Category: Boston
Update: Lost Pup Undergoes Hip Replacement Surgery

Charlotte recovering but remains fearful

ARL first told you about Charlotte, a 10-month-old mixed-breed puppy in late September, when she was found in Belmont, MA, after being lost for a month. It’s miraculous she was able to survive on her own for that amount of time.

Charlotte was emaciated, weighing just 23 pounds when she was found, and also suffered from a fracture in the balled-end of the femur, which connects to the hip joint. To alleviate the pain and discomfort and to avoid lasting impacts, ARL Shelter Medicine Staff decided that a complete hip replacement was necessary.

Charlotte’s surgery was successful, and is now well on her way to recovery.

However, like many animals who are transported from the South, Charlotte was under-socialized and remains fearful of new people, places and other animals. But that’s where ARL’s behavioral experts come in.

Charlotte is currently in foster care, where there are other dogs in the home. She is learning to be around other animals, and is also becoming braver by the day with new people. Despite her skittishness, Charlotte is extremely friendly and does warm up fairly quickly.

Animals are of course resilient, and Charlotte will continue her physical and mental recovery, and will hopefully be made available for adoption soon.

Have a Behavioral Questions?

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

Help Charlotte and Other Animals Like Her

ARL Shelter Medicine provides all levels of high-quality care – from wellness exams to complex surgeries. ARL’s Behavioral Department evaluates every dog and cat that enters ARL’s facilities and then tailors an individual plan to help the animal overcome behavioral issues and blossom.

Our goal is to ensure that animals are healthy and happy, and it’s because of the support of caring and compassionate people like you who make this possible. Please consider a donation to ARL today to help Charlotte and other animals like her.

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Winter is here – ARL reminds pet owners to protect animals from the cold

Winter is finally here in New England, and with the first extreme cold snap upon us, 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 arctic blast, 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!
  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. Check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Unfortunately, this method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.

The chill can kill! So bottom line, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pet to be outside.


Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) Signed into Law

President Trump signed into law the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or the PACT Act. The PACT Act is the first felony animal cruelty charge at the federal level.

The PACT Act may be the first felony animal cruelty law at the federal level, but it is a continuation of work that began almost 20 years ago. In 1999, Congress passed a law prohibiting creation, sale, and ownership of so called “animal crush videos.” These videos, a cruel and horrific depiction, were not illegal under any federal law. This 1999 law sought to stop the spread of these videos by targeting the videos themselves. However, there were concerns about the wording of the original law, and in 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States found the law was unconstitutional on the basis that the wording was broad and vague. After this setback, Congress passed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010. This law more narrowly prohibited the creation and distribution of such videos, but failed to criminalize the underlying animal cruelty in these videos.

Animal advocates have pushed for years to include these protections at the federal level, and finally, in 2019, we have a federal felony for the worst kinds of animal cruelty. This law prohibits conduct where mammals are “purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury…” Federal laws have limits as to what they can reach. To be a federal crime, it has to affect interstate commerce, or occur on federal lands. What this means practically is that many animal cruelty cases, which do not go across state lines, and may not include interstate commerce, can only be prosecuted at the state level. However, the omnipresent use of the internet brings “interstate commerce” into our lives almost every day.  

Animal cruelty is illegal in all 50 states. However, this law gives law enforcement another tool to stop the most horrendous of acts towards animals, often done for monetary gain.

ARL Advocacy in Action
The Animal Rescue League of Boston continues to support legislation that enhances and improves protections for animals. Click here to view our 2019-2020 Legislative Agenda.


Justice for J.T.

Salem Man Sentenced for Killing Kitten

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) congratulates the Salem Police Department and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, as a Salem man was recently sentenced for punching and stabbing a kitten to death in January.

Peter Rice of Salem, pleaded guilty this past week to animal cruelty and carrying a dangerous weapon charges at Salem Superior Court. He was sentenced to two years in jail, followed by three years probation.

While watching his neighbor’s kitten named J.T., Rice told police be began punching and then stabbing the kitten after the animal scratched him while he was playing video games. He then buried the kitten under some leaves in a barrel on a nearby sidewalk.

