Category: Boston
There Is Still Time to Make a Difference for Animals This Year

The past twelve months have been challenging, however, you have shown that there is compassion and kindness in this world – thank you.

With your support, we adapted our programs to do everything we could to keep more pets with their families and help the animals who came through our doors.

Because of you, the following was made possible:

The road ahead is uncertain, but we know the pandemic will have a significant lasting effect on animals in need and the people who love them.

For all of us, and especially for animals in need, this has been a trying time. The pandemic has made our work much more difficult.

We launched two new programs, Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals Facing Emergencies) and Temporary Pet Housing, aimed at keeping pets with their families during this crisis.

To meet the increased demand for affordable care, we expanded our service area for our mobile clinics, the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’, to improve access to care, decreasing barriers for pet owners in underserved communities – areas that are disproportionally affected by COVID-19.

These new programs, coupled with the increased demand for our programs means the need is greater than ever.

Today, you have the chance to help us meet the needs of animals and the people who love them. Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

We hope we can count on your support by making a gift today, as we continue to work to keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

Yes I want to help animals in need

More than 35% of ARL’s funding arrives in December – now is a critical time to give to ensure we are ready to help animals and the people who love them today and in the new year.

symbolic gifts

Thank you for being there for animals during these unprecedented and challenging times.We wish for you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!


Prefer to give by check? Please have your envelope postmarked by 12/31/2020 and mail to: Animal Rescue League of Boston ATTN: Development, 10 Anna’s Place, Dedham, MA 02026

Need assistance or prefer to give by phone?  Please call us Monday through Friday at (617) 426-9170 x603

Gifts of Stock not only help animals in need, they may also provide tax benefits including avoiding capital gains tax. To donate stock or other appreciated securities, contact Jackie Smith.

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), also known as IRA charitable rollovers, allow individuals who are 70½ years or older to donate to qualified charities like ARL. QCDs can help offset an individual’s required minimum distribution, which may have tax benefits.  To donate by QCD, please contact your IRA custodian.

If you have a Donor-Advised Fund, you can make a grant recommendation to support ARL. Click here to learn more.

ARL Takes in 67 Cats from Caregiver

Caregiver contacted ARL for assistance when overwhelmed

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for 67 cats who were recently taken in after their caregiver requested assistance from ARL’s Field Services Department, due to having too many cats in their home to care for. ARL will finding homes for the these animals once they’re medically cleared.

Given the number of cats, ARL coordinated with the caregiver, located on the South Shore, to undergo the large operation to remove the animals from the home safely, and as stress-free as possible.

To see local media coverage of this story click here!

Animal carriers were delivered to the home beforehand, and on the day the cats were removed, the caregiver helped tremendously – they were able to get the cats into a line with food and then simply placed them into the carriers.

This made the process quicker, and certainly helped limit the stress for both the animals and caretaker.

Fifty-six cats were initially surrendered and transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, where they received medical care – a portion of the cats were treated for upper respiratory infection, which is commonly found with a large number of animals living together in one space.

A week later, ARL’s Field Services returned to the home to take in the remaining cats, and in total, 67 cats came to ARL.

ARL did return one cat to the care giver under the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters (HMHL) program.

The HMHL program offers free spay/neuter services for the parent animal and returning the animal to the owner, while finding homes for the animal’s offspring.

The cats will be made available for adoption when medically cleared – over 30 of the animals have already been adopted.

A Phone Call Away

If you are overwhelmed and unable to properly care for animals in your home — you are not alone and ARL is here to help!

To see how ARL may be able to assist, contact ARL Field Services at (617) 426-9170 and press option “1”.

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 plain yogurt, peanut butter and 100% real pumpkin 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. 

Do you have a special animal lover in your life? Celebrate the holiday season by sending them a FREE e-card — over 10 adorable animal designs to choose from!

ARL Dedicates New State-of-the-Art Facility on Dedham Campus

Building to increase organizational efficiencies, impact for animals in need

Sunday, November 14, was a historical day, as the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) dedicated a new state-of-the-art facility on its Dedham campus, which will lay the foundation for the future of the 122-year-old non-profit organization.

A number of elected officials, including State Representative Paul McMurtry, State Senator Michael Rush, other special guests were in attendance for the special occasion.

