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Category: Brewster
ARL Rescues Kittens Nestled in Large Woodpile

Kittens in foster care until old enough to be adopted

With kitten season upon us, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department is constantly receiving calls regarding kittens being born in the wild, and recently took in a quartet who were living on their own in a wood pile!

The call came from a resident in Carver who was planning to move a large cord wood pile when they noticed the young kittens and, fearing for their safety, reached to ARL for assistance.

Upon arriving on scene, ARL Field Services agents witnessed one of the kittens pop its head out of the wood pile, then quickly darting back inside.

For the next hour, agents carefully moved the wood around, until they were able to get better access to the kittens.

Although elusive, the four kittens were safely secured and transferred to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center to under veterinary exams and were then placed into foster care where they will remain until they are old enough to find their permanent homes.

Kitten Season is Here

Community cats – friendly strays, feral, semi-feral or abandoned – are incredibly resourceful and can be found in a variety of places — under decks, porches, in woodpiles (as we’ve just seen), window wells, anywhere where they can find relative quiet – they’ve also been known to sneak into basements!

Should you spot two or 20 stray cats or kittens, ARL’s Field Services Department is ready to help.

Through ARL’s Community Cats Initiative, agents will assess a reported colony to determine the possible number of cats, their overall health status, and whether or not a local resident in the area is feeding the animals and can continue doing so.

Once the colony is assessed and staff checks for signs of ownership, a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) plan is formulated to have the animals spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and determine whether the cats will be returned to the field, or placed up for adoption.

With an estimated 700,000 community cats in Massachusetts, TNR is one of the most effective ways to stop the cycle of homelessness among cats.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

Additionally, if your cat or dog gives birth to a litter of kittens or puppies and you are looking for support, ARL has you covered.

Through the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program, ARL provides FREE spay and neuter services for the mother and father animals, who will be returned to the owner after surgery.

The litter will be spayed/neutered, and when they reach the appropriate age, placed up for adoption.


Press Release: Paralyzed French Bulldog Abandoned at South End Park

ARL Law Enforcement seeking information

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department is seeking information regarding a paralyzed French Bulldog that was recently abandoned at Peters Park, located in Boston’s South End.

The approximately three-year-old female dog nicknamed “French Fry” was found on a weekend in late April just outside the dog park area.

Witnesses stated seeing a man and woman with the dog for a short time before walking away from the animal.

The couple were seen wearing masks, making it difficult for witnesses to describe any identifying features.

“French Fry” was abandoned at Peters Park in Boston’s South End.

ARL Law Enforcement has obtained surveillance video of the area and is currently reviewing it to try and identify the dog’s owners.

Upon finding the dog, a Good Samaritan brought the animal to a local veterinary clinic for examination.

Staff at the veterinary clinic confirmed the dog’s hind-limb paralysis, and also noted she was dehydrated, suffered hemorrhaging in the left eye, and had an elevated body temperature.

Given the paralysis, the dog was brought to another veterinary hospital for a neurological exam and MRI.

The exam and imaging revealed intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), which can be common in the breed.

Given the severity of the disease and the further possibly life-threatening complications which may have developed, surgery was not an option for French Fry, and the decision for humane euthanasia was made in order to end her suffering.

While the dog’s condition was deemed genetic, abandoning an animal is a felony in Massachusetts, punishable by up to 7 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

ARL understands that dealing with medical issues with pets can be financially and emotionally overwhelming. With options and resources available, including animal surrender, no animal should ever be abandoned.

If anyone recognizes the dog, they are asked to contact ARL’s Law Enforcement Department at (617) 426-9170 x110, or email cruelty@arlboston.org.


Cat Who Needed Eyes Removed for Medical Condition Seeks Special Home     

In late April, John, a 9-year-old cat, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center after his owner passed away.

While settling in to his new surroundings, John was clearly friendly, but he was also clearly in pain, as he was very nervous of his head being touched and would vocally express his discomfort. He also displayed signs of vision impairment.

John after surgery.

A medical exam revealed that John was suffering from ventral lid entropion – an uncommon condition where the eyelid curls inward, causing irritation to the eye.

The condition, which is typically genetic, is uncomfortable, painful and can impact vision over time.

Corrective surgery can be an option for entropion, however John’s case was severe, causing ulcerations to the eye, and the best approach to improve his quality of life was to remove his eyes.

Although still adjusting after the procedure, John is more comfortable, is no longer yowling from the pain, and more accepting of pets from ARL staff and volunteer.

