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Category: Boston
5 Reasons Spay/Neuter is Good for Pets AND the People Who Love Them

Animal Rescue League of Boston to host #ARLAskaVet twitter chat on World Spay Day

Boston, MA – According to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), a large portion of the companion animals coming into the organization’s shelters comes from unplanned litters of kittens and puppies.  National studies have also found that among pet owners who indicate their pets had at least one litter,  59% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners described the litter as “unintentional” or “accidental.” 

“Spay/neuter represents one of the most humane ways to lessen the number of homeless animals in our communities,” explains Dr. Edward Schettino, director of veterinary medical services at the ARL.  “The surgery comes with low risks and offers a variety of benefits to pets and the people who love them.”

01-11-14 Dr Schettino

In recognition of Spay/Neuter Awareness Month this February, the ARL encourages pet owners to consider the following five reasons to spay/neuter companion animals:

  1. Reduce the cost of pet ownership.  Particularly given the number of low-cost options available in Massachusetts, the cost of caring for an unplanned litter far outweighs the cost of having a pet spayed/neutered.
  2. Diminish nuisance behaviors.  Neutering resolves the vast majority of marking behaviors—even when a cat has a long-standing habit.  Howling in cats and excessive barking in dogs eases and even disappears after surgery.
  3. Prevent aggressive behaviors.  According to the National Canine Research Foundation, approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered.  Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their urge to roam and fight with other males.
  4. Increase longevity.  The USA Today reports neutered male dogs live 18% longer than unneutered males, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed females.
  5. Improve health outlook.  Neutering males cats and dogs before six months of age prevents testicular cancer.  Spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat offers protection from uterine infections and breast cancer. 

Animal Rescue League of Boston Shares Happy Update on Oliver Twist

Severely emaciated puppy discovered by kind FedEx driver is home for holidays

Boston, MA – This past April, a kind FedEx driver named Jeff called the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after spotting a severely emaciated puppy shivering in the cold and wandering the streets along his delivery route.  The ARL’s Rescue Services Team immediately responded to the call, and were stunned by what they found.

“We could see his bones jutting through his skin,” describes Danielle Genter, senior rescue technician at the ARL. “When we found him, he just stumbled over to us.”

oliver4

When the ARL’s Rescue Service Team first saw Oliver Twist, they were stunned by his severely emaciated condition.

At the ARL’s Boston adoption center, the frail little pup received immediate medical attention along with the name Oliver Twist. On the Purina body condition scale a score of “9” is considered obese and “1” is extremely lean; Oliver scored less than 1. He was also diagnosed with a bacterial infection.

Over the next few weeks, Oliver’s condition stabilized. He was placed on a progressive re-feeding schedule and soon began to eat on his own. ARL veterinarians checked him daily to ensure that he was gaining the expected amount of weight and treated his infection. He also received lots of love and attention from adoption center staff.

The ARL’s Center for Animal Protection put out requests for information to identify who so severely neglected Oliver. To date, however, a suspect has not been found.

With special care and attention, Oliver was ready for a home just a few weeks after his rescue.   After seeing Oliver’ story on the news, Billie Jean Nebesky and her daughter felt an instant connection with him. “We knew he needed us and we needed him,” said Nebesky.

They adopted him at the end of April and happily report that today, he has made himself completely at home for the holidays.

Oliver twist with stick in new home

Today, Oliver Twist is happy and healthy. He especially loves to fetch sticks in the woods near his home.

“If we sit down in a chair, Oliver will immediately join you and cuddle,” smiles his new mom. “He clearly knows he is part of our family.”

About the Animal Rescue League of Boston

Founded in 1899, the Animal Rescue League of Boston is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need.
At the beginning of December, the ARL launched “Home for the Holidays,” a month-long community outreach campaign to encourage adoption and support for shelter animals. By featuring stories of animals rescued from cruel conditions, now recovered and living happy lives, as well as animals available for adoption, the ARL hopes to find more animals a home this holiday season.


