Category: Events
Ollie’s Law Coalition Rallies on State House Steps

Coalition urges Legislature to take action on Ollie’s Law to regulate Massachusetts boarding facilities

This week, the “Ollie’s Law Coalition”, which includes the Animal Rescue League of Boston, rallied on the steps of the Massachusetts State House, asking legislatures to step up and help protect pets throughout the Commonwealth while in the care of a boarding facility.

Currently there are no state regulations for these types of facilities, and during the rally, a number of Massachusetts residents relived their harrowing experiences while expressing how uniform regulations may have prevented the pain and suffering their animals endured while being boarded.

An Act to Increase Kennel Safety (H.2019; S.1309) aka Ollie’s Law, would establish standards regarding animal health and employee safety, allowing pet families to choose the best facility to suit their animal’s needs.

The coalition consists of a number of organizations including ARL, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), Dakin Humane Society, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Boston Dog Lawyers, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, JM Pet Resort, among others.

The Ollie’s Law proposed legislation was born out of tragedy.

In 2020, Amy Baxter brought her Labradoodle Ollie to a Western Massachusetts doggie daycare facility, only to receive a text shortly after saying Ollie had been attacked by other dogs.

He was severely injured, and sadly died of his injuries two months later.

While the facility was shuttered by town officials, Baxter was stunned to learn that there were no state regulations regarding boarding facilities, and soon took up the fight to help ensure tragedies like this never happen again.

ARL’s Board Safely™ Campaign

While there are currently no regulations for boarding facilities in Massachusetts, ARL’s Board Safely™ campaign helps guide pet owners when choosing a facility for their pets.

The campaign includes steps to take while researching boarding facilities, as well as what questions you should be asking.

How Can I Help?

ARL urges proponents of Ollie’s Law to contact their state elected officials, to urge the discussion and ultimate passage of this important piece of legislation.

ARL will continue to advocate not just for Ollie’s Law, but for other proposed bills to further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth.

Learn more about ARL’s Legislation Agenda, and how you can help advocate for animals in Massachusetts!

New England Revolution Teams Up with ARL

Pet food collected as part of New England Revolution’s Drive Series, players visit ARL’s Dedham location

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its partnership with the New England Revolution, with events taking place at Gillette Stadium and ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Before this past weekend’s match against FC Cincinnati, Revolution players arrived at Gillette Stadium wearing shirts with photos of adoptable dogs and cats to give attention to just a few of the animals ARL’s is working to find permanent homes for.

Additionally, as part of the Revolution’s Drive Series Presented by Dan O’Brien Automotive group, the team invited fans to donate dog and cat food for ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program, which provides pet food and supplies to pet owners in need throughout Greater Boston.

More than 200 pounds of food was collected!

During this past week Revolution players delivered the supplies to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and also enjoyed a tour of the facility and spent some quality time with a number of animals and even took part in a scavenger hunt with a pair of pigs currently looking for their new home!

Partnering for Animals in Need

ARL proudly began its partnership with the New England Revolution in 2022, with the Revs hosting ARL, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts State Police at Gillette Stadium to promote ARL’s summer pet safety campaign, Too Hot for Spot®.

ARL thanks the New England Revolution’s players and staff for supporting ARL’s mission and is looking forward to continuing this blossoming partnership!

ARL Announces Launch of Humane Education Program, Partnership with Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library locations to host monthly youth educational events

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is pleased to announce the launch of its Humane Education Program, which coincides with a special partnership with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to help create the next generation of compassionate animal advocates.

The monthly series entitled The Fun and Exciting World of Working with Animals aims to educate and inspire. These BPL events are free and open to youth ages 6-9, and future presentations will feature a variety of topics including the inner workings of an animal shelter, introduction to veterinary care, animal behavior, and being kind to animals. More information on this event series.

three small children use toothbrushes to provide enrichment to a tortoise

Children at The Fun and Exciting World of Working with Animals event use small toothbrushes to provide enrichment and grooming to a tortoise.


“For many, our love of animals began at a young age, and this innovative program and partnership with the Boston Public Library allows the city’s youth to learn directly from those who work with animals every day, and perhaps begin to forge a path for their own future,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “ARL cannot thank the Boston Public Library enough for the opportunity to inspire the next generation of animal advocates.”


Two small children and ARL staff member look at a humane cat trap

An ARL staff member shows attendees how a humane cat trap works at The Fun and Exciting World of Working with Animals event.

“The Boston Public Library is thrilled to partner with the Animal Rescue League of Boston to bring engaging, impactful programming to the youth of Boston,” said BPL President David Leonard. “A major focus for the BPL is youth engagement, and we’re dedicated to teaming up with organizations in our community that can help our youngest patrons discover their passions, explore their interests, and chart their futures, all in free, safe, and exciting new ways.”

child holding a small puppy

During Friday Night Teen Group, teens have the opportunity to meet adoptable animals like Dolphin, a Shiba Inu puppy.

