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Category: Boston
Trio of Pug Puppies at ARL Through Community-Based Program

ARL’s community-based Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program provides care for parent pets and offspring

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is ready to find homes for a trio of 5-month-old Pug puppies that came to the organization through an innovative community-based program aimed to promote spay/neuter and assist pets as well as the people who care for them.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters is a community-based program established in 2016, and provides complimentary assistance to local families and their pets in the event of an unplanned or unwanted litter.

The program, available at all three ARL locations, provides free spay/neuter services and vaccinations for mother/father cats or dogs.

After surgery, the mother/father pair or individual are returned to their owner. ARL also waives surrender fees for the parent(s) litter of puppies or kittens.

The offspring are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and once eligible, are placed up for adoption.

Aside from offsetting the cost of a spay/neuter surgery, pet owners can be assured their pets will greatly benefit from the surgery, as spaying female dogs and cats helps prevent uterine infection and reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Neutering males can eliminate their risk of testicular cancer and spay/neuter can also help in reducing spraying, wandering and other behavioral concerns.

The three pug puppies, which include two females and a male, still need to undergo spay/neuter surgery, but will be available for adoption very soon.

Anyone in the situation of having an unplanned or unwanted litter of puppies or kittens are urged to contact ARL, and can learn more about Healthy Moms, Happy Litters by contacting ARL’s Boston, Dedham, or Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers.


ARL Caring for Injured, Abandoned Rabbits

Abandoned rabbits found Easter weekend

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for four injured, and abandoned rabbits that were found in a Northborough, MA, neighborhood on Easter weekend.

The rabbits, all estimated to be about a year old, were discovered on Easter weekend on Shady Lane in Northborough, MA, and initially taken in by a wildlife rehabilitator.

Northborough Animal Control contacted ARL seeking assistance with the animals, and the four rabbits were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Several of the rabbits were found with healing wounds, and while it’s unknown how the rabbits ended up on their own, ARL reminds the public that abandoning an animal is never an option.

Not only is abandoning an animal in Massachusetts illegal, but it can endanger the lives of the animals involved.

Domesticated animals like these rabbits cannot survive on their own in the wild.

If you are unable to care for an animal, you are urged to contact local animal control or an organization like ARL to facilitate surrender.

ARL understands that pet ownership can be difficult, and all three ARL Animal Care and Adoption Centers offer a compassionate, judgement-free environment to answer any and all questions and ensure that surrender is the best option for both the animals involved and their caretaker.

These rabbits are incredibly friendly and once their stray period is over they will be made available for adoption.


ARL Community Program Hits 4-Year Mark

Community program launched during Covid-19 pandemic, demand steadily increasing

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is marking the 4th anniversary of a community-based program that continues to see increasing demand and was initially launched during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic to help pet owners in Metro Boston facing financial hardship.

Making a delivery.

Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals and Families Everyday), delivers pet food and other essential pet supplies to clients’ homes and partner-supported community housing, and also provides temporary pet shelter for clients who are facing housing instability or imminent homelessness.

Over the past four years, the program has:

  • Made 781,591 pet meals available
  • Assisted 3,277 pets and families
  • Supported 796 pets through 51 community pet wellness events
  • Helped 153 pets with temporary housing

While the pandemic has largely passed, the financial constraints for many pet owners remains and demand for ARL’s community-based programs has increased over time.

ARL is focused on keeping pets in homes and out of shelters, and thanks to these and other initiatives, the number of animals surrendered from the service areas of Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Hyde Park and East Boston have drastically declined over the past few years.

To contact the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. hotline for assistance, please call (857) 350-8730, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To find out if your pet is eligible for temporary housing and for more information, call (617) 426-9170 and dial the extension of the ARL Admissions office nearest you: Boston x140; Dedham x404; Brewster x305.


Press Release: Hanson Man Arrested on Federal Dogfighting Charges

Operation resulted in the seizure of several pit bull-type dogs

Below is a press release provided by the United States Attorney’s Office — District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Hanson man was arrested today for allegedly possessing dogs at his Massachusetts home for participation in a dogfighting venture.

John Murphy, 50, was indicted on nine counts of possessing animals for use in an animal fighting venture, in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Murphy will appear in federal court in Boston at 10:45 a.m. today.

According to the indictment, Murphy possessed numerous items associated with possessing dogs for participation in an animal fighting venture at his residence in Hanson, Mass., including: intravenous infusion equipment; syringes; antibiotics; injectable anabolic steroids; injectable corticosteroids; a skin stapler; forceps; equipment used to train dogs, including a treadmill, a slat mill, a carpet mill, and a flirt pole; dog training and fighting literature; a hanging digital scale used to weigh dogs for matches; written training regimens; break sticks, used to separate fighting dogs; and a breeding stand used to immobilize female dogs during breeding to prevent harm while mating.

