demonstrated, the inside of a vehicle can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, and the stifling heat inside a car makes animals susceptible to heat stroke, and the onset of symptoms is rapid.

Common symptoms of heat stroke in animals include lethargy or weakness, heavy panting, glazed eyes, profuse salivation, excessive thirst, lack of coordination, a deep red or purple tongue, vomiting – and it can even cause seizures, unconsciousness, or death.

With the onset of heat stroke, every second counts, so if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is critical that you take them immediately to the closest veterinary hospital for treatment.

Health hazards aside, it is also against the law in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle when extreme heat or cold may threaten the animal’s health – and law enforcement throughout the Commonwealth will be on the lookout throughout the summer.

Please, when it is hot outside, leave your pet at home.

Set them up in a cool, humidity and temperature-controlled room, give them plenty of water, and make sure to limit their outdoor exercise to the morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

Learn more about summer pet safety tips.

Thank You

ARL would like to thank the New England Revolution, Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and Registry of Motor Vehicles for helping spread ARL’s Too Hot for Spot® summer safety campaign to the masses.

This campaign saves lives and ARL thanks you!

ARL Assists Boston Animal Control to Rescue Family of Ducks from Busy Boston Street

Ducks relocated to the Back Bay Fens

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department assisted Boston Animal Care and Control in the rescue of a family ducks from a patio along a busy Boston street, and moving them to a safer location.

The mama duck and her seven ducklings were on a patio along the 800 block of Boylston Street in Boston, creating a dangerous situation, particularly for the ducklings.

Boston Animal Control contacted ARL for assistance and once on-scene, the ARL’s Field Services agents were able to safely corral and trap the ducklings with a net before placing them in a transport crate.

Once the ducklings and their mother were ready for transport, Boston Animal Control brought the family of ducks to a waterway along the Back Bay Fens, where the family quickly acclimated to their new surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Boston streets.

About ARL Field Services

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

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

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

Protecting Pets During the July 4 Holiday Weekend

Fireworks can trigger anxiety in pets

Fireworks and July 4th go hand-in-hand, however, this is also a time of great anxiety for our pets, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to take extra steps to ensure our pets are safe and calm during the upcoming holiday weekend.

While exciting for us, fireworks can cause behavioral issues in our pets that may last for a long time, and signs to watch out for include: shaking, drooling, howling or barking, pacing, trying to find a place to hide, and loss of bladder control, among others.

When stressed and exhibiting signs of fear, dogs may potentially redirect that fear into an aggressive behavior. Additionally, the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks may also cause a dog to run off. During this time of year, shelters around the nation typically see an increase in lost dog reports.

The first and easiest step to take is to make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags, and if they are microchipped, to be sure that the contact information is current and correct; as a precaution just in case they become lost.

You can also set them up in a quiet, temperature-controlled room with some of their favorite toys, turn on some soft music, a television, or a white noise machine to help drown out the noises caused by fireworks.
If you are concerned about the bright lights, you can also move your pet into a room with no windows, however, you may need to prepare for the chance they may run when the door is opened.

There are also medications to help reduce stress and anxiety, however, this is something that needs to be discussed with your veterinarian to determine which, if any, medication would be appropriate for your pet.

Additional Summer Safety Tips

Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important basic guidelines:

  • Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a cool humidity and temperature-regulated room.
  • If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  • Hydration is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  • Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car — even with the air conditioner on or the windows cracked. Remember, when the temperatures rise, it’s Too Hot for Spot®

More summer safety tips.

ARL Law Enforcement Participates in Important Training Sessions

ARL Law Enforcement offers vital training for local, state, and federal law enforcement

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department recently hosted and participated in two important training sessions involving animal control officers, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the next generation of Massachusetts State Police Troopers.

ARL Hosts HSUS for Court Procedure Training

This past month, the Rabe Family Education and Training Center at ARL’s Dedham Campus hosted a special training in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), to educate animal control officers, veterinarians, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

The training focused on testifying about animal crimes in a courtroom setting, which can present a unique set of challenges for law enforcement.

The four-hour training session focused on special considerations for cases related to intimate partner violence, how to effectively work with witnesses and utilizing experts, and how to effectively navigate cross-examination.

The training session involved more than 100 participants, and organizers were thrilled with the turnout, highlighting that the training will result in future success in cases involving animal cruelty and related crimes.

“There’s a lot of cases that don’t necessarily get the full attention they deserve,” said HSUS Law Enforcement Trainer Erin Aiello. “By training ACO’s so they can take it all the way, having them understand what prosecutors are looking for, what’s important at trial, the importance of them to a judge and a jury, really can make sure these cases are being seen and being valued all the way through the process.”

ARL Law Enforcement and Advocacy Visit MSP Academy

For the past several years, ARL has had the privilege to present to State Trooper cadets at the Massachusetts State Police Academy, and representative from ARL’s Law Enforcement and Advocacy Departments were once again tabbed recently to address the 88th Recruit Training Troop.

During the training session, ARL addressed existing animal cruelty laws, recognizing signs of animal abuse, and how ARL can assist local and state law enforcement agencies in investigating cases of suspected animal cruelty.

ARL is honored to have had this incredible opportunity to instruct the next generation of Massachusetts State Troopers, and look forward to continuing this collaborative effort with the Massachusetts State Police.