Ready for a New Home

John is currently available for adoption and would do well as the only pet in a quiet, low-traffic home.

It will take him some time to learn to navigate without sight, however with the help of his new family he will adjust and settle in over time.

For more information about John click here!


ARL Testifies for Virtual Legislative Hearing

On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary met to hear testimony on 19 specific animal protection bills, with the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) testifying in favor of a proposed citation bill.

A citation statute does currently exist in Massachusetts, however it only applies to dogs. ARL believes the law needs to be expanded to include other animals, including livestock and farm animals.

An Act enhancing the issuance of citation for cruel conditions for animals (S.1097/H.1840) would define cruel conditions and appropriate shelter for most animals.

It would also allow animal control officers and law enforcement personnel to issue civil citations for violations, which would include a $50 fine for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

Additionally, after a third offense, the animal(s) involved could be subject to seizure.

Currently, animal cruelty in Massachusetts is a felony offense, subject to a $5,000 fine and up to seven years in prison, however ARL believes that a lesser penalty is necessary to give law enforcement a tool to intervene before cruelty or neglect rises to a felony level, particularly with farm animals and overcrowding/hoarding situations.

“This bill would give law enforcement an extra tool to allow us to get to the root of the problem before it reaches a criminal level,” ARL Law Enforcement Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal, stated to the committee.

The need for such a statute came to light in 2016, following the largest farm animal cruelty case in New England history that involved well over 1,000 animals at a tenant farm in Westport, MA, and resulted in 151 counts of animal cruelty levied against more than 20 individuals.

The case involved chronic neglect, however advocates believe that had civil citations been available to law enforcement, it may have been possible to intervene earlier.

“In the case of many of these animals, there was no ability of animal control officers or law enforcement to intervene until the situation became dire,” ARL Director of Advocacy Allison Blanck, told the panel.

With the hearing concluded, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will now discuss the proposed bills internally and determine which pieces of legislation will move on to the next step of the legislative process.

How you can get involved

Thanks to a new rule this session, it’s not too late to ask your legislators to sign on as co-sponsors!

If your legislator is on the Judiciary Committee, it’s even more important to ask for their support! Find your legislator here.

To learn more about other hearings and opportunities to get involved, fill out the form here.

Advocating for animals in Massachusetts

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) monitors and advocates for statewide legislation on issues critical to animal welfare in the Commonwealth. Our legislative agenda highlights our priorities for the two year session.

To view ARL’s legislative agenda in its entirety and to track the progress of proposed legislation click here!


Community Cat and Kitten Season Is Here

The days are getting longer, the weather’s getting warmer, and with spring upon us, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has begun to see an influx of community cats and kittens, and reminds the public that many of these animals deserve to live their lives in loving homes, not on the streets; and there are steps to take to ensure these cats and kittens are safe and healthy.

Community kittens recently brought into ARL.

Community cats – friendly strays, feral, semi-feral or abandoned – are incredibly resourceful and can be found in a variety of places — under decks, porches, in woodpiles, window wells, anywhere where they can find relative quiet – they’ve also been known to sneak into basements!

Should you spot two or 20 stray cats or kittens, ARL’s Field Services Department is ready to help.

Through ARL’s Community Cats Initiative, agents will assess a reported colony to determine the possible number of cats, their overall health status, and whether or not a local resident in the area is feeding the animals and can continue doing so.

Once the colony is assessed and staff checks for signs of ownership, a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) plan is formulated to have the animals spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and determine whether the cats will be returned to the field, or placed up for adoption.

With an estimated 700,000 community cats in Massachusetts, TNR is one of the most effective ways to stop the cycle of homelessness among cats.

A limb deformity impacted Hanson’s long-term survivability in the wild.

Additionally, there are countless instances where getting a cat off the streets and into a loving home is literally a life-saving action.

Hanson’s Journey

Hanson, a one-year-old male community cat was recently brought into ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center.

While healthy overall, a limb deformity, likely a congenital defect, would’ve likely decreased his long-term survivability in the wild.

After a thorough medical exam, neuter surgery and seeing his warm and easy-going temperament, he was placed up for adoption.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

Additionally, if your cat or dog gives birth to a litter of kittens or puppies and you are looking for support, ARL has you covered.

Through the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program, ARL provides FREE spay and neuter services for the mother and father animals, who will be returned to the owner after surgery.