The 22,500 square-foot multi-use building and 2,700 square-foot maintenance shed broke ground in late 2020 after several years of planning, and is the cornerstone of ARL’s 10-year facilities master plan for the organization’s Boston and Dedham campuses.

The cost of the project is $16.7 million, with Mass Development issuing a $12.5 million tax-exempt bond.

This new building will increase ARL’s ability to coordinate and dispatch services to meet the changing needs of animals through mobile medicine, education, and collaboration.

The facility will also allow ARL to realize immediate and significant cost and operational efficiencies.

The building has three main components:

Medical Mobile Outreach Center: The building includes a dedicated hub for ARL’s mobile medical clinics, the Spay Waggin’ and Wellness Waggin’. The location provides optimal access to most major highways, allowing ARL to reliably and consistently reach people and animals most in need. This space will be the heart of ARL’s community-based efforts and a critical asset that will support ARL’s unwavering commitment to bring accessible and affordable veterinary and wellness care directly to those who need it most, right in the communities where they live. The center will also be equipped with medical supplies and ample storage space for increased capacity in responding to animal emergencies.

Education & Training Center for Animal and People: A new multi-purpose training center provides a critically needed location for training local and state law enforcement officers, animal control officers, and animal caregivers, who play an important preventive role in keeping communities safe for animals and people. These training resources are critical to expanding the network of professionals who can aid ARL in confronting animal cruelty head-on.

Program Management & Administration: This project also provides a new home for programmatic and administrative offices, which were previously scattered across four locations, to create greater synergy and collaboration among ARL’s programs. This will allow for more innovations that drive positive outcomes for animals and the people who care for them.

For more information regarding ARL’s Dedham Campus Plan, visit www.arlboston.org/dedham-campus-plan

Paws to Celebrate

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, ARL hosted its annual Dedham Paws to Celebrate, a celebration of ARL’s continued work to help animals in need, and those who make this important work possible.

Guests participated in tours of the new facility, and were shown just how their financial support was put to use to help animals and the communities ARL serves.

The Dedham celebration was the fourth in a series of Paws to Celebrate events, the previous three being held on Cape Cod and in Boston.

Thank you!

ARL graciously recognizes the 2020 Paws to Celebrate sponsors and event committee, listed below, for their shared passion for animals in need. Together with ARL’s donors, their generosity will ensure that the animals that ARL serves will continue to receive the loving care they deserve.

Paws to Celebrate 2021 sponsors


Event Committee

Barbara Burg, Richard Davey, Grace Fey, Richard Kelly & Carol Akerson, Walter Kenyon, Dr. Cynthia Kettyle, Elena Kirkiles, Renee Knilans, Rod Macdonald, Malcolm McDonald, Christina Nagler, Mary Nee, Tara Oliver, Nadine Pellegrini, Alisa Plazonja, Christopher Primiano, Heather & Park Ridill, José Rodriguez-Villalobos, Laura Tomasetti.

Foundation For the Future Steering Committee

Malcolm McDonald, Campaign Chair, Board Chair 2012-2019

Mary Nee, Campaign Vice Chair, ARL President 2012-2020

Walter Kenyon, Board Chair

Cynthia Kettyle, M.D., Leadership Circle Member

José Rodriguez-Villalobos, Board Member

Laura Tomasetti, Board Vice Chair

Edward Schettino, DVM, PhD, CAWA, ARL President & CEO


Thank you for your continued support and for being an unwavering champion for animals in need!

ARL Joins Mass Animal Fund for Special Spay/Neuter Clinic in Fall River

22 Animals received vital surgery

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ was once again in Fall River to spay/neuter nearly two dozen animals as part of an ongoing collaborative effort with ARL, the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF), and Fall River Animal Control.

It’s the third year in a row ARL has hosted the clinic in collaboration with MAF and Fall River Animal Control. The surgeries are under the MAF voucher program, which distributes vouchers to qualifying low-income pet owners to cover the cost of the important procedure.

Due to high demand and Covid-19-restrictions, many clients have been on a waiting list for a number of months to have their pets spayed or neutered, and ARL is pleased to once again be providing this vital service that’s greatly needed in the Fall River Community.

