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Category: Brewster
ARL Partners with HSUS for Law Enforcement Training

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department recently completed the second of two training sessions for animal control, veterinarians, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The training was a collaboration between ARL and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Topics included all aspects of equine investigation, and veterinary forensics in animal investigations.

“Properly collecting and documenting evidence is critical in any law enforcement investigation, and science and technology have come a long way in aiding investigative methods as well,” said Joe King, ARL Director of Law Enforcement. “There are so many tools we can use to help solve animal cruelty cases and these training courses will help shape investigations in Massachusetts going forward and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with a great organization like HSUS.”

Well over 100 animal control officers, veterinarians, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers attended the virtual sessions, which are the latest in a series of training that ARL has offered.

For ARL, training those on the front lines and often the first to respond is essential not only for rescuing animals suffering cruelty, neglect and abuse, but to also hold those responsible for harming animals to be held accountable.

Since 2019, ARL has conducted training sessions for more than 600 animal control officers and members of law enforcement.

About ARL Law Enforcement

As a leader in animal welfare, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is committed to preventing animal suffering, neglect, and abuse in Massachusetts.

Law Enforcement investigates crimes against animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect. ARL employs Special State Police Officers, with the authority to enforce animal cruelty and neglect laws. These officers work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth.

In 2020, ARL’s Law Enforcement department helped 2,030 animals.

Although we work closely with the state, as well as many cities and towns, ARL does not receive any government or public funding and relies solely on the support of compassionate individuals like you. Donate now to help us continue our important work to serve animals and communities in need!


It’s National Animal Control Appreciation Week!

This week marks National Animal Control Appreciation Week, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to commend and thank Animal Control Officers (ACO) throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for their steadfast commitment to keeping animals in their respective communities safe.

ACO’s are on the front lines every day and are involved with a myriad of activities – from enforcing animal protection laws, caring for stray or injured animals, to simply giving advice to pet owners to improve the lives of animals.

ARL routinely collaborates with ACO’s from all over Massachusetts to assist in any way possible. Here are just a few recent examples of our collective efforts.

Abandoned Kittens in Bridgewater

Neonatal kitten.

When animal control in Bridgewater came across a triad of three-week-old kittens who had been abandoned after likely losing their mother, they reached out to ARL for assistance.

The neonatal kittens were taken to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center whey they were bottle-fed, and underwent veterinary examinations.

Kittens this age are unable to care for themselves and are also extremely delicate.  They need to be bottle-fed every few hours and require a ton of attention and care.

The kittens will remain in foster care until they are old enough to be made available for adoption.

Stray Roosters in Billerica

Albert Eggstein and Cocky Balboa.

ACOs commonly come across stray animals, and will often contact ARL to assist with shelter, transport, or medical treatment.

Such was the case for a pair of roosters recently found as strays in Billerica.

The roosters, named Albert Eggstein and Cocky Balboa, were wandering in the town north of Boston, and once the roosters were secure, they were transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center and the roosters were soon right at home in the iconic red barn.

The pair were examined by ARL’s veterinary staff and are now currently available for adoption!

Providing Spay and Neuter in Fall River

Fall River ACO’s.

The importance of spay and neuter cannot be stressed enough. ARL is dedicated to helping pet owners break down the barriers that may prevent them from having their pets spayed or neutered.

The pricey surgery is a barrier for many, which is why, for more than 20 years, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has provided high-quality, low-cost spay and neuter services for communities along the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, and the Metro Boston area.

This week, ARL collaborated with ACO’s in Fall River and the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF) to provide spay and neuter services for nearly two dozen pet owners – all at no cost.

This marks the third year that ARL and the MAF have hosted a spay/neuter clinic in Fall River, and we look forward to providing this important surgery for even more pets in this community in the future.

ARL is proud of its relationships with ACO’s throughout the Commonwealth and wants to thank everyone on the front lines for being a champion for animals!


ARL Expands Services to Fall River Community

Services include spay/neuter and community cats

For a third year in a row, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has partnered with the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF) to bring vital spay and neuter services to the South Coast community of Fall River, this as ARL continues to expand services to the Fall River community.

ARL’s Spay Waggin’, a state-of-the-art mobile surgical unit, welcomed nearly two dozen animals for the surgeries, which were covered by the MAF’s 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 had 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 able to provide this vital service.

Additionally, ARL’s Field Services Department was on-hand to distribute pet food to clients.