Oliver Twist: One “Sweet Baby” Home for Holidays

The once frail puppy now specializes in fetching sticks in the woods

This is what poor little Oliver Twist looked like when our Senior Rescue Technician, Danielle, first brought him in.

This is what poor Oliver Twist looked like when our Rescue Team first brought him in.

One chilly morning in early this past April, Jeff, a driver for FedEx, was making deliveries in Boston when he discovered a beyond-skinny 6 month-old puppy wandering the streets and shivering in the cold. He immediately contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), and our Rescue Services Team went to work to find the dog.

The frail puppy stumbled over to the Rescue Team, he was so weak. His body was severely emaciated—lacking any fat and muscle, his bones jutted through his skin.  He was covered is his own urine and feces and had long overgrown nails.

At the ARL’s Boston adoption center, he received immediate medical attention along with the name, Oliver Twist.  On the Purina body condition scale a score of “9” is considered obese and “1” is extremely lean; Oliver scored less than 1. He was also diagnosed with a bacterial infection.

Over the next few weeks, Oliver’s condition stabilized. He was placed on a progressive re-feeding schedule and soon began to eat on his own. ARL veterinarians checked him daily to ensure that he was gaining the expected amount of weight and treated his infection. He also received lots of love and attention from adoption center staff.

Oliver Twist now getting love at home.

Oliver Twist now getting love at home.

Meanwhile, the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection put out requests for information to identify who severely neglected Oliver.  To date, a suspect has not been found.

With the special care and attention he received, Oliver was ready for a home just a few weeks after his rescue.  Well on his way to recovery, he had become a playful, loving puppy who adored attention from people.

And attention is what he gets from his new family! Grieving the loss of their 13-year-old boxer, Billie Jean Nebesky and her daughter saw Oliver’s story on the news.  They instantly felt a connection: “We knew he needed us and we needed him.”

Today, they happily report Oliver has made himself completely at home and loves to fetch big sticks in the woods.

“If we sit down in a chair, Oliver will immediately join you and cuddle,” smiles his new mom.  “He clearly knows he is part of our family.  He is handsome, smart, friendly and very affectionate. He is just a sweet baby!”

Everyone at the ARL is grateful for the outpouring of donations to assist Oliver Twist as he recovered from severe neglect.  Thanks to you, he is happy, healthy, and home for the holidays!

You can make a donation today to help animals at the ARL find loving homes, just like Oliver Twist did.


Middleboro Puppies Update: Getting Stronger Every Day

They’re Playing Through the Day and Sleeping Through the Night

We’ve promised to give you regular updates on the Middleboro Puppies who were rescued during a drug and weapons raid on a home in Middleboro, MA back on October 3, so here’s a little something on how they’re doing. They’ve been in the care of ARL foster parents for almost a month now and are making enormous progress. One of our foster parents shared this little tidbit about her foster pups whom she has lovingly named Franny and Ollie.

Franny is much smaller than her brother…but she is very rambunctious and usually in charge.  She likes to chat (and has the cutest little bark) and she also likes to follow us everywhere and cuddle up on your lap the minute you sit down.  She loves food and she loves playing hard and napping hard with her brother.

Ollie is just the sweetest puppy.  His beautiful eyes just melt your heart.  He is very gentle and calm for a puppy (I don’t think that we have ever heard him bark) and he is SO interested in people…and cats.  He is also very smart…very good with the food puzzles.

They both sleep through the night very well.  They love to play with sticks and chase each other in circles in our backyard. It’s amazing in three weeks how much they have grown and thrived from the condition they were in when rescued. It really makes Jon and I grateful for all the components of the League that make outcomes like this possible. They are amazing little pups that are going to make wonderful companions and bring immense joy to their future adopters!” ~ Amelia Hughes

When the puppies arrived at the ARL they were in terrible condition. All the the puppies were emaciated and dehydrated, covered in feces and riddled with worms. You can imagine how grateful we are to have a network of foster parents who care for these little guys and gals until they are healthy and strong enough to be adopted. The puppies still have a way to go and are not yet available for adoption, but we’ll let you know as soon as they are! Read their story.