The litter will be spayed/neutered, and when they reach the appropriate age, placed up for adoption.


ARL Covid-19-Related Community Programs Continuing

Programs to continue as needed

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is marking the one-year anniversary of its S.A.F.E. (Serving Animals Facing Emergencies) program this month, which was created out of direct need following the initial surge of Covid-19 in Massachusetts.

Keeping pets and people together is more important than ever, and the S.A.F.E. programs makes this possible by providing critical services to pet owners in the Greater Boston community.

ARL Field Services providing services in April 2020.

The S.A.F.E. program utilized ARL’s Field Services Department’s fleet of vehicles to: transport animals to critical veterinary care visits on the Wellness Waggin’ (located on the Dedham Campus); deliver pet food and supplies to families in need; and provide pick-up services for animals in need of temporary housing or urgent surrender due to the pandemic.

In 2020, nearly 1,000 activities were completed with 620 animals receiving pet food and supplies, and 320 animals being transported for critical veterinary care.

A number of animals were taken in for temporary shelter, and ARL also received pets requiring emergency surrender.

Additionally, as many residents have continued to struggle financially and with Massachusetts eviction moratorium expiring in October 2020, ARL prepared for the very real possibility of countless families with pets losing their homes.

In late October, ARL unveiled its Temporary Pet Housing Initiative.

The initiative offers temporary pet housing for those who may be experiencing housing instability or may be at imminent risk of homelessness. This is an imperative service for individuals facing eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative is open to any eligible pet owner in Massachusetts, and once eligibility is determined, the animals are able to stay within ARL’s foster care network for up to 120 days.

Since its inception, ARL has accepted nearly 200 additional foster families!

Both the S.A.F.E. program and the Temporary Housing Initiative continue to serve people and pets in need and will continue for as long as the services are needed to keep pets and pets together.


It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

ARL Volunteers and Staff Honored

As we round out National Volunteer Appreciation Week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would once again like to thank all of our volunteers and foster families!

The week has been filled with virtual events and was capped by the annual awards ceremony to honor those who have gone above and beyond to help animals in need.

Without further ado, here are the winners for ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Cape Cod locations!

Best of Boston: Jane Urban of Newton

Cape’d Crusader: Terry Snow of Harwich

Dedham’s Most Dignified: Linda Palmer of Milton

ARL’s Unsung Hero: Margaret Ronna of Cambridge

All Other Creatures Big and Small: Denise Fritschy of Eastham and Tricia Patterson of Somerville

Admin’s Above and Beyond: Kelly Scott of Winthrop and Martha Donovan of Harwich

Our Four Footed Friends Favorite Foster Parent:  Cindy Glade of Harvard

In addition, volunteers at each location annual vote for a staff member who embodies ARL’s mission.

Boston: Julie Pearce

Cape Cod: Dawn Lee

Dedham: Alicia Muller

“Awards night is a special night as staff and volunteers come together to celebrate all the successes of the previous year, highlight both volunteers and staff who consistently go above and beyond, and to embrace and share the love we all have for the animals in our care,” said Debby Chaplic, ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement.

Thank you to every ARL volunteer and foster family who donate their time and pour their hearts and souls into enriching the lives of the animals in ARL’s care – ARL volunteers are true champions for animals!

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

If you are interested in volunteering at ARL, please click here for more information and THANK YOU!


Curbing Pet Anxiety as We Head Back to Work

Routine and Structure are Key to Ensure a Smooth Transition

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced shutdowns over a year ago, many pet owners began working from home and needed to help their pets adjust to them suddenly being home all the time. Now, as many start to head back into the office, pet owners must prepare their pets to once again be home alone.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) understands this will not be an easy process and wants to help pet owners guide their pets into this transition.

But preparing is a slow and gradual process that can’t be done in a day – it starts with understanding the causes of separation issues for our pets.

The top causes of separation-related problems are fear, frustration, boredom, or something health-related. Pets become frustrated if they don’t get enough of something or even too much of something.

Boredom can result if the pets are not being challenged or stimulated enough, and health-related issues such as allergies can cause anxiety or discomfort for pets and while pets cannot tell us what is causing their anxiety or discomfort, the behavior they exhibit is very telling in this regard.

Again, it’s critical to begin setting our pets up for success well before we head back to the office, and that includes taking care of our pets’ physical and mental well-being and focusing on training.