Community Cats

ARL has recently expanded its community cat initiative into the Fall River region as well.

There are approximately 700,000 community cats, which consist of stray, feral, and semi-feral cats, in Massachusetts.

Through the Community Cat Initiative, ARL will assess colonies, and formulate a trap-neuter-return (TNR) plan to provide spay/neuter, medical care, and also find homes for cats deemed suitable for adoption.

So far ARL has worked with more than dozen cats in the region, and as the weather warms, the number of cats in need of assistance is expected to drastically increase.

For residents concerned about community cats in their respective neighborhoods, they can reach ARL’s Field Services Department by calling 617-426-9170, then dial 1.

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.


Investigating Animal “Blood Sports”

Recognizing National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

The ASPCA designated April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day  to increase understanding and awareness about dog fighting. We encourage animal-lovers to take action against all blood sports, an extremely brutal form of cruelty.

What are “blood sports”? Blood sports are defined as an illegal sport or contest involving the bloodshed of animals for the purpose of gambling or entertainment, and include:

        • Dog fighting is a brutal sport or contest in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit/ring to fight one another for the purposes of entertainment and gambling. The fight ends when one dog can’t continue due to exhaustion, injury, or death. ASPCA experts estimate that there are tens of thousands of dog fighters across the country forcing hundreds of thousands of dogs to brutally train, fight, and suffer as part of a so-called “blood sport”.
        • Street fighting is an impromptu altercation between two dogs instigated by their respective owners or gangs in either a private location or common public gathering area, such as school yards, parks, or abandoned buildings. In some cases, the owner encourages their dog to attack a stray.
        • Cockfighting is a sport in which two gamecocks (roosters), specifically bred for aggressiveness, are placed in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death. Owners often will inject doses of stimulant drugs, hormones, or vitamins to increase endurance and attach knives to the gamecocks’ legs.
        • Finch fighting is a sport between two male and one female perched birds that has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. Owners typically attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure the female finch’s demise.

Our Law Enforcement team works with animal control officers to identify signs of blood sports. Here are 3 common warning signs:

        1. Dogs kept on short heavy chains or tethered to makeshift dog houses
        2. Several crates, tethering devices, and specialized aerobic training equipment such as treadmills kept in basements and sheds
        3. Dogs with lots of scaring around the face, neck, front legs and chest

Whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban neighborhood, animal “blood sports” happens in all types of areas across the country, including Massachusetts.

Blood sports are a major concern for public safety as it’s often linked with gang activity and other serious crimes such as human assault, homicide, drug possession/distribution, and illegal gambling.

Based on the ARL Law Enforcement team’s experience, building an effective legal case against this type of crime is complicated, due to the multitude of individuals, groups, and gangs that can be involved. Fighting animals – especially dogs – are bred in Massachusetts and transported to other states to fight, making it very difficult to track the activity.

Read Turtle’s Story: From Bait Dog to Therapy Dog and Lobbyist

How can communities prevent blood sports from happening?

        1. Animal control officers and humane investigators focus on breaking up an animal fighting enterprise and immediately remove animals from the situation.
        2. You can help raise awareness and encourage intervention; both are critical to preventing this type of crime before it occurs

We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty and learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.


Press Release: Deceased Dog in Plastic Bag Found Near Lawrence School

Necropsy reveals extensive abuse leading to death

In late March, a young female Jack Russell Terrier-type dog was found deceased near a Lawrence, MA, school.

A necropsy has revealed the dog’s death was the result of extensive abuse, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, working in conjunction with the Lawrence Police Department, are urgently seeking information to determine who may have been responsible.

A Lawrence police officer discovered the approximately 1-year-old dog along a frequented walking trail behind South Lawrence East Middle School on March 17, at approximately 10:45 a.m.

The white and tan dog had been partially wrapped in a “pee pad” and placed in a black plastic bag. There was blood present inside the bag and on the dog’s body, as well as urine staining on the dog’s tail.

It is likely the dog had not been left in the area for very long.

It appears the animal suffered extreme cruelty and abuse, which led to the dog’s death.

A necropsy has determined the animal’s cause of death to be acute blood loss and multiple skull fractures. Extensive bruising on the body indicates the dog was also intermittently abused in the 36-hours leading up to its death.

