Category: Boston
ARL Takes in 27 Cats from Overcrowding Situation

One cat diagnosed with rare congenital condition

In early February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) worked with local animal control to take in in 27 cats from a home in Worcester County due to overcrowding.

The caretaker had simply become overwhelmed by the number of cats in the home, and requested surrender of the majority of the animals.

These types of situations can be extremely delicate and more often than not, this case included, the animals are truly loved, however, due to the sheer number of animals, the caretaker was unable to provide proper care.

Once removed from the residence, the cats were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The animals underwent thorough veterinary exams, and along with signs of ear mites and fleas, a number of the cats were also treated for upper respiratory infections, which is a common byproduct of overcrowding.

ARL’s shelter medicine team also spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped all of the cats.

After a time of recuperation, many of the cats were placed up for adoption and found loving homes.

Additionally, local animal control and town health officials continue working with the caretaker to improve the living situation, and because tremendous progress has been made, three of the cats have been returned to the home.

Cat Diagnosed with Rare Congenital Condition

A few of the cats remain in the care of ARL, including a 3-year-old male cat named Chubbins, who was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism, a rare condition for cats.

Thyroid hormones are critical for the development of the nervous and skeletal systems, and an underactive thyroid can create a number of symptoms including lethargy, mental dullness, cold intolerance, loss of fur, among others.

The condition can also cause smaller than normal proportions, which is the case for Chubbins.

While 3-years-old, Chubbins has the body frame of a 8-10-month-old kitten and weighs just 5 pounds – a typical cat this age should weight around 11 pounds.

Chubbins is receiving thyroid hormone replacement therapy, and while responding well to the medication, he will need to spend some time in foster care before being made available for adoption.

ARL Here to Help

If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by having too many animals in their home, there is help available.

You can contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

Overcrowding can lead to serious health concerns not only for the animals, but for people living among them as well.

ARL approaches every overcrowding situation with respect, compassion, and a staunch commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the animals involved, as well as their caretakers.

Click here to make a donation today. 

Cat Living on Streets for 10 Years Finds Home for Retirement

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Community Cat Program was launched in 2017 to address the estimated 700,000 community cats, 70,000 in Boston alone, living in the harsh condition of the streets.

ARL helps these animals by working with a number of sources, including animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth, as well as local residents who monitor and feed community cats.

It was the latter that led to the recent rescue of a 10-year-old female cat that had been living in a Brighton neighborhood for a decade.

The Rescue

Thelma’s feeder contacted ARL, saying they could no longer monitor the cat.

ARL headed to the neighborhood and trapped the feisty female, transporting her to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Thelma was ear-tipped, meaning she had been spayed in the past and returned to the field, and had been living on her street longer than most of its residents.

Community cats like Thelma are incredibly resilient, surviving the harsh seasonal conditions New England has to offer, and avoiding predators and scrums with other community cats.

While having a feeder, Thelma did not have regular veterinary care, and it showed.

Along with the visible signs of a cat living on her own for a decade, she was a little underweight, and had advanced dental disease.

ARL’s shelter medicine team provided Thelma with a thorough veterinary exam, dental care, which included several tooth extractions, and vaccines.

Coming Out of Her Shell

Of course, Thelma wasn’t used to being indoors, and like any community cat, was keenly aware of her surroundings and on guard.

While initially showing a tough exterior when interacting with ARL staff and volunteers, the toughness faded after a few minutes of petting with a rolling purr and even a little drool!

With her tough exterior and heart of gold, it was clear that Thelma would thrive in a home.

Thelma spent a few weeks in foster care to allow her time to get used to being indoors, and she was soon ready to find her retirement home.

Going Home

Thelma became available for adoption just this week, and to nobody’s surprise she found her perfect match quickly!

Every animal deserves the opportunity to be in a loving home, and Thelma is a shining example of ARL’s commitment to helping community cats living in our communities.

Click here to search adoptable animals. 

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

Community cats face many challenges living outdoors.

Without proper shelter and care, they are at risk of illness and injury.

Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters and continue the cycle of large colonies of unowned cats.

As an unwavering champion for animals in need, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) believes that the challenges that face community cats require our attention and action.

Click here for more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program and how you can help.

Press Release: ARL Law Enforcement, Dedham PD Investigating Deceased Dog Left on ARL Dedham Campus

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department and Dedham Police Department are jointly investigating a case of animal cruelty and abandonment, after an emaciated deceased dog was found on ARL’s Dedham campus.

The animal was discovered in late October, and while a number of leads have been followed, and numerous investigative tactics have been deployed, law enforcement is now asking for the public’s assistance to determine who may have left the dog and circumstances surrounding the incident.

The young adult Pitbull-type male dog was discovered by an ARL employee on October 25, 2021, with ARL Law Enforcement taking immediate action. A necropsy on the dog was performed on October 26, 2021, and concluded the animal suffered from severe malnutrition.