ARL offers these four tips to preparing your pet for a return to the office:

    1. Start slow! Even if you plan on going back into the office in six months, the earlier you get your pet into a routine, the easier the transition will be! Just as with humans, creating a routine alleviates stress of the unknown, and it’s no different for animals.
    2. Begin your routine by waking up at the same time each day. Keep mealtimes, walks, and playtime on a consistent schedule as well.
    3. If your dog is not crate trained consider doing so, begin offering them high-value treats and toys to use during independent playtime while inside their crate. Before long, your pet will learn that the crate can be their own personal safe and happy space, whether you are at home or not.
    4. Remember that repetition, patience, and rewarding calm behavior is key.

It’s also important to remember that as a pet owner, you’re not alone! ARL offers a FREE Pet Behavior Helpline to help tackle a number of behavioral issues.

The Helpline can be reached at (617) 226-5666 or by email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org. Once you reach out, an ARL representative will be in touch within 48 hours.

ARL also offers dog training classes at its Boston and Dedham location for basic and advanced canine learning, semi-private and private sessions are also available.

For more information, course schedules and pricing, visit arlboston.org/services/dog-training.


Press Release: 65+ Cats Signed Over to ARL Following Bond Order

Cats rescued by ARL on Martha’s Vineyard in July 2020

This past week, an ongoing animal cruelty case involving more than 65 cats and kittens who were rescued from a private breeding facility on Martha’s Vineyard in July 2020, took a major step forward, as the animals were officially signed over to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

While the defendant in the case maintains their right to contest the five counts of felony animal cruelty levied against them, ARL is now able to take steps to begin finding the cats permanent homes.

At this time there is no timeline for the cats to be made available for adoption, and those interested in adoption can log onto arlboston.org/adopt.

Since rescuing the cats in July 2020, the animals have received extensive medical care and have been living with foster families. The cost of care has exceeded tens of thousands of dollars, and the decision to surrender was made after a security bond was issued in the case.

In 2017, legislation was enacted in an effort to strengthen financial protections for animal care organizations like ARL, who is responsible for long-term care of animals related to active animal cruelty investigations or prosecutions. The legislation allows the prosecuting agency to request a court order for the accused to post a security bond, which can be used to recuperate costs of care. When granted, the accused has to either cover the bond or forfeit the animals.

This is the second time ARL has been granted a security bond request for an ongoing case.


It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Not that we need a reason to celebrate our amazing volunteers and foster families, but this week marks National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Although ARL’s celebrations for the 800-plus volunteers will once again be virtual, it continues to be an honor to acknowledge those who make incredible contributions to help fulfill ARL’s mission.

The week will be broken up into several virtual events, highlighted by a kick-off celebration with ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster volunteers, and of course ARL’s annual volunteer awards night.

A number of awards will be handed out to those who went above and beyond to help animals in need over the past year, and the ceremony, virtual or not, is an annual favorite for ARL volunteers and staff alike.

Volunteers are mission critical for ARL, whether serving as ambassadors for the organization, working with behaviorally-challenged animals, comforting a frightened cat or dog, changing litter boxes, or performing a myriad of other tasks – volunteers achieve countless selfless acts of kindness every day and ARL is grateful.

Compassion Cannot be Quarantined

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted day-to-day operations for ARL, which of course affected our volunteers.

Per safety protocols, just six volunteers were assigned to each shift during the past year, however, many volunteers who couldn’t come into the buildings decided to serve in another way – as foster parents.

When ARL suspended adoption services in March 2020, nearly 200 animals were placed into temporary foster care. Additionally, ARL began two Covid-19-related programs, both of which have fostering components.

So many volunteers graciously opened up their hearts and homes to these animals when they needed it most and ARL could not be more thankful.

Despite restrictions, ARL volunteers donated more than 63,000 hours of service – a 66 percent increase from 2019! This also is the equivalent to 30 full-time staff!

“I’m always proud of the incredible accomplishments of our volunteers, but 2020 offered such unprecedented circumstances and once again ARL volunteers, which of course includes our amazing foster families, stepped up and went above and beyond anything I could’ve imagined,” said Debby Chaplic, ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement. “ARL’s volunteers are a shining light and true champions for animals in need.”

Stay tuned to see who our award winners are!

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

Thank You

ARL is grateful to each and every volunteer who helps ARL fulfill its mission to be a Champion for Animals – we are all in this together and we cannot do it without you!

If you are interested in volunteering at ARL, please click here for more information and THANK YOU!