Anyone with information pertaining to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact Lawrence Police Det. Carmen Poupora at (978) 794-5900 x625, or ARL Law Enforcement at (617) 426-9170 ext. 110 or cruelty@arlboston.org.


Non-Native Lizard Hitchhikes from Florida to Massachusetts

Finders brought lizard to ARL Brewster Facility

Recently, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center took in a curious, non-native lizard that decided to hit the road and had hitchhiked its way from Florida to Massachusetts.

To see local media coverage of this story click here!

This curious lizard took a little road trip and wound up at ARL!

The person who brought the lizard to ARL stated that the reptile had somehow gotten into the interior of the vehicle when leaving Florida and was discovered upon arrival in Massachusetts.

The lizard, described as a Brown Anole, is native to Florida and abundant in the Sunshine State, but a non-native species to Massachusetts — the lizard was transported to a reptile rescue organization in Connecticut to receive care and be rehomed.

ARL commends the actions of the lizard’s finder and reminds the pubic that non-native species should never be released into the wild, as they can create vast ecological problems.

Any non-native species should be taken to a rescue organization like ARL where they will receive the care they need.


April is National Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know… it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to spread Heartworm disease to your pet?

Heartworm disease

Heartworms.
Source: www.heartwormsociety.org

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal illness for cats, dogs, and ferrets, as well as other mammals. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of affected animals. Heartworm may result in lung disease, heart failure, or other organ damage.

Although this sounds scary (it is!), Heartworm disease can be avoided altogether with the necessary preventative measures.

Protect your pet by reading these 6 FAQs about Heartworm:

  1. How can Heartworm disease spread to my pet? Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes carrying the parasite Dirofilaria Immitis. When an infected mosquito bites a cat, dog, ferret, or other mammal, larvae are transmitted into the bloodstream and ultimately settle in the heart, arteries, blood vessels, and lungs after a period of months.
  2. Which pets are at risk? Any pet in an area with mosquitos is at risk for Heartworm disease.
  3. What symptoms should I look for? Signs of Heartworm disease can be very subtle or very severe depending on the case. Symptoms may include persistent cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, decreased appetite, vomiting, and weight loss. As the disease progresses, an animal may experience fainting, seizures, difficulty walking, or fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Kittens, puppies, and senior pets face the highest risk of developing the more severe symptoms.
  4. How is Heartworm disease diagnosed? It takes approximately 6 months after being bitten by an infected mosquito for your pet to test positive for Heartworm. A veterinarian can make a diagnosis by doing a physical examination and running blood tests.
  5. Is Heartworm disease treatable? For dogs in the US, there is treatment available. Unfortunately for cats in the US, there is currently no approved treatment. The good news, however, is that many Heartworm-infected cats are able to fight the infection themselves and can be monitored every few months, while waiting out the worms’ lifespan. Medications can also be given to help alleviate some symptoms, such as coughing and vomiting.
  6. How can I prevent my pet from contracting Heartworm disease? There are several FDA-approved medications* on the market available for both cats and dogs. Your pet should begin a heartworm preventative around 8 weeks of age, which should be taken year-round. Dogs should be tested for Heartworm every 12 months and regular check-ups for all pets are key to early detection.

 

*Always consult with your veterinarian before administering any type of medication to your pet.

A Friendship Forged Under Quarantine

For Ollie and Holly, they came from different areas, different situations, but fate (and a four-month quarantine) brought these two kitty friends together, and now the pair are set to spend the rest of their lives in the same home.

Five-year-old Ollie came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in November 2020 after he was stuck in a tree in Weymouth for five days.

When ARL’s Field Services Department went to rescue him, neighbors indicated he had been in the area for several months and that the neighborhood kids nicknamed him Oliver (Ollie) – the name stuck.

Ollie was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and because his veterinary exam revealed several puncture wounds of unknown origin, the former stray would need to undergo a state-mandated four-month-quarantine.

For Holly, she also came to ARL in November 2020 after being found as a stray in the North Dartmouth area. Along with being a little underweight, she had suffered wounds to her legs, and like Ollie, was required to spend the next four months in quarantine.

When Ollie Met Holly

Upon arrival at ARL, Holly was friendly but nervous, especially around new people – she did however enjoy being around other cats.

Ollie on the other hand was incredibly friendly upon arrival, saying hello to anyone who would pay him attention. When it came to other cats however, Ollie was not interested – until he met Holly.

