Every autumn, members of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Leadership Council gather in Dedham to get an up-close glimpse of what ARL programs are doing to help animals in need. This year was all about ARL’s community programs to bring services directly to those that need them most.
Proactive vs. Reactive
Animal adoption is of course a facet of ARL that’s widely recognized, however as the world of animal welfare continues to evolve, we must be proactive instead of reactive; with the goal of keeping animals safe and healthy in their homes, not in a shelter environment. To be proactive, we must move beyond the walls of our shelters and into the communities that are in need our services.
What are Community Programs?
- Law Enforcement – Investigates crimes of animal cruelty, abuse and neglect. In 2017, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department investigated cases involving nearly 3,000 animals.
- Rescue Services – ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a technically-trained department dedicated to animal rescue. In 2017, Rescue Services assisted nearly 2,000 domesticated animals and wildlife in need.
- Community Cat Initiative – Launched in 2017, this program addresses the estimated 700,000 community cats living in harsh conditions throughout Massachusetts. In its first year, the program assisted 622 community cats, 78 percent of which found loving homes, while the remaining cats were returned to the field where they are monitored and fed by members of the community.
- Spay Waggin’ – Serving eight locations throughout the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod, this mobile spay and neuter clinic offers high-quality and low-cost services and in 2017 surpassed 50,000 surgeries since being launched in 2000.
- Healthy Animals, Healthy Communities – This on-going pilot project was made possible through a grant from the Cummings Foundation, and centers on bringing services to the Codman Square area in Dorchester, MA. The initiative includes a weekly, low-cost wellness clinic, as well as a number of partnerships, including the Codman Academy.
Leadership Council Co-Chair Alisa Plazonja welcomes attendees. Community Initiative Coordinator Samantha Fincke discusses Healthy Animals-Healthy Communities. Exploring the Spay Waggin'. ARL's new Transport Waggin' was on full display! The Transport Waggin' greatly increases ARL's mobile capabilities. Leadership Council members with ARL President Mary Nee in front of Dedham's iconic red barn.
Two New Additions
Attendees at this year’s Fall Forum were also introduced to two new exciting additions to ARL’s community programs that aim to bring services directly to areas they’re needed most.
Thanks to a generous donation from Leadership Council members Peter and Connie Lacaillade, this specially-equipped vehicle allows ARL to help more animals in need by providing a missing resource – mobile response.
The Transport Waggin’ will be able to pick up surrendered animals from owners that are unable to come to the shelter; assist concerned citizens who find stray animals in their communities; assist Animal Control Agencies and smaller rescue groups with transport; assist ARL Law Enforcement and Rescue Services; and transport existing animals in our shelter system for any outside needs or services.
Although not on the road as of yet, the Wellness Waggin’ will drastically increase ARL’s ability to bring veterinary services to communities where they’re needed most.
The vehicle will include an exam room and surgical suite, and is slated to be in operation every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – each day in a different location in the Boston metropolitan area.
By bringing these vital and affordable veterinary services to communities, we can eliminate part of the financial burden of pet ownership, prevent animal surrender, and allow animals to remain in their homes.
A Special Thank You
ARL wishes to thank our Leadership Council members who attended the annual Fall Educational Forum, and stay tuned for more exciting updates of our expanding community programs and initiatives!