Category: Dedham
Cat with Hole in Soft Palate on the Mend

‘Vito’ suffered chronic nasal discharge and dental disease

Whether you’re human or a companion animal, the cost of medical care can be expensive – especially when the concerns are outside the realm of “normal”. For one-and-a-half-year-old Vito, his chronic afflictions proved to be too much of a financial challenge for his owners, and he was surrendered to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

ARL is committed to the health and happiness of every animal that comes into our care by conducting a thorough behavioral and veterinary assessment, and in Vito’s case, it was the treatment of one chronic condition that led to the discovery of what was causing the second.

Vito’s gums were painfully inflamed, and the severity of his dental disease required the extraction of 22 teeth. The cat was also suffering from chronic nasal discharge which was not improving — even with antibiotic therapy.

At ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, shelter veterinary staff sedated Vito for his dental procedure and simultaneous examination of his oral and nasal cavity. A hole was found in his soft palate (the tissue that separates the nasal cavity from the oral cavity), and the hole was allowing food and saliva into the nasal cavity, causing chronic infection.

With the root cause detected, Vito underwent a surgical procedure to close the hole and in the following days has shown rapid improvement.

While only able to eat wet food following surgery, Vito is now able to consume both wet and dry food, and now that he’s feeling better, his personality is on full display! Vito is playful, friendly and has a great desire to explore – he’s on the mend and will soon be made available to find his forever home!

Your Support Saves Lives

When you support ARL, you give animals like Vito a second chance. ARL’s shelter medicine program provides all facets of care – from wellness exams to complex and life-saving surgery.

ARL served 18,018 animals in 2017, and does not receive any government grants or public funding – we rely solely on the generosity of individuals like YOU to make our important work possible. Please DONATE today!

PAWS II Signed into Law

PAWS II further bolsters Massachusetts animal protection law

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to announce that Governor Charlie Baker has officially signed PAWS II into law. An Act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns passed unanimously in both the Senate and House, and was part of a whirlwind of activity for Governor Baker this past Thursday, who signed 53 bills into law.

PAWS II is an enormous step forward for animal protection law in Massachusetts and includes the following provisions:

  • Establishes a commission to explore mandatory reporting of animal cruelty (ARL will have a designated representative)
  • Ensures property owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prohibits the automatic euthanasia of animal fighting victims
  • Ensures more efficient enforcement of animal control laws
  • Prohibits sexual contact with an animal
  • Prohibits the drowning of animals
  • Requires insurance companies offering homeowners or renters insurance to record and report circumstances surrounding dog-related incident claims to the MA Division of Insurance, the clerks in the Senate and House, and the ways and means committees for three years (last report to be filed by Jan 1, 2022)

“This legislation is a huge leap forward for animal protection in Massachusetts and was several years in the making,” said ARL President Mary Nee. “The Animal Rescue League of Boston is thrilled with its passage and appreciate the hard work and dedication of our elected officials to make the welfare of animals throughout the Commonwealth a priority.”

PAWS II builds upon the original PAWS Act that was passed in 2014 and was born out of the horrific discovery of the dog forever known as Puppy Doe in 2013. Along with increasing animal cruelty penalties and requiring veterinarians to report suspected abuse, the PAWS Act created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force. ARL President Mary Nee was part of the 11-member group who was charged with investigating the effectiveness of existing laws, and determining where gaps still exist.

The PAWS II Act is a direct reflection of the Task Force’s hard work and recommendations.

ARL worked in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, MSPCA, and Best Friends Animal Society to educate the public and advocate for the passage of this bill and would sincerely like to thank the following legislators for their leadership and commitment to animal protection:

PAWS II Sponsors: Senator Mark Montigny; Senator Bruce Tarr; Representative Louis Kafka
Conference Committee: Representative Jim O’Day; Representative David Muradian, Representative Sarah Peake; Senator Tarr; Senator Montigny; Senator Adam Hinds

MA House: Representative Robert DeLeo (House Speaker); Representative Jeffery Sanchez (House Ways and Means Chair)

MA Senate: Senator Karen Spilka (Senate President); Senator Harriette Chandler (Former Senate President)

Guilty Verdict for New York Man Accused of Killing Two Puppies

Verdict marks third high-profile case in 2018 involving ARL to be closed

In November 2014, the bodies of two 20-week-old puppies were found in a dumpster at a gas station in Revere. The puppies had been placed in a black garbage bag and thrown away like common house trash.