As the investigation unfolded, ARL Law Enforcement was contacted and provided forensic assistance and expertise during the investigative process.

ARL wishes to again thank the Salem Police Department and Essex County District Attorney’s Office for their perseverance and steadfast commitment to stand up and speak for a defenseless animal who suffered unimaginable cruelty.

Providing Expertise and Support

ARL Law Enforcement works with local, state and federal agencies to investigate animal abuse, cruelty and neglect.

In 2018, ARL investigated cruelty and neglect cases involving nearly 3,000 animals, resulting in 56 prosecutions.

We cannot do this work alone. ARL receives no government grants or public funding and relies on individuals like you to support this important work.

If you donate to ARL today, your gift will have DOUBLE the impact,  and help ARL continue to confront animal cruelty, abuse and neglect.

5 Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Should Avoid

Keep your pup joyful and healthy this holiday with these helpful tips

Thanksgiving is a time to savor delicious food, enjoy the company of our family and friends, and to show gratitude for all that we are thankful for in our lives.

While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to remember that our furry companions cannot indulge in the same feasts that we prepare for ourselves. Some of the common Thanksgiving foods that fill our plate can actually be very dangerous for your pet to ingest.

Here are the 5 Thanksgiving foods that your dog should avoid:

  1. Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.
  2. Fat trimmings and fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest. In fact, consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease can include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.
  3. Dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, so the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.
  4. Mushrooms can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.
  5. Raisins and grapes, although the causes of their toxicity are unknown, can cause kidney failure in dogs.

The best way for your pet to partake in the holiday cheer? Stick with traditional treats that are safe for dogs and cats! Food puzzles and interactive toys like a Kong filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your canine entertained and feeling satisfied all holiday long.

Bonus tip: Keep your vet’s emergency number handy. Should your pet become ill, contact your pet’s veterinarian or the local animal hospital’s number! A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. 

Time to Find a Home!

Abandoned Pitbull Recovering After Complex Heart Procedure

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is ecstatic to report that Gunner, the nine-month-old Pitbull-type dog that recently underwent a complex heart procedure, is making a fast recovery and is now ready to find his forever home!

Gunner suffers from Pulmonic Stenosis – a genetic heart defect that restricts blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

He underwent a Balloon Valvuloplasty (BV) procedure, which places a special balloon catheter across the stenotic pulmonic valve and then inflated to create a larger opening to allow better blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

Although starved and abandoned, Gunner has always displayed a friendly, outgoing and excitable personality, and since his procedure, he’s even more excited!

Ready to Go Home

**Update 12/9: Gunner has been adopted!**

With his surgery complete, Gunner is now ready to find his forever home.

While recovering wonderfully post-surgery, those interested in adopting Gunner will need to consider the medical factors before taking him home.

Upon adoption Gunner will need a recheck echocardiogram in 3-6 months, and then every 1-2 years after that.

Because Gunner’s first BV procedure went so well, the likelihood of an additional surgery at this point is low, however it may become necessary in the future.

Gunner is currently in a foster home, but anyone interested in meeting this amazing pup can contact ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center to set up an appointment.

Double Your Impact for Animals Like Gunner!

With routine medical care, diagnostic testing, surgery, follow-up-care and rehabilitation, the cost of correcting Gunner’s heart problem was an expensive endeavor. However, Gunner is just one example of the extraordinary care ARL’s shelter medicine staff provides to every animal who comes into our care.

This level of care is not possible without your support. ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals like you to make a difference, and in Gunner’s case – save a life.

By donating to ARL today, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar to double your impact!

ARL Law Enforcement Assisting Melrose Police in Cruelty Investigation

Suspect Allegedly Beat Dog to Death, Buried in Back Yard

An alleged brutal and reprehensible act of animal cruelty unfolded in Melrose, MA, over the weekend, as Police in the town have arrested a 44-year-old man for allegedly killing his own dog, and then burying the animal in the back yard.

Upon receiving the initial complaint, Melrose Police contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department for assistance in assembling and executing a search warrant for the property.