The United States also filed a civil forfeiture complaint against 13 pit bull-type dogs, seized in June 2023 from Murphy’s residence and another residence in Townsend, Mass. As alleged in the civil forfeiture complaint, several of the seized dogs had evidence of scarring. The dogs are currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) being cared for by a USMS-contractor. Pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act, animals involved in violations of 7 U.S.C. § 2156 are subject to forfeiture to the United States.

At both locations where the dogs were seized, as alleged in the civil forfeiture complaint, the following items commonly associated with an illegal dogfighting operation were found: training equipment; veterinary supplies; dog fighting literature, DVDs, and/or CD-ROMs; kennels used to house dogs individually;  and break sticks, which dogfighters use to force open a dog’s bite onto another dog’s body, specifically at the termination of a fight or while training.

The civil forfeiture complaint also alleges that Murphy communicated with other dogfighters via Facebook where they discussed the results of dogfights, injuries sustained by fighting dogs, as well as breeding dogs. It is alleged that Murphy also belonged to private dogfighting Facebook groups used to share fight results, buy and sell fighting dogs and exchange information on training and conditioning fighting dogs, among other things.

It is further alleged that Murphy’s Facebook accounts contained a photo of a pit bull-type dog with scarring and discolorations on its head and leg consistent with that of dogfighting, a photo of a pit bull-type dog restrained in a breeding stand, and videos that depicted pit bull-type dogs physically tethered to treadmill-like-devices commonly used to physically condition dogs in preparation for a dogfight. One video allegedly depicted what appears to be live bait placed at the end of the mill to entice the pit bull-type dog to run faster and harder.

To report animal fighting crimes, please contact your local law enforcement or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General complaint hotline at: https://usdaoig.oversight.gov/hotline or 1-800-424-9121.

The charges of possessing animals for use in an animal fighting venture each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Christopher P. Robinson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region; John E. Mawn Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police; and Joseph F. King, Director of the Animal Rescue League of Boston – Law Enforcement Division made the announcement today.

Valuable assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; U.S. Marshals Service; Maine State Police; New Hampshire State Police; Massachusetts Office of the State Auditor; Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and the Hanson, Boston, and Acton Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danial E. Bennett and Kaitlin J. Brown of the Worcester Branch Office and Trial Attorney Matthew T. Morris of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), Environmental Crimes Section, are prosecuting the case. Carol E. Head, Chief of the Asset Recovery Unit for the District of Massachusetts, and Trial Attorney Caitlyn F. Cook of ENRD’s Wildlife and Marine Resources Section are prosecuting the civil forfeiture case.

The details contained in the charging documents and civil forfeiture complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The United States must establish that the dogs are subject to forfeiture by a preponderance of the evidence.


ARL Gives One-Eyed Puppy the Second Chance She Deserves

Puppy given second chance transported from overcrowded shelter in Mississippi

A nine-week-old puppy is getting the second chance of finding the home and the life she deserves thanks to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

Clementine, an adorable female lab-mix puppy, was found along with her sibling as strays in Mississippi, and while healthy overall, a ruptured corneal ulcer may have changed her outcome.

Along with blindness, a corneal rupture causes severe pain and can also lead to infection if untreated.

The best course of action for Clementine was to remove the eye, and after recovering from surgery, this Southern girl is your typical puppy – sweet, playful, energetic and curious.

ARL is a proud partner of the ASPCA’s Animal Relocation Program, which transports animals from overcrowded shelters throughout the country to shelters like ARL who can offer them the chance for finding the forever home they deserve.

Clementine, her sibling, and about 20 other puppies were part of the most recent transport of pups to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, and it certainly didn’t surprise anyone that on the very first day she was available for adoption, she found her forever family.

Ability for Transports

Thanks to the ongoing community-based efforts of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) to partner with human-service organizations, help local animals in need, and assist pet owners to keep pets out of shelters and in homes, ARL is in a wonderful position to assist shelters in other parts of the country that are faced with overcrowding.

ARL receives puppies, young adult dogs, as well as kittens and cats from other areas of the country on the monthly basis, and all of these animals are provided with the utmost compassion and care until they find their permanent homes.

These animals receive thorough veterinary exams and care, behavioral assessment, and all the attention and love they need before going home.

Without ARL, these animals would face an uncertain future, and the organization is proud to be able to give these animals the second chance they deserve!