Nearly 4 years later, Dominick Donovan, the man charged with killing the puppies has been found guilty of 6 counts of animal cruelty and was sentenced to four years in jail. A co-defendant in the case previously pleaded guilty and testified against Donovan. He will be sentenced in late August.

The verdict and sentencing was the end of a long, multi-jurisdictional and collaborative investigation, and is the third high-profile animal cruelty case that has come to a conclusion this year. All three cases have two things in common — a commitment for justice from prosecutors and law enforcement against those who abuse animals; and the assistance of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department.

For the Donovan case, ARL Law Enforcement Director Lt. Alan Borgal was vital in the inspection and shut down of the co-defendant’s unlicensed kennel in Lynn. With 40-plus years of experience in animal welfare, Lt. Borgal also extended assistance and advice when needed during all phases of the investigation, filing of charges and prosecution of this case.

ARL President Mary Nee and Director of Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal address the media following Radoslaw Czerkawski sentencing.

The first of 2018’s triad of victories was the now infamous Puppy Doe case. In late March, 35-year-old Radoslaw Czerkawski was found guilty of 12 counts of animal cruelty for the vicious cycle of torture and pain inflicted upon Puppy Doe, who needed to be humanely euthanized due to the extent of her injuries. Czerkawski will serve 8-10 years in prison for his crimes.

Also in March, a 33-year-old Salem man pleaded guilty to pending animal cruelty charges, during jury deliberations on a separate case. In January 2017, ARL Law Enforcement seized Luke, the defendant’s 11-month-old Pitbull, and the defendant was charged with animal cruelty for several documented instances of abuse. Luke needed extensive training and care and was with ARL for more than 500 days until he was adopted.

On the Front Lines

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department investigates crimes against animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect. We employ Special State Police Officers, with the authority to enforce animal protection laws; these dedicated officers work closely with local, state and federal agencies, prosecutors and animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth.

In 2017, ARL investigated cruelty and neglect cases involving 2,966 animals, resulting in 84 law enforcement prosecutions. DONATE NOW


It’s National ‘Check the Chip’ Day!

Sharon resident reunited with cat thanks to microchip

Today is National ‘Check the Chip’ Day, a day to remind pet owners of the importance of not only having a microchip implanted, but to make sure that all contact information is up to date. While not replacing a collar and tags, a microchip drastically improves the chances of being reunited with a pet should they become lost.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a dog with a microchip is twice as likely to be returned to their owners, while a cat with a microchip is 20 times more likely to be returned.

Microchip Success Story

In February, Sharon resident Tyler Martin’s four-year-old brown tabby Bailey went missing. Bailey’s owner posted flyers around his neighborhood, but as the days and weeks passed, the hope for a reunion dwindled and the belief was that Bailey was gone for good.

Fast forward six months to August – the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services received a call from a resident in Norwood about a possible stray cat in their yard. Rescue agents responded to the scene and were able to corral the friendly cat, transporting the animal to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bailey was scanned for a microchip and the information led ARL to Martin. When contacted, he was emotional and ecstatic to hear the news, but shocked that Bailey had been found on the other side of Route 95 in another town! He left work and was in Dedham in less than 30 minutes.

At the shelter, Bailey was shy and wasn’t looking to interact with anyone, however when his owner arrived, a quick sniff of the hand created an instant reconnection, and the reunion was complete.

A happy reunion to say the least, and if Bailey had not been microchipped, it’s unlikely this reunion would’ve happened.

How the Microchip Works

A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number that is unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required. The microchip is injected with a needle beneath the skin between the shoulder blades and is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it.

Your pet’s identification number is entered into a national microchip registry, and you can think of the microchip as a permanent ID tag for your pet – but if you move or change phone numbers it’s important to make sure that your contact information is updated to increase the chances of a reunion.