Along with ARL’s partnership with the Boston Public Library, ARL’s Humane Education Program will also offer opportunities at the organization’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for area youth to help build confidence around and to show empathy for all animals in our communities.

ARL’s experienced and knowledgeable staff and volunteers will present interactive activities for both children and adults focused on topics related to animal welfare and care. Programs are tailored to the goals, ages, and needs of each group and will include a Friday night teen group and youth reading programs, where young people will actually get the chance to have hands-on experiences with the animals in ARL’s care while learning important life lessons.

More information about ARL’s Humane Education Program.

ARL Joins MAF for Special Spay/Neuter Clinic in Fall River

Spay/neuter clinic provides vital surgery for 30 cats

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

For four years, ARL has participated in the clinic in collaboration with MAF and Fall River Animal Control, with well over 100 animals receiving the vital spay/neuter surgery throughout this partnership.

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, 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 Berard-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.”

Clinics like this that provide subsidized spay and neuter services are at the core of MAF, which is primarily funded by the voluntary tax check off (Line 33f) on the Massachusetts resident income tax form. Since 2014, the MAF voucher program has helped provide spay and neuter services for more than 17,500 animals.

Along with these clinics, ARL continues to be extremely active in the Fall River, as the city is a hotbed when it comes to community cats.

With community cat colonies scattered throughout the city, ARL’s Community Cat Program has provided ample assistance to Fall River Animal Control over the past several years, trapping hundreds of cats, providing them with veterinary care, spay/neuter surgery, and finding the vast majority of them loving homes.

This work has become a year-round effort, and ARL cannot do this work alone.

Donate Today and Your Gift will Have Double the Impact!

The last few years have been extraordinarily difficult and soaring inflation has stretched our budget to the limit. Half of ARL’s donations arrive in the last three months of the year, and most giving happens in the last two weeks of December, yet animals need help every day. This is why GivingTuesday is such an important event for animals in need.

ARL’s Board of Directors, President & CEO, and Friends of ARL, are matching all gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 until Giving Tuesday, 11/29. Please make a gift today through our Facebook fundraiser (100% of your donation will go towards helping animals in need) or directly through our secure, online form.

Friends of Falmouth Dogs and ARL Join for Spay/Neuter Event

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides spay/neuter surgery for a dozen animals

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ made a special stop in Falmouth, through a collaborative effort with Friends of Falmouth Dogs.

Seeing the needs of local pet owners, the Falmouth-based nonprofit provided funding to have a dozen animals spayed or neutered through ARL’s Spay Waggin’ – a mobile surgical clinic serving the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and Islands with accessible and affordable high-quality spay and neuter services for more than 20 years.

“Although the Spay Waggin’ makes routine visits to Falmouth, working directly with Friends of Falmouth Dogs, to be a resource to pet owners within their communities reinforces the core purpose of the Spay Waggin’,” said Sam Fincke, ARL’s Director of Community Operations.

In addition to providing surgery, ARL was able to provide the organization with 150 pounds of dog food to help Friends of Falmouth Dogs further assist pet owners in the community.

Friends of Falmouth Dogs would like to thank the Falmouth Service Center and Falmouth Housing Authority for being so instrumental in getting the word out to the group’s target audience.

This is the second year that Friends of Falmouth Dogs has hosted the Spay Waggin’, and ARL looks forward to similar events in the future!

About the Spay Waggin’

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is a state-of-the-art mobile spay/neuter clinic that has provided the service for more than 65,000 animals since first hitting the road in 2000.

While the Spay Waggin’ has primarily served the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod communities, in 2020 the Spay Waggin’ returned to the city with a stop in East Boston, and the new Franklin Park Zoo stop will further broaden the reach to Metro Boston residents.

The Benefits of Spay/Neuter

There are numerous reasons to spay/neuter your pet, including:

  • Curb pet overpopulation and make your pet healthier
  • Reduce the number of homeless pets euthanized – In the U.S., an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals enter animal shelters every year
  • Spayed or neutered dogs and cats on average have a longer lifespan than intact animals
  • Increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain type of cancers including uterine cancer and cancers of reproductive tract
  • Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, uterine infections, and uterine cancer
  • Reduce unruly behavior

Are you looking for high-quality, low-cost pet wellness care? Check out ARL’s Wellness Waggin’. 

The Most Vulnerable Community Cats, and How You Can Help

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Community Cats Program provides care for hundreds of community cats from throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on an annual basis, but as we get into the warmer months, ARL is seeing more and more of the most vulnerable – kittens born in the wild.