Franny and Ollie play outside in the leaves.

Franny and Ollie play outside in the leaves in their adorable sweaters. Photo Credit: Amelia Hughes


PUPPY DOE UPDATE: Suspect Faces 11 Counts of Animal Cruelty

ARL will continue to support what remains an active investigation

The Quincy Police Department announced an arrest in the Puppy Doe abuse case and today the suspect was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty in Quincy District Court.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey, Quincy Chief of Police Paul Keenan, and ARL president Mary Nee joined together for a press conference immediately following today’s court proceedings.


Puppy Doe Update 10/16

Puppy Doe Investigation Making Progress

Work continues to identify who severely abused Puppy Doe, a young adult female dog dumped in a quiet neighborhood in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey and the Quincy Police Department are the only organizations releasing official details on the investigation.  To update the public on the progress of the investigation , the District Attorney released the following statement last week:

On behalf of my office, the Quincy Police Department, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston, I am grateful for the hundreds of calls and tips that have been forthcoming in the criminal investigation into the torture of Puppy Doe. We have been inundated with tips, concerns and offers of assistance from around the world.

As Paul Keenan, Quincy Police Chief, has said, “Please be assured that we are following up with each tip received even those that have taken us out of state.”

Many calls have been received requesting updated information on the status and progress of the investigation. As with all criminal investigations, we are unable to discuss publically the specifics of this very active and ongoing investigation. To do so would not only compromise the investigation, but would also violate the ethical rules to which this office is bound. The information we have received to date from the public has been invaluable in guiding our actions through the course of the investigation.

10-16 Puppy Doe Update Photo rest in peacePlease be assured that these three agencies are working in concert to identify and hold accountable the person or persons responsible for the torture of Puppy Doe. It is highly unlikely that this level of sadistic cruelty could be shown to one animal and not be part of a pattern involving other animals or perhaps vulnerable people.

Anyone with information material to the criminal investigation regarding Puppy Doe is encouraged to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston, Law Enforcement Department at 617-226-5610, email them at cruelty@arlboston.org, or call Quincy Police Detective Thomas Pepdjonovich at 617-745-5774.

We will continue to post updates on the Puppy Doe case as we receive them from the District Attorney.


Dog Bite Prevention: Advice and Signs to Look for in Dogs

May 19-25th marks National Dog Bite Prevention Week, a week designed to help educate the public about the nearly 5 million dog bites that happen every year.

A few facts from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):

    • 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites every year
    • Of those, about half are children
    • The age most at risk are children age 5-9
    • Senior citizens are the second most commonly affected group

We interviewed Dr. Amy Marder, VMD, CAAB, Director of the Center for Shelter Dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Boston to get some advice on dog bite prevention.

Q: According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.7 million dog bites occur annually, with approximately 60 percent of the victims being children. What tips can you give to help us educate our children about the prevention of dog bites?

A: Most dog bites are not reported, but statistics of the ones that are reported show that children, especially little boys, are the most common victims. Most dogs do not bite! But if they need to protect themselves or their property from what they think is dangerous, they may. It’s important that children learn about dog behavior and how to interact appropriately with a dog so that bites can be avoided. Some of those tips are as follows:

  1.  Never approach or reach for an unfamiliar dog with no owner present, especially if the dog is tied, behind a fence or in a car.  If an owner is present, always ask if the dog likes children.
  2. Never bother dogs when they are eating, chewing a toy, sleeping or caring for puppies.  Just think about how you feel when your brother or sister takes your food or toys away or wakes you up in the middle of a sleep.

Q: What is the most appropriate way to greet a dog?

A: Always let a dog, even one you know sniff you before you pet.  Watch the dog to see if he likes you for a few seconds before you pet.  If the dog wags his tail and stays with you, then it’s OK to pet, but do so under the dog’s chin instead of on his head.  If the dog backs away, he probably doesn’t want you to pet him, so don’t pet.