When you adopt a dog or cat from ARL, along with being vaccinated, spayed or neutered, medically and behaviorally evaluated, the animal will also have a microchip implanted before you take them home.

Take Advantage of Boston Veterinary Care’s Special August Promotion!

This month, BVC clients will receive 25% off microchipping — registration included — with an exam or procedure; not to be combined with any other offer. Click here or call (617) 226-5606 for more details or to make an appointment.

ARL Spay Waggin’ Expands Services to Middleborough

Dog owner spared significant expense

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ expanded its services this week, adding Middleborough to its list of rotating stops throughout the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod.

The mobile clinic offers high-quality, low-cost spay and neuter services and in addition to Middleborough, rotating stops also include Brockton, Falmouth, New Bedford, North Dartmouth, Plymouth, Taunton, and Wareham.

The Spay Waggin’s inaugural stop in Middleborough was a success and met with enthusiasm from clients.

“This is great, I can drop off my cat in the morning, go to work, and pick her up in the afternoon,” said one excited pet owner. “It couldn’t be easier, and I can afford it.”

For many pet owners, affordability can be a major hurdle — one Middleborough client was able to avoid that hurdle, saving hundreds in the process, just by bringing her dog to ARL’s mobile unit.

The one-year-old yellow lab puppy needed to be neutered, however the fact that his testicles had not yet descended made it a more invasive surgery. Such a surgery could run upwards of $1,500 at other pet wellness facilities.

“The goal of the Spay Waggin’ is to bring these high-quality, low-cost services to the communities where they’re needed,” said ARL Medical Director of Community and Shelter Medicine, Dr. Kyle Quigley. “For this dog’s surgery, it was an upcharge of just $80 because it was a little more invasive, which saved the client in the neighborhood of $1,000.”

Performing more than 50,000 spay and neuter surgeries since 2,000, the need for low-cost, high-quality services remains high and ARL is excited to be able to help more animals in need and the people who care for them.

“For many, having their pet spayed or neutered is cost-prohibitive,” Dr. Quigley said. “With eight rotating stops along the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod, ARL will be able to help even more families afford this important procedure for their pets.”

Here to Serve

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ covers a wide swath of the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and is a by-appointment-only service. Spaying or neutering is one of the simplest ways to improve health, control certain behaviors and even lengthen the lifespan of your furry friends. Make an appointment online or by calling 1-877-590-SPAY (7729) today!

Kitten with Eye Ulcers Part of Large-Scale Community Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic

Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, East Boston Colonies Targeted

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) conducted a large-scale spay and neuter clinic for community cats from neighborhood colonies in Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and East Boston. The day-long clinic took place at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center’s state-of-the-art surgical suite, and among the approximately 30 cats to have surgery was a 13-week-old kitten named Liam, found with ulcers affecting vision in both eyes.

If left on the street, Liam likely would not have survived long-term due to his condition. Along with being neutered, one eye had ruptured due to an untreated viral infection and needed to be removed; the hope is that with medication, Liam’s vision in his remaining eye will improve over time. He will be made available for adoption once he recovers from surgery.

Out of the 30 cats that had surgery, about half, including a dozen kittens, will find loving families and forever homes – the undersocialized, or feral, cats will be returned to the field. The surgical clinic was the culmination of several days of trapping in known colonies from the aforementioned neighborhoods, and ARL is planning for more clinics in the near future to serve communities in need throughout the greater Boston area and South Shore.

A Community Issue

There are approximately 700,000 community cats living in Massachusetts, about 70,000 in Boston alone. Since 2017, ARL has served well over 700 community cats, with just 18 percent being returned to their colonies; however ARL has never conducted such a large-scale community cat spay and neuter clinic.

“Over the past year, we’ve increased our focus on community cats and have helped them as they’ve come to us,” ARL’s Medical Director of Community and Shelter Medicine Dr. Kyle Quigley said. “But with this effort we strategically targeted large, known colonies and the goal is to have a bigger, immediate impact for these communities.”

Change the Lives of Cats at Risk

ARL is excited about our commitment to help keep community cats safe and healthy in the habitats in which they live, but we need your investment in order to provide the best outcome for these cats. To fully support these innovative programs and help more than 1,500 cats lead healthier lives, we need to raise $204,000 annually. Please donate now to help these animals in need.