The two were placed in an office so they could have more space to stretch out and interact with people during their quarantine period, and for Ollie, he quickly became interested in Holly.

The pair would play and were often seen napping together, and even eating together! With Ollie’s help, Holly slowly began to come out of her shell and be more social with people.

Going Home

Given the bond forged during their four-months in quarantine, it was decided that the former community cats should find their new home together.

It didn’t take long, just days after being made available for adoption they found their perfect match and are now enjoying their new surroundings – together.

ARL Community Cat Initiative

With approximately 700,000 community cats living throughout Massachusetts, ARL launched its Community Cat Initiative in 2018, and has already helped thousands of these animals in a variety of ways.

For more information about the initiative click here.

ARL Field Services

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies with equipment and training; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.


Stray Cat Found Under Porch Finds Perfect Match

Community Post Leads to Rescue

A home owner in Newton, MA, recently noticed a 13-week-old kitten seeking shelter under her house, and turned to a community forum website in an effort to find his owner.

The kitten was under the porch for seven days and when no one claimed ownership, an Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) volunteer reached out to help get him off the streets.

After privately messaging the home owner, the volunteer sprang into action by responding to the home and with the help of another dedicated volunteer, was able to trap the kitten within 10 minutes and transport him to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Newton was given a thorough veterinary examination when he arrived at ARL, and it was clear that he had been on his own for a little bit.

The kitten was malnourished and underweight, his abdomen was distended, and ARL’s shelter medicine staff also detected a heart murmur.

Following his examination he was placed into foster care to rest and recuperate in a quiet, stress-free environment.

Newton spent a week in foster care, and after being neutered and reexamined, he found his way into the perfect home!

Volunteer for Animals in Need

ARL volunteers are at the core of fulfilling the mission to be an unwavering champion for animals in need.

ARL’s 840 dedicated volunteers donated more than 63,000 hours of their time in 2020!

Additionally, ARL’s 435 foster families took in nearly 850 animals in 2020, giving them the opportunity to spend time outside of the shelter environment, and in Newton’s case, recover from injury or illness in a quiet, loving space.

We are so grateful to all of our volunteers, and if you are interested in giving back for animals in need, click here to see what opportunities are available!


International Women’s Day: ARL’s Founder Ahead of Her Time

Anna Harris Smith Founded ARL in 1899

Today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day, a global day to acknowledge and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

Anna Harris Smith, the founder of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), was a strong, compassionate, and persistent woman, who decided to change the landscape of animal welfare in the United States – 21 years before she had the legal right to vote.

A social worker from Dorchester, she took action after seeing the cruel mistreatment of Boston’s working horses and the hordes of stray and homeless animals living on the streets.

Appalled by what she was seeing on a daily basis, Anna Harris Smith penned an editorial for the Boston Evening Transcript, where she advocated for a centrally located shelter facility for the rescue and care of homeless cats and dogs and remarked, “While getting dogs and cats off the street is work worth doing, the teaching of thoughtful kindness is the work that changes families, communities, and a nation.”

Anna Harris Smith

Anna Harris Smith

In February 1899, 110 people gathered at the Park Street Church in Boston for the very first meeting of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and soon after opened the first shelter in the City of Boston, located at 68 Carver Street.

In 1907, Anna purchased a sprawling property in Dedham to serve as a sanctuary for working horses and homeless animals, and ARL’s Dedham campus continues to serve thousands of animals in need every year.

Through Anna’s fervor for humane education, and the growing impact of her work for animals in need, communities across the United States began to take notice, and used ARL as a model of how to form their own rescue societies.

Anna Harris Smith wrote and lectured extensively, tackling a host of humane issues of the time including the abandonment of pets, the abuse of working horses, transportation of livestock, and the importance of humane education for children.

In the first decades of the 20th-century, ARL’s work grew and Anna Harris Smith’s legacy was cemented.

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

A Lasting Legacy

Anna Harris Smith’s motto was “kindness uplifts the world”, the cornerstone on which ARL was built.

ARL has expanded greatly since Anna Harris Smith’s passing and as animal welfare evolves over time, one thing remains constant – the resolve and dedication by every ARL employee and volunteer to continue to honor her memory to uplift the world by one act of kindness at a time.

Choose to Challenge

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge.

ARL was founded by the challenge to make change for the betterment of animals and society at large, and thanks to Anna Harris Smith’s incredible achievements, we continue to carry her legacy of change today.