Q: What should you do when a strange dog approaches you?

A: If a dog is alone, stand perfectly still, do not pet.  Allow the dog to sniff and wait for him to go away.   Do not start running, as the dog will probably chase.  If the dog is with an owner, ask the owner if the dog likes children (then do as above).  

Q:What advice do you have for behaving around unfamiliar dogs? 

A: Unless there is an owner with the dog, I would ignore them.

Q: What are warning signs to look for in a dog who may bite?

A: Look at what the dog is saying to you.  Dogs use sounds and body language to communicate how they feel.  Just like us!  If you hear a dog growl, or show his teeth, don’t proceed.  If you see a dog stiffen his body, tuck his tail, move away from you, yawn, lick his lips, or stare at you, don’t proceed!  Additionally, if a dog shows signs of being fearful you should not proceed.

Q: Do you have any additional tips for preventing dog bites? 

A: Not all dogs behave in the same ways. Every dog is different. Just because your dog enjoys the things that you do, it doesn’t mean that all dogs will. If you follow these guidelines, chances are dogs will like you and you won’t get bitten.


League Founder Anna Harris Smith Home Restoration

On Tuesday, we celebrated our 113th anniversary and told you about the Anna (Clapp) Harris Smith home restoration project. Today, let’s take a closer look at the history of the property.

Historic Boston Incorporated and the North Bennet Street School, located in the North End and specializing in 17th to 19th century buildings, have partnered to restore the Anna Harris Smith house.  After receiving a grant from the 1772 Foundation, the organizations were able to acquire the historic Clapp residence. The restoration will reflect the home’s appearance circa 1804 when Anna’s family resided there. Over the years, the house was somewhat modernized by past owners, but this only pertained to the exterior. However, the interior fell into decay and was in great need of repair.

The North Bennet students were entrusted by Historic Boston to restore the house to be as ‘period’ as possible. Rich Friberg, the preservation carpentry faculty leader of the project, said that the group did not know that Anna lived there but was pleasantly surprised by that fact. Through the use of traditional tools and methods, the students have been able to turn back the clock to 1804. The up-to-date windows were replaced by handmade sashes of 12 panes over 12 panes, a design similar to the one the house had 100 years ago. Even older than the design of the windows, the foundation of the Clapp house is speculated to be the original from the 17th century.

When North Bennet began the project, the front wall of the foundation was crumbling under the house. Historic Boston dug up the yard so that the stones could be withdrawn and reset for a secure foundation. Friberg stated that the banister in the house is most likely the original but they have yet to do anything with it since their work has focused mainly on the home’s exterior. The front door is not the original, but it was well researched and replicated.  The east elevation has just been finished and the completion of the north elevation is not too far behind.

The Clapp house is in the process of being designated a City of Boston landmark.


David Ortiz Meets Young Donor

November 15, 2011: Red Sox star David Ortiz spends some time with Josselyn Siegel of Wilmington, a young philanthropist who donated $100 to the League by selling her handmade clay creations.

“We were so touched by her wonderful gift from the heart,” says Melanie Sheffield, director of the President’s Council at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “It’s especially meaningful to see philanthropy begin at such an early age. It says a lot about the kind of person Josselyn is, and the adult she will someday become.”


Thank you Big Papi

Yesterday was a great day for the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Big Papi’s visit inspired and uplifted the League’s staff and garnered extensive coverage on the evening news. This event will attract many more adopters to our shelter and help find forever homes for needy animals.

Big Papi enjoyed a tour of the Boston Shelter where he met the cats, dogs and other animals that are available for adoption. Afterwards, he revealed his genuine care and concern for animals as he played ball with the dogs in the yard.

My special thanks go to Big Papi, event sponsor PopChips, to the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a success, and to the many League supporters who came to the shelter to meet Big Papi and bring attention to the needs of the animals in our care.

Jay Bowen
President