Collaboration Allows Ill Pet to Stay with Owner

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR) and Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF) collaborated to not only save the life of an ill dog, but to ensure that the animal was able to stay with her loving family.

When Missy, a 7-year-old Golden Retriever, began showing signs she wasn’t feeling well, her owner brought her to an emergency animal hospital where she was diagnosed with pyometra – a uterine infection that is often fatal is left untreated.

Being on public assistance, the owner simply did not have the funds to cover the costs of a $2,000 emergency spay surgery. The dog was sent home with antibiotics and the owner was urged to contact some low-cost veterinary hospitals, or to surrender the animal to a rescue organization like ARL; but was also told Missy needed surgery in the next 36 hours.

After contacting several other animal hospitals with no luck, Missy’s owner called MAF. Given the owner’s financial situation, MAF was able to provide a voucher to cover the cost of the surgery and the next challenge was to find an available provider.

MDAR Chief Veterinarian Health Officer Dr. Lorraine O’Connor contacted ARL Medical Director for Community and Shelter Medicine Dr. Kyle Quigley, who was able to accommodate the emergency surgery request on the spot.

Just hours later, the life-saving surgery was performed, with the infected uterus and ovaries being removed, and Missy was soon on the road to recovery. Her prognosis is positive and most importantly Missy was able to stay in her home.

MAF Vouchers

MAF spay/neuter vouchers are made available for low-income residents, and can be obtained via local Animal Control Officers. There are more than a dozen of providers who accept these vouchers, including ARL’s Spay Waggin’ and Community Surgical Clinic, which is held every Friday at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center. Please note: both of these services are by appointment only.

Mission in Action

As an unwavering champion for animals, ARL’s vision is to keep animals safe and healthy in the communities where they live. ARL would like to thank MAF and MDAR for their assistance and for allowing us the opportunity to perform this service and keep a happy family together!

Governor Baker and MSP Join ARL for Too Hot for Spot Demonstration

ARL’s fifth annual public awareness campaign

This past Friday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was joined by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, legislators, and the Massachusetts State Police Major Richard Ball to once again remind pet owners of the dangers of heat stroke for pets, particularly in hot cars.

It is the fifth year ARL has imparted the “Too Hot for Spot” summer pet safety message throughout the Commonwealth. ARL is spreading this message through social media, flyers, car magnets, media partnerships, and digital billboards throughout the state thanks to billboard space generously donated by MassDOT and IBEW Local 103.

The event took place in front of the Massachusetts State House, and included a demonstration with ARL’s stuffed dog “Spot” to show how quickly the inside of a car can heat up – even with seemingly mild temperatures and the windows cracked.

It was a perfect summer day with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees. In just 10 minutes the temperature inside ARL’s Rescue Services vehicle rose to well over 120 degrees. It’s important to remember that animals do not sweat like humans do, and cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature in an environment such as a hot car.

Massachusetts General Law Ch. 140, Section 174f was signed by Governor Baker in 2016, and prohibits confining an animal “in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme or cold”. The law also allows first responders and ordinary citizens to enter a vehicle to remove an animal if it’s deemed that its life is in imminent danger.

“While our hope is that no one ever has to rescue an animal from a hot car, we understand those situations unfortunately do arise and lives can depend on a quick response,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Educating the public on the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars and the measures they can take to rescue an animal in need is a key prevention tool, and I thank the ARL for once again launching this important campaign.”

“Our pets provide limitless love and companionship, and we must do everything to protect them from neglectful owners who time and time again have shown a cruel disregard for their welfare,” said State Senator Mark Montigny, lead sponsor of the 2016 law penalizing the leaving of pets in hot cars.

Despite having a law on the books in Massachusetts, unfortunately Animal Control Officers and law enforcement are still seeing a high number of incidents where animals are left in hot vehicle and enduring needless suffering.