ARL Law Enforcement reached out to Dedham Police shortly thereafter, and the two agencies have since been jointly investigating the incident. Surveillance footage revealed that on October 23, 2021 at approximately 11:17 p.m., an SUV-type vehicle with two unidentified people inside entered ARL property and proceeded to leave the animal on a walkway before exiting the property.

Analysis of the video revealed that the suspect vehicle is likely a Nissan Rogue.

Anyone with information can contact ARL Law Enforcement at (617) 470-4266 x110 or email cruelty@arlboston.org, or Dedham Police Detective Kevin Mahoney at (781) 751-9301 or email kmahoney@police.dedham-ma.gov.

ARL Law Enforcement would like to thank the Dedham Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab, and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office for their ongoing assistance in investigating this matter.

Legislature Advances Bills Backed by ARL

This past week featured a flurry of activity on Beacon Hill, particularly for animal-based legislation, as several ARL priorities advanced.

Nero’s Law

Nero’s Law, filed after the tragic death of Sgt. Sean Gannon and wounding of his K9 partner Nero, was signed into law by the Governor.

Filed by staunch animal advocates Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Steven Xiarhos, this law will insure that police dogs like Nero have access to emergency care and transport.

ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement Joe King, former K9 handler and Major with the Massachusetts State Police, testified in support of this law earlier in the session.


With Hawaii joining the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact last year, Massachusetts is now the only state that is not a member.

Unfortunately, this means that Massachusetts is not a part of the network of 49 other states who share violations of hunting violations.

Massachusetts came one step closer to joining when the anti-poaching bill, filed by Representative Lori A. Ehrlich, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and Senator Michael Moore, passed the House on February 9.

The bill is now in front of the Senate, where it has passed in previous sessions.

Joint Rule 10

One of the most important deadlines in the two-year legislative session is called “Joint Rule 10 Day”.

This year, February 2 was the deadline for bills to get initial approval, denial, or other action by committees.

Joint Committees are grouped by topics, and most of ARL’s bills go to committees like Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture; or Judiciary, but bills can go to any committee.

These committees hold hearings and then decide whether bills get favorable reports, adverse reports, or sent to study.

Occasionally committees will group bills together and issue a new draft that is a combination of similar bills.

Many of ARL’s priority issues were given favorable reports: kennel regulations (S.1322), a ban on traveling animal acts (S.2251), regulation of boarding facilities (S.582, H.949).

Earlier in the session, a ban on unnecessary declawing also advanced from committee (S.222).

Several of ARL’s priorities were combined into one bill that would: expand the possession ban on animal ownership for convicted animal abusers, expand civil citation authority to more animals, allow DCF employees to report animal abuse at any point in an investigation, and increase funding to the Homeless Animal Fund (S. 2672).

This year, all of the bills ARL opposed were sent to study.

This is a great win to defend animal protection measures, but there are still efforts to expand hunting and trapping.

Unfortunately, several of ARL’s priority bills were also sent to study.

Efforts to ban the retail sale of pets, end breed discrimination in housing, and increase enforcement of tethering violations will not move forward this session.

Many bills are filed multiple times before passing, making it even more noteworthy when bills are able to move forward.

Thank You!

Advancing bills on Beacon Hill is no small feat, and we couldn’t do it without the help of incredible volunteers.

The session isn’t close to over—there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and help get these bills across the finish line and on the Governor’s desk before the end of session on July 31.

Contact advocacy@arlboston.org with any questions, or for ways to get involved.


Cat Rescued from Tree Ready for Adoption

There is no such thing as a routine rescue of a cat stuck in a tree, it’s always a precarious situation, and presents safety concerns for both the humans and animals involved.

In late January, the Animal of Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department was contacted by animal control in Mansfield, MA, to assist with a cat that had been stuck at the very top of a tree for more than 12 hours.

The four-year-old cat, later named Henry, was approximately 30 feet from the ground, and once on scene, ARL’s Field Services agent and Mansfield Animal Control deployed nets around the tree and began to assess the situation – however, Henry didn’t want to wait.

Henry was dangling from a branch, and was also frightened and exhausted. As he was trying to get his footing he lost his balance, and tumbled towards the ground.

The nets did their job, providing a soft landing for the cat, and while frightened, he was able to be safely secured, and was then rushed to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for triage and veterinary care.

ARL’s shelter medicine staff gave Henry a thorough exam, and along with finding a heart murmur, Henry also had a number of abrasions from his experience in the tree.

Henry was overcome with fatigue following his harrowing ordeal, but knew he was in a caring and nurturing environment, and once settled in, he ate heartily and began the healing process.

Ready to Go Home

Thanks to have a quiet place to rest and recuperate, Henry quickly began to showcase his personality.

The handsome cat would welcome anyone who would come and visit, headbutting hands, purring loudly, and curling up in the laps of staff and volunteers.

With his tree ordeal behind him, Henry is now ready to find his perfect match!

To see Henry’s profile, click here.