Dedicated to Making a Difference

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated agent working with community cats.

Working throughout the state, ARL’s Community Cat Agent will identify and assess a colony of cats, and formulate a trap-neuter-return (TNR) plan for each situation.

Once the cats are humanely trapped, they are transported to an ARL Animal Care and Adoption Center where they receive medical treatment, including vaccines and spay/neuter surgery, and are also assessed behaviorally to determine adoption potential.

Since its inception in 2017, the program has assisted well over 3,000 community cats, and the need to help these animals has increased every year of the program – and as we get into the warmer months of the year, kittens are being born in great numbers and are extremely vulnerable to the elements, predators, illness and injury, among other threats.

Tansy and Posie

Tansy and Posie are a sibling pair of female kittens, and former community cats, recently taken in by ARL.

Former community cats Tansy and Posie.

A family in Rochester, MA, began noticing a group of cats on their property, and over time began to care for the animals by providing food and also outdoor cat shelters – but they also began to notice an abundance of kittens being born.

Doing some online research, the family discovered ARL’s Community Cat Program.

“When I called ARL’s Dedham branch, I cannot tell you the relief I had when they offered their assistance!” said Sarah Aanensen. “I wanted so badly to help these cats but knew there was no way to afford to get all these feral cats vet care that they so badly needed.”

Sarah began to humanely trap the cats, and Tansy and Posie were brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal care and Adoption Center.

While too young to be made available for adoption, the kittens have spent several weeks in foster care and are getting stronger by the day!

In a few weeks the kittens will be spayed, vaccinated, and will then find their perfect homes!

How You Can Help Community Cats (and Kittens)

Join us for this year’s Kitten Shower, as we bring awareness of the reality of kitten season and rally support to help fragile babies like Tansy and Posie.

This is your chance to help kittens get the chance they deserve at a safe and healthy life in a home.

Here’s how:

    1. Make a gift today to provide kittens and cats with the care they need – Gifts of $100 or more will be recognized on the Kitten Kuddler Wall of Honor
    2. Send critically-needed supplies from our Kitten Shower Registry directly to those in need
    1. Help spread the word by voting and sharing our Cutest Kitten (or Cat) Photo Contest

Your support can mean the difference between a challenging life outdoors and a happy, secure home for these vulnerable animals.

ARL Hosts Rabies Vaccine and Microchip Clinics

Nearly 100 animals receive rabies vaccine and microchips

This spring, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its efforts to provide low-cost and accessible pet wellness services, and recently held two rabies vaccine and microchip clinics in two towns that ARL proudly calls home.

ARL recently partnered with the Town of Dedham and Dedham Animal Control to host a rabies vaccine and microchip clinic outside of ARL’s new multi-use building, located on ARL’s historic Dedham campus.

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ provided the state-mandated vaccine for dogs, cats, and ferrets for nearly 60 pets, and the clinic was free for Dedham residents, $10 for the rabies vaccine and $10 for a microchip for non-residents.

Dedham Animal Control was also able to provide on-site dog licenses for dog owners as well!

The Dedham clinic has been an annual tradition for a number of years, and ARL thanks the town and animal control for their collaboration on this important event!

Brewster Clinic

In late April, the Town of Brewster, home to ARL’s Cape Cod Animal Care and Adoption Center, held it’s annual Brewster in Bloom Festival, with ARL holding its rabies vaccine and microchip clinic in conjunction with the weekend-long event.

ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ was on-site at Brewster’s Lemon Tree Village Shops, providing vaccines and microchips for nearly 50 pets.

A Community Connection

While these rabies vaccine and microchip clinics provide an essential service for pets, it’s also an opportunity for pet owners to get to know ARL a little better and learn what other services may be available for residents in the communities ARL proudly serves.

With the Dedham and Brewster rabies vaccine and microchip clinics complete, ARL now turns to upcoming events in Boston.

Starting in September, ARL will join Boston Animal Control for two rabies vaccine and microchip clinics – the first happening on September 27 at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, and the second taking place in October in Dorchester.

Stay tuned for more details!

ARL Celebrates Volunteer Appreciation Week

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Week – a time when the organization and pause and say thank you to the hard work and dedication of these true champions for animals in need.

After two years of hosting virtual events, ARL was once again able to hold three in-person volunteer appreciation week events at ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers to celebrate and personally thank each and every volunteer at ARL.

In 2021, 1,059 volunteers dedicated nearly 40,000 hours to help animals in need, while ARL’s 526 foster families opened their hearts and homes to 1,071 animals!

Volunteers are at the heart of ARL’s mission and are the backbone to the organization’s day-to-day operations.