“The Massachusetts State Police and all law enforcement agencies consider animal cruelty and neglect to be serious crimes and assist animal rights organizations in investigating such crimes aggressively,” said Major Richard Ball, commander of MSP Troop H. “We urge the public to be familiar with the law that allows them to take action to rescue an animal confined in a hot car, and to tell law enforcement about any type of animal abuse they see or suspect. If you see something, say something.”

“The ‘dog days’ of summer are the perfect time to keep the safety of our pets in mind,” said State Representative Lori Ehrlich. “I hope this law never has to be used, but everyone should know the dangers of a hot car and what to do if you see an animal in danger. Prevention is best so I’m grateful to the Animal Rescue League of Boston for raising awareness.”

Prevention is Key

ARL’s “Too Hot for Spot” campaign is focused on reminding the public that prevention is always the best solution. When temperatures rise, ARL urges pet owners to leave their animals at home.

ARL Caring for Stray Peacock Found on Cape Cod

Not an everyday occurrence

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently took in a stray peacock who was found as a stray in the Greenland Pond/Long Pond area of Brewster, MA. While ARL takes in thousands of stray animals annually, a peacock is certainly something the organization doesn’t see every day.

This stray peacock is absolutely stunning!

For more than a week in late June, ARL, Brewster Police and Animal Control had received numerous reports of the bird in that area; Brewster Animal Control was able to capture the peacock, and brought it to ARL Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center. Due to limited livestock space in Brewster, the bird was then brought to ARL’s Dedham facility.

His arrival in Dedham has even attracted local media attention!

Peacocks, which are not native to North America but gained popularity as a status symbol in the early 1900s, are legal to own in Massachusetts.

Despite the fact that they’re prone to wandering, nobody has stepped forward to claim ownership of this beautiful bird – opening up the possibility that he was abandoned in the area he was found.

The two-year-old male is settling into his new surroundings, and while being in the wild for a unknown amount of time, he is in remarkable shape and healthy.

The peacock will soon be available for adoption – anyone interested must demonstrate that they have the proper set up to house a peacock – ample space with a proper enclosure. ARL will also be reaching out to area zoos to determine if anyone would be willing to take in this striking animal.

More than dogs and cats

While the vast majority of animals ARL takes in are dogs and cats, from livestock to zoo animals, for decades the organization has demonstrated time and time again that it can handle a wide variety of species and give them the same level of care and affection that’s afforded to every animal that comes through our doors. ARL receives no government funding and our work is made possible only through your generous support.

Keep Your Pet Safe This Fourth of July

Some things to keep in mind while celebrating

This year, the Fourth of July holiday falls in the middle of the week – and in the middle of a string of hot and humid weather. It’s a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to remember that the sun, crowds, and loud noises can lead to over-stimulation, fear, and a potentially harmful situation for your pets.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) asks that you keep these five simple, but important tips to create a safe environment for your dog if they must be with you.

  1. Keep your dog away from potentially hazardous objects. BBQ’s are a source of tempting smells, and obvious danger. Fireworks – a sudden bang and a flash of light: these are ingredients for striking fear into your dog and could also illicit “fearfully aggressive” behavior. Keep your animal away from fireworks or even sparklers.
  2. There’s no place like home. Who doesn’t enjoy the comforts of home? And during the Fourth of July holiday, it may just be the perfect place for your pup. Turning a TV or radio on at low volume can distract your dog from all the outside noise, and they can also be in a cool, temperature and humidity controlled environment with access to water to keep them comfortable.
  3. If they must be outside, keep your dog in a carrier or on a leash. While outdoors, set your dog up in style, with shade, ample air-flow, and plenty of cold water.
  4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. When the temperature rises it’s Too Hot for Spot! Animals don’t sweat like we do and can overheat easily. Even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, the inside of a car can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, which can lead to deadly heat stroke. Massachusetts law also prohibits leaving an animal in a parked car; owners can face fines or even forfeiture of the animal.
  5. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report an uptick of stray animals after July 4th due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Be sure your contact information is correct and up to date, and always have your information on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they become separated from you.

Play it Safe

ARL wants you to enjoy the holiday as we celebrate the birth of our nation, and remember that prevention is always the best course of action for you and your pet. When possible, leave your pet at home to avoid a possible dangerous and stressful situation!