For local news coverage of this story, click here and to see Melrose Police Department’s press release click here.

Police allege that the suspect dragged the dog into the back yard, striking it repeatedly in the head with a rock until the animal was deceased. The suspect then allegedly grabbed a shovel and buried the animal in the back yard.

The execution of the search warrant allowed police to locate and exhume the body of the animal, which was taken into the custody of ARL. The dog is slated to undergo a necropsy today.

“This suspect’s alleged actions are absolutely reprehensible and inexcusable,” Melrose Police Chief Michael Lyle said. “I’m grateful for the excellent investigative work of Melrose Police Sgt. Brian Ladner, Detective Sgt. Paul McNamara, Officer Pamela Daye and Lt. Alan Borgal of the Animal Rescue League of Boston that resulted in this arrest.”

ARL Law Enforcement is honored to be assisting the Melrose Police Department and wants to thank Melrose PD for their quick and swift action regarding this reprehensible incident.

The suspect will be arraigned on Tuesday, and ARL Law Enforcement will continue to assist Melrose Police in any way possible during the investigative process to ensure the culprit of this callous and brutal act of violence against a defenseless animal is held responsible.

Stay tuned for further updates as this story develops.

DONATE NOW to DOUBLE your impact for animals

On December 3, ARL will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving back to the charities nearest and dearest to our hearts.

To celebrate this day of giving, our Board of Directors, past Board members, and President, have teamed up to offer a special challenge: Raise $120,000 and they will match it!

Our match goal is especially meaningful – this year we are marking the 120th anniversary of the founding of ARL. As we look ahead to the next 120 years, your generosity and kindness will ensure that ARL remains an unwavering champion for animals in need.

Make your gift between now and December 3 to make your life-saving gift go further for animals in need.  Your gift will be DOUBLED and help provide:

Symbolic gifts

Our #GivingTuesday goal is ambitious: $240,000 in 24 hours.  You can help make it happen!

Here are TWO ways to get involved to help make TWICE the difference!

  • Make your gift today! No need to wait and the deadline is tomorrow at midnight
  • Help spread the word! Share with your fellow animal lovers by sharing this post or posts on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

    Tune into our special, #GivingTuesday Facebook Live videos

    Monday, December 2, 2019 

    1:00 PM: ARL Shelter Veterinarian, Dr.Forline, introduces Gunner, a 10-month-old Pitbull-type dog who recently underwent heart surgery and is looking for a forever home. Click here to watch
    5:30 PM: Meet Tippie, a Cerebellar Hypoplasia kitty adopted from our Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center earlier this year. Click here to watch

    Tuesday, December 3, 2019
    1:00 PM: Update on Charlotte with ARL’s Behavior & Enrichment Manager, Laney Nee. Click here to watch
    5:30 PM: Why your #GivingTuesday gift matters TWICE as much to animals in need with ARL’s President, Mary Nee. Click here to watch

Almost 60% of ARL’s funding comes in during the last quarter of the year – and most of it during the last two weeks in December.
  Your #GivingTuesday gift is essential to helping us reach our goal before the year ends.

THANK YOU to our Board of Directors, past Board members, and President for offering this amazing challenge!

Barbara Burg & Priscilla Golding

David Cawley & Lisa Buesking

Randi Cohen & Al Ossorio

Richard Davey & Jane Willis

Jeffrey A. Kaplan

Richard Kelly & Carol Akerson

Dr. Holly Kelsey

Walter & Elizabeth Kenyon

Lee Ann & Michael Leahy

Neal G. Litvack

Malcolm McDonald & Susan Passoni

Kelly & Brian McKernan

Christina & Daniel Nagler

Mary Nee & James Chapin

Tara & Christophe Oliver

Alisa Plazonja

Heather & Park Ridill

Malisa & Andrew Schuyler

Press Release: ARL Removes 80 Animals from Overcrowding Situations

Cats and Kittens Found Living in Deplorable Conditions

Over the past two weeks, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement and Field Services Departments have removed 80 cats and kittens from two different overcrowding situations in Bristol and Plymouth Counties.