ARL Rescues Rain-Soaked Stray Cat at Busy Dedham Shopping Center

Stray cat found huddling under parked car

This past weekend, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department rescued a scared, cold, and rain-soaked stray cat found hiding under a car in the parking garage at Legacy Place, a busy shopping center in Dedham.

A shopper spotted the male cat and contacted Dedham Animal Control and ARL, but also tried luring the cat from underneath the car with a can of tuna fish, but while the cat sniffed at the food he did not move from beneath the vehicle.

Oskar taking it easy at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Once on-scene, the ARL Field Services agents also tried luring the cat with food but also had no luck.

The frightened feline remained steadfast by hissing and growling, but when one ARL agent tried to get closer to the animal, the cat darted out from underneath the car, and ran to a lower level of the garage, finding a garbage dumpster to hide behind.

The two ARL agents on-scene blocked all passageways around the dumpster and were able to catch the cat using nets, and once he was secured in a carrier, the animal was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Although clearly scared and agitated, he did allow pets and ravenously ate when presented with food.

The cat, now named Oskar, is estimated to be 2-years-old, did not have a collar, ID tags or a microchip.

And while in overall good health, ARL’s veterinary team did notice a puncture wound on one of his legs.

He is currently on a stray wait and if anyone does recognize the animal, they should contact ARL’s Dedham location at (617) 426-9170 x605.

 If the cat is unclaimed, he will need to undergo a state-mandated 4-month quarantine due to the wound of unknown origin.

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.


2024 – 2028 Strategic Plan for the Future

Our 2024-2028 Strategic Plan reflects our unwavering commitment to helping animals heal and thrive, keeping pets and people together, and protecting animals from cruelty and neglect. It will ensure we can continue to respond to the needs of animals and support a community in which animals are protected, safe, and healthy – in homes and out of shelters.

We acknowledge that we cannot achieve our vision without investing in our most vital resource, our people. We are committed to making ARL a great place to work and volunteer. We are also committed to investing in our facilities, laying the foundation for our future in Boston by rebuilding a state-of-the-art Animal Care & Adoption Center and Veterinary Hospital.

An ARL staff member holding a small black puppy


Our goals are ambitious but with your help, we can amplify our impact for the future!

    • Goal 1 – Provide high-quality care in our Animal Care and Adoption Centers
    • Goal 2 – Support animal health with our professional services
    • Goal 3 – Keep pets and people together
    • Goal 4 – Improve the lives of animals
    • Goal 5– Invest in our people
    • Goal 6 – Invest in our infrastructure

Learn more about ARL’s 2024 – 2028 Strategic Plan for the Future


ARL Celebrates 125th Anniversary

ARL celebrates 125th anniversary with Anna Harris Smith Day of Service

On March 13, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) marked a momentous milestone, celebrating its 125th anniversary.

ARL held its first meeting in February 1899, but was officially incorporated on March 13, 1899.

To celebrate the occasion, ARL honored its founder with the Anna Harris Smith Day of Service.

The Day of Service included a number of community-based efforts to provide pet care and wellness services, staying true to Anna’s forward-thinking vision.

ARL’s Founder 

Anna Harris Smith, a social worker from Dorchester, took action when she witnessed both the cruel mistreatment of Boston’s working horses, and the hordes of stray and homeless animals living on the streets.

She publicly voiced her opinion in an editorial in the Boston Evening Transcript, advocating for a centrally located shelter for the rescue and care of homeless cats and dogs and remarked, “While getting dogs and cats off the street is work worth doing, the teaching of thoughtful kindness is the work that changes families, communities, and a nation.”

Establishing Boston’s first animal shelter combined with Anna’s fervor for humane education and the growing impact of her work for animals in need, communities across the United States began to take notice – ARL was used as a model for others to form their own rescue societies.

True then as it is today – ARL is much more than a local animal shelter!

Anna committed the rest of her days to helping animals in need, expanding ARL’s services to Dedham and Cape Cod, establishing humane law enforcement, advocating humane education for children, and countless other accomplishments to cement her lasting legacy.

Upon her passing in 1929, the American Humane Association stated “The passing of Mrs. Smith removes the outstanding woman in the history of animal protection in America. So long as humane history is preserved there will stand out among its records the name and fame of Mrs. Smith.”

A Day of Service

On the day of ARL’s anniversary, the organization set out in the communities the organization serves to continue its important work.

ARL was honored by Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn at Boston City Hall, in a resolution commending ARL’s 125-year history and ongoing work and advocacy for animals in need.

ARL’s community-based services were also scattered throughout the city offering pet wellness services to support both pets and the people who care for them.