ARL Field Services

As part of its Community Outreach programs, ARL’s Field Services provides technical (tree climbing and swift/ice water) and non-technical rescues for injured domestic animals – including community cats, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, ospreys, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

For more information about ARL’s Field Services click here!

It’s National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month!

Spay and Neutering Pets Promotes Health and Longevity

For all of us, the health and well-being of our beloved family pets is paramount; and the simplest way to reduce nuisance and aggressive behaviors, improve long-term health and longevity, is to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered.

February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, and here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), we field questions about spay and neuter on a daily basis which typically revolve around two issues – cost and understanding the real and long-term benefits for you and your pet.

Affordable Options Exist

Don’t let cost be a barrier, as there are numerous affordable options throughout Massachusetts that are readily available.

Be sure to talk with your veterinarian about your best course of action, but here are a couple of options.

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is a mobile veterinary clinic offering high-quality and affordable spay and neuter services. The Spay Waggin’ rotates through the following stops throughout Southeastern Massachusetts: Brockton, Boston, Falmouth, New Bedford, North Dartmouth, Plymouth, Taunton, and Wareham. The Spay Waggin’ has performed over 66,800 spay/neuter surgeries since its inception.

Another place to turn is your local Animal Control Officer. The Massachusetts Animal Fund’s spay and neuter voucher program allows low-income residents receiving state assistance to get their pets this important surgery free of charge. Vouchers can be obtained through your city or town’s Animal Control Officer and are redeemed at participating providers, including ARL’s Spay Waggin’ and Community Surgical Clinic.

By the way, you can help keep this program going by donating on your state tax form on line 33f!

Long-Term Health Benefits

Caring for animals can be expensive, especially when it comes to their health. But consider this – having your pet spayed or neutered can reduce the risk of serious, and costly, health problems later in life.

Neutering male dogs and cats before six months of age prevents testicular cancer and spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat reduces the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer.
Spaying and neutering can also reduce behavioral problems such as marking territory, howling or barking, aggression and wandering.

We all want our pets to live long and healthy lives, and having an animal spayed or neutered actually increases their longevity. According to published reports, neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than unneutered males, and spayed females live 23 percent longer than spayed females.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

How about if you have a pet at home with an unwanted or accidental litter of puppies or kittens? No problem, the Animal Rescue League of Boston can help.

Through the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program, ARL will provide free spay and neuter services and vaccinations for mother/father dogs and cats. Once the procedure is complete, and animals are returned to the owner.

ARL will also waive the surrender fee for the litter of puppies or kittens, who will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and placed up for adoption.

Remember, there are an abundance of resources and help available to those who need it so please consider having your pet spayed or neutered for their happiness, their health, and for your piece of mind.

Community Cat Found Living in Storm Drain Seeking New Home

Community cats are incredibly adept when it comes to finding a warm, safe place to escape the elements.

While Bagel, a 3-year-old now former community cat, had found the comfort and safety of a storm drain in Fall River, it was the compassion of his feeder who took it upon themselves to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department – just days before a historic blizzard descended upon the region.

Bagel upon arrival in Boston.

During his time living in the storm drain, he was constantly monitored and fed by a Good Samaritan while he was roaming a nearby grocery store parking lot. Upon arrival at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, Bagel made up for lost time, eating everything in sight and relaxing in his nice, warm bedding.

Bagel began interacting with ARL staff and volunteers fairly quickly, meowing for attention, purring, and accepting pets and treats, making it clear that he was friendly and would thrive if given the chance to find and family and a home of his own.

Despite his friendly demeanor, Bagel did have signs of living on his own for a period of time and was also involved in an altercation or two with another cat at some point.

Along with dental disease, Bagel had several teeth that were fractured and needed to be extracted.

Additionally, he had conjunctivitis, and also tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which is spread by bite wounds between cats, but cannot be transmitted to people.

Ready to Go Home

**Update 2/2/22: Bagel has been adopted!**

After extensive dental work and being neutered, Bagel has recovered and is now looking for his new home!

For more information about Bagel and how to inquire about adoption, click here!

ARL’s Community Cat Program

It is estimated that there are more than 700,000 community cats throughout Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone.

Community cats face many challenges living outdoors. Without proper shelter and care, they are at risk of illness and injury.

Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters and continue the cycle of large colonies of unowned cats.

ARL’s Community Cat Program tackles this issue by working with individuals who take it upon themselves to feed and monitor these animals, as well as animal control officers to assess a colony and formulate a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) plan.

Spay and neuter surgeries are low risk and proven to improve the safety and health of these cats as well as the community as a whole. The plan also includes vaccines, and whether each cat will be returned to the colony, returned to their owner if microchipped, or admitted to an ARL shelter to be put up for adoption if they are friendly, just like Bagel.

For more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program, click here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Nicole Breda

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

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

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

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

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

Join ARL in congratulating Dr. Breda!

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

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

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

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

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

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