“Fall River is already a struggling community, but since the pandemic, it seems as if getting spay/neuter services has proven to be even more difficult,” said Cynthia Beard-Cadima, Fall River Animal Control Officer. “People contact us daily, asking for funds.  Many are out of work and our homeless community is growing.  We are stretching every dime and our veterinarians are donating time and services more than ever.”

ARL’s Spay Waggin’

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides high-quality, low-cost spay and neuter services to animals in need on the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as select locations in Metro Boston.

Since 2000 the Spay Waggin’ has provided services for more than 60,000 animals.

The Spay Waggin’ is by appointment only, and to for more information and to book an appointment, call (877) 590-SPAY (7729), or email spaywaggin@arlboston.org.

ARL President Participates in National Animal Welfare Panel Discussion

This week, Dr. Edward Schettino, President and CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), was part of a panel to discuss animal welfare and safety on a national platform.

The Nonprofit Report is a weekly webinar hosted by Mark Oppenheim, founder of m/Oppenheim.org, an educational nonprofit organization that reports on nonprofit organizations, issues, and leaders from a number of different nonprofit sectors.

Other panelists for the webinar included Liz Skrobisch, Executive Director of Animal Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island, and Kerri Burns, CEO of Santa Barbara Humane Society.

Adoptable Pig Overcoming Behavioral Hurdles

“Violet” adjusting to new outdoor surroundings

Over the past several months, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has been diligently working with a four-year-old pig to help her overcome her anxiety and fear-based behavioral issues and is now looking to find her the perfect place to call home.

Four-year-old Violet was raised as a house pet, spending her days inside and constantly around people. Unfortunately, her family was no longer able to care for her, and she was surrendered to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Although set up comfortably in an outdoor paddock and enclosure, it was not what she was used to. Violet did not have the constant companionship and interaction with people she was used to, and out of frustration, she began acting out.

During feeding or enrichment time, Violet would charge, bark or nip at the ARL staff member of volunteer in the paddock, and not allow them to leave.

ARL consulted an outside pig expert to better understand the behaviors Violet was displaying and to formulate a plan to curb said behaviors.

It was surmised that Violet was exhibiting signs of depression, and was fearful about being alone. When she would charge or nip a staff member or volunteer, it was her way of expressing that she did not want the person to leave. To help Violet overcome her depression and anxiety, she was taught a “back-up” cue using positive reinforcement to teach her that she needs to give space to anyone interacting with her.

Pigs are incredibly intelligent, and learning this cue has positively altered Violet’s behavior and she is once again ready to find her new home.

To see Violet’s profile on ARL’s website, click here!

A Behavioral Resource

While every dog and cat available for adoption undergoes a behavioral evaluation, ARL also has resources available for owned pets as well.

Training is essential for our furry friends, and ARL offers dog training courses for all levels, from puppy socialization to advanced manners.

In-person, private, semi-private and even virtual courses are offered.

ARL also offers a FREE pet behavior helpline to assist pet owners with behavioral issues including excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, among others.

To access this free service, call (617) 226-5666 or email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org, and and ARL representative will respond within 48 hours.

Press Release: ARL Law Enforcement Seeking Information in Trio of Abandonment Cases

ARL reminds pet owners that abandoning an animal is never an option

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department is currently investigating three separate cases involving abandoned animals initiated in just the past week alone, and is reaching out to the public to obtain information relating to where the animals may have come from.

The latest case involves four doves that were left in a cage in the parking lot of a shopping center in Chelsea.

Chelsea Animal Control contacted ARL in the late afternoon hours on Thursday, October 19 to assist with the birds located at 1083 Revere Beach Parkway.

Surveillance video in the area does show an adult male in a dark-colored Ford Explorer (2006-2010 model) pull into a parking space, place the cage on the ground and then drive away.

The suspect vehicle is also missing part of the roof rack on the passenger side, and has rear quarter-panel damage, also on the passenger side.

The birds were transferred to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center and are overall in good health.

Anyone with information pertaining to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact ARL Law Enforcement at 617-426-9170 x110 or cruelty@arlboston.org.

Additionally, this past week, two abandoned kittens were discovered in a box in an alley along the Fenway, and an owned cat was left in its carrier outside of ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

All animals involved have been medically checked by ARL shelter medicine staff, are doing well, and will soon be available to find new homes.