Activities included ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals and Families Everyday) providing wellness services at a senior housing complex in Dorchester in collaboration with Boston Senior Homecare, ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ providing low-cost pet wellness services in Dorchester in collaboration with Action for Boston Community Development, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ stopping at the Franklin Park Zoo to provide spay and neuter surgeries for more than two dozen pets, the zoo also provided a space for local Keep Pets S.A.F.E. clients to pick up pet food and supplies.

Additional activities included hosting local children at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for “Coloring for Kindness” where kids had the chance to meet the animals and create inspirational anniversary cards to be placed on kennels.

Looking Ahead

Over the past 125 years, ARL has embodied Anna Harris Smith’s vision of thoughtful kindness by helping over 6.2 million animals heal, find homes, and stay with their families, while protecting them from cruelty and neglect.

Keeping true to Anna Harris Smith’s vision, ARL devotes its resources to helping animals thrive, keeping pets and people together, partnering with local non-profit organizations and creating the next generation of compassionate animal advocates.

“Our rich 125-year history is a huge source of pride for us,” says ARL President & CEO, Dr. Edward Schettino. “ARL’s present and future are still rooted in Anna Harris Smith’s original vision and beliefs about animal welfare, its intersection with human well-being, and what our role must be in maintaining both.”


ARL Rescues Community Cat and Kittens from New Bedford Restaurant Ceiling

Community cats savvy at finding warm and safe spaces

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department rescued a community cat and her neonatal kittens who found themselves in a safe but precarious place – the ceiling of a New Bedford restaurant.

ARL has not received permission from the establishment and will be omitting the name of the restaurant.

According to staff and a local community cat feeder, the mom cat had shown up a couple of weeks earlier, however, concern began to grow once staff started to hear kittens mewing.

Due to the concern, the establishment contacted ARL.

Once on-scene, ARL Field Services agents were able to spot the kittens through a space between walls and a hole in the ceiling.

With one agent acting as a spotter, the second agent was able to reach into the space to scoop up the four neonatal kittens, and safely secure them for transport.

Once secured, agents worked to capture the mom cat by luring her with food and kittens sounds, but while she came near, she wouldn’t come close enough to trap.

Agents placed a humane trap in the ceiling space, and transported the kittens to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for veterinary care and treatment.

Staff at the restaurant reported the mom cat went into the trap at around 11 p.m., and agents returned the next day to pick up the mom cat, transporting her to Boston to be reunited with her kittens.

The cat family has been placed into foster care to allow the mom cat a quiet environment to care for her kittens.

At just three-weeks-old, the kittens need time before they can be weened from their mother and find forever homes.

The mom cat will be spayed and will also be made available for adoption in the near future.

Community Cats

Community cats are incredibly resilient, and have a knack to find shelter for themselves and their offspring.

However, kittens born this time of year are incredibly vulnerable to the elements and other potential dangers and ARL urges the public that if a cat with offspring are discovered, to contact ARL Field Services for assistance.

ARL Field Services can be reached by calling (617) 426-9170 x563.


Severely Burned Cat Continues to Recover

Burned cat suffered second/third-degree burns covering more than 50 percent of body

We first introduced Era in December, a severely burned cat who was facing a long road to recovery, and her ongoing journey to heal continues at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

The cat suffered burns covering over half her body, and has endured months of painful and invasive treatments to promote healing — and her progress has been amazing.

a gray and white cat wearing a veterinary cone

a gray and white cat lying down wearing a veterinary cone

Era was found in a work shed in Oxford, MA, in November, and once the extent of her injuries was realized, Oxford Animal Control contacted ARL for assistance and the cat was transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for treatment.

ARL’s veterinary team assessed that second and third-degree burns were covering over half her body, and treatment has consisted of pain management and twice-weekly wound debridement to remove dead skin and exposing the new skin underneath to promote healing.

Initially it was unknown whether Era would be able to overcome her injuries, however, she is incredibly resilient and has responded very well to treatment, and will indeed get the second chance at life that she deserves.

It is still unknown what caused the burns and whether it was an intentional act, but ARL’s primary focus has been saving the animal’s life and preparing her for the next chapter in her life.

Era’s path to recovery is nearly complete, but with her healing at about 80 percent, she still has a way to go before going home.

How You Can Help

Era’s cost of care has exceeded $20,000, and ARL is asking the public for their continued support in helping Era and animals like her.

The cost of her care is roughly $1,000-1,500 per week and it is likely she’ll have to undergo at least another month of treatment before being adopted.

Anyone interested in supporting Era and animals like her can visit arlboston.org/donate.