From feeding animals, cleaning kennels, walking dogs, working with behaviorally challenging animals, sorting through linens and donations, to many other duties, ARL volunteers all bring something unique to the organization, but all have one thing in common – the love and dedication to assisting the animals in ARL’s care in any way possible.

“While it’s always an honor to recognize our dedicated volunteer and foster families, to be able to once again hold these celebrations in-person was truly special,” stated ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement, Debby Chaplic. “ARL volunteers are such a special group of individuals and the work they do each and every day continues to inspire as they are true champions for animals in need.”

During each of this year’s volunteer appreciation events, ARL also continued the tradition of handing out a number of awards to volunteers and staff that consistently go above and beyond.

Without further ado, the winners!

    • Best of Boston- Betsy Jones of Watertown
    • Cape’d Crusader- Teresa Snow of Harwich
    • Dedham’s Most Dignified- Melissa Salce of Dedham
    • ARL’s Unsung Hero- Susan McNeice of Needham and Josephine Paolucci of West Roxbury
    • All Other Creatures Big and Small- Leo Settoducato of Somerville
    • Admin’s Above and Beyond- Carol Svenson of Arlington and Elna Rapp of Boston
    • Our Four Footed Friends Favorite Foster Parent-  Lori Everett of W. Dennis and Donna Tormey of Shirley

Additionally, volunteers also voted for the following awards for ARL staff: 

    • Boston- Michelle Polin of Attleboro
    • Brewster- Sadie Santos of Truro
    • Dedham- Courtney Foley of Quincy

And in a new category, volunteers also had the opportunity this year to vote for ARL Pets of the Year:

    • Dog: Benjamin of Dedham
    • Cat: Godric of Boston and Jungle Jazz of Brewster
    • Other: Mike the Macaw and Violet the Pig of Dedham

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.

Learn more about volunteering at ARL.

ARL Participates in Special Ceremony to Mark Signing of Nero’s Law

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker took part in a stirring ceremony on Cape Cod, marking the passage of Nero’s Law.

Representatives from ARL, who advocated for the passage of the legislation, also took part in the ceremony.

The ceremony, held at a Yarmouth Police training center being built in honor of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon, had additional meaning, as the ceremony took place on the 4-year anniversary of a tragic event.

On April 12, 2018, Sgt. Gannon was shot and killed while serving a search warrant, and his K9 partner Nero, was critically wounded.

At the time, Nero could not be treated at the scene due to state law. The passage of Nero’s Law ensures that police dogs like Nero have access to emergency care and transport by first responders, should they be wounded in the field.

“We shouldn’t even have to debate or discuss whether or not they [K-9s] get shot or injured in the line of duty, that we should do what we can to save them because Lord knows they would save us if the role was reversed,” Governor Baker said.

Nero’s Law was an important part of ARL’s 2021-2022 legislative agenda, and Joe King, ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement, former K9 handler and major with the Massachusetts State Police, testified in support of the legislation, which passed unanimously at the State House.

ARL Continues Spay/Neuter Clinics with Massachusetts Animal Fund

Over the past several years, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has been the focal point for a number of special clinics to deliver vital spay and neuter services to underserved communities, in partnership with the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF).

Primarily the clinics have taken place in Fall River, MA, an area along the South Coast of Massachusetts with a severe lack of accessible and affordable spay/neuter services.

This week, ARL and MAF teamed up once again, but this time delivering services to two dozen pet owners in New Bedford, MA – another South Coast area hard hit by a lack of accessible and affordable spay/neuter services.

The surgeries for these special clinics 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 an incredibly high demand, many clinic clients had been on a waiting list for months and some upwards of a year to have their pets spayed or neutered.

These clinics give clients easy access to high-quality veterinary care, and the MAF vouchers remove the financial burden from pet owners who would otherwise be unable to afford the important procedure.

“I’ve been waiting for 8 months and was told there was a big demand but would be contacted and they reached about a month ago,” said Nicole Canfield, whose cat Jynx was spayed during the clinic. “It’s very important, and a giant help, my normal vet wanted over $300 just to fix her which I couldn’t afford on a fixed income.”

“My cat Midnight, – he’s year-and-a-half, and I needed to get him fixed,” said Spay Waggin’ client Brandi Mosher. “This program is great, I wouldn’t be able to get him fixed without it, I heard about this program through the animal control officer and am very grateful (for this service).”

ARL is slated to take part in clinics in both New Bedford and Fall River later this spring.

Making a difference since 2000

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has been at the forefront of providing accessible and affordable high-quality spay/neuter services to the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and the Islands since the program first hit the road in 2000.

Click here for more information and to book an appointment on the Spay Waggin’.