For local press coverage click here!

These cases highlight the importance of recognizing the signs of hoarding, seeking help when overwhelmed, and having pets spayed and neutered. These are on-going issues across the Commonwealth and ARL believes it’s important for the public to be aware and to take action.

The most recent incident happened along the South Shore, where approximately 50 cats and kittens have been discovered in squalid conditions in a small apartment after the tenants had been evicted.

The initial visit to the apartment netted 34 cats, however ARL has made several return trips to the home, which led to the discovery of another 16 cats. Traps continue to be set and checked and more cats may be rescued.

The owner of the cats was clearly overwhelmed, and the case highlights the importance of seeking help when overwhelmed, and having pets spayed or neutered.

Initially there were just three cats in the home. However in a period of just a couple of years, the population exploded to more than 50. Unfortunately several deceased cats were found in the dwelling.

The cats are currently at ARL’s Boston and Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers and are undergoing medical and behavioral evaluations. The animals are under-socialized and will need a period to adjust to their surroundings and human contact.

Bristol County Incident

The Bristol County situation unfolded during the last week of October, and began with a welfare check by local police. The end result was the removal of 29 cats.

Due to the high levels of ammonia in the home and safety concerns, local health officials would not allow ARL Law Enforcement and Field Services Departments to enter the dwelling without respirators with the highest-filtration-level charcoal filters to protect on-site workers.

With the help of local animal control officers, the 29 cats were removed from the home in about four hours, and transported to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers for evaluation and treatment.

The local building inspector and board of health condemned the home.

The majority of cats from this situation were socialized and friendly, and some have already found forever homes.

There were however, several animals with medical concerns that are commonly associated with animal overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

A number of cats are suffering from upper respiratory infections, several had fleas and dry skin, and one cat required an eye to be removed.

As the health of these animals improves, they will be available for adoption once they are medically cleared.

Resources are Available

ARL reminds the public that there are resources available should you or someone you know show signs of hoarding. The state website https://www.mass.gov/hoarding has a number of useful tools and resources available to the public.

For spay and neuter, there are also a number of resources available for those who may not be able to afford the surgery.

ARL operates the Spay Waggin’, which makes stops along the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and offers low-cost spay and neuter services.

There is also a voucher program funded by the Massachusetts Animal Fund, which ARL participates in.

Abandoned Pitbull to Undergo Complex Heart Procedure

Starved, abandoned, and now facing a complex heart procedure.

For Gunner, this nine-month-old Pitbull-type dog has already had to overcome many things in his young life and his upcoming surgery will be his biggest challenge.

Gunner suffers from Pulmonic Stenosis – a genetic heart defect that restricts blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

Since coming to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in September after being found abandoned on a rural road in Bellingham, shelter veterinary staff have conducted exams, diagnostic testing, external consults – all in an effort to decide the best course of action.

ARL believes that every animal deserves the chance to enjoy a happy and healthy life, and for Gunner, that means undergoing a Balloon Valvuloplasty (BV) procedure.

During the BV procedure, a specialized balloon catheter will be placed across the stenotic pulmonic valve and inflated to create a larger opening to allow better blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

Like any surgery there are risks, however with such a severe case of Pulmonic Stenosis, doing nothing is a greater risk.

“Without surgery, Gunner would be at-risk for syncope (fainting due to lack of oxygen and nutrients provided to the brain by blood flow), exercise intolerance, congestive heart failure, and in very rare cases sudden death” said ARL shelter veterinarian Dr. Emily Forline.

Gunner will undergo surgery this week, and after recovering from the procedure, will be available for adoption – just in time for the holidays!

Extraordinary Care

With routine medical care, diagnostic testing, surgery, follow-up-care and rehabilitation, the cost of correcting Gunner’s heart problem is an expensive endeavor. However, Gunner is just one example of the extraordinary care ARL’s shelter medicine staff provides to every animal who comes into our care.

This level of care is not possible without your support. ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals like you to make a difference, and in Gunner’s case – save a life.

Please consider donating today to help Gunner and other animals like him.

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