Abandoning an animal is a felony offense in Massachusetts, punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to 7 years in jail.

ARL is Here to Help

ARL’s focus is to keep pets and people together, but understands that circumstances may arise when pet ownership may no longer be feasible, and offers pet surrender services at its Boston, Dedham and Cape Cod locations to assist with this difficult decision.

If you are no longer able to care for your pet and need to surrender, please call 617-426-9170 (follow the prompts for the admissions office closest to you).

Halloween Pet Safety Tips for a Safe Holiday

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) share important tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween season.

Boston Terrier in Halloween costume

Tip: If it’s your pet’s first time wearing a costume this Halloween, spend a few days before the big holiday getting them acclimated to wearing it. Keep in mind, some pets are just not fans of wearing costumes and would much rather wear a festive collar or bandanna instead.

With the month of October almost half over, Halloween 2021 is right around the corner! You may be a fan of the spookiest time of year, but for your pet, this haunting holiday can be truly scary.

Not to worry though, enjoying the festivities and keeping your pets safe is easier than you think – Follow these 3 tips to ensure your pet has a safe Halloween this season:

1. Keep your pets inside. The Halloween season often brings out tricksters who might taunt or harm an animal left outdoors. It’s always a good idea to keep pets inside with proper, up-to-date identification. If your pet must be outdoors, be sure to keep them leashed and an eye on them at all times.

2. Stash the sweet treats. Chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Additionally, many candies and gums contain Xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets. Always keep chocolate and candies out of your pet’s reach.

3. Be careful with costumes. If you decide to dress your pet up for this festive holiday, costume safety is key. Keep these costume safety tips in mind:

  • Always supervise your pet while they’re wearing a costume.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits properly and does not restrict their movement.
  • Be cautious of loose or dangling pieces that pets could potentially choke on.
  • Ditch the masks or other accessories that could potentially make it difficult for your pet to breath or obstruct their vision.

No plans for Halloween? Spend the day getting to know some of our adoptable animals.


What’s Happening on Beacon Hill

With the legislature returning from August recess, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Advocacy Department continues to focus on ensuring animal’s voices are being heard on Beacon Hill.

Nero’s Law Advances 

Nero’s Law, filed after the tragic death of Sgt. Sean Gannon and injury of his K-9 partner Nero in 2018, would insure that police dogs have access to immediate care and transport in the event of life-threatening injury.

S.1606, sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny, and H.2547 sponsored by Representative Steven Xiarhos, have moved forward in the legislative process. At the hearing back in July, ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement, Joe King, testified in support of this law. A former K9 handler with the State Police, King underscored the importance of the bond between an officer and these dogs. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, these bill received a favorable report from the committee.

Hearing on Kennel Regulations

ARL testified in support of H.2148 and S.1322, An Act protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns, sponsored by Representative Linda Dean Campbell and Senator Harriette Chandler. These bills would protect animals across Massachusetts by preventing the sale of puppies and kittens under 8 weeks, prohibiting roadside sales, creating regulation for commercial boarding and training kennels, and updating kennel laws.

Currently, the only statewide standards for a kennel are that they be sanitary and humane. Looking for more information about what to look for when you board your pet? Check out our Board Safely™ campaign, which encourages pet owners to do their own research before leaving their pet in the care of a boarding kennel or daycare facility.

Hearing on Housing and Breed Concerns

Many of the animals surrendered to ARL’s shelters are surrendered due to housing issues. This session, ARL worked with Representative David Rogers and Senator Anne Gobi to file H.1437 and S.885, An Act to maintain stable housing for families with pets in an economic crisis and beyond.

ARL testified in support of legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from refusing to cover, canceling, or charging more for homeowners or renters insurance based on the breed, size, weight, or physical appearance of a dog. Data shows that breed is not a reliable indicator of dog bites, and further, that visual identification is often inaccurate in determining breed.  

Included in the bill this session were some new provisions to help keep families and pets together during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although the State of Emergency has ended, ARL will continue to advocate for protections in housing.

Have questions on ARL’s advocacy efforts or want to get involved? Please email advocacy@arlboston.org