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Category: Law Enforcement
Press Release: ARL Removes 80 Animals from Overcrowding Situations

Cats and Kittens Found Living in Deplorable Conditions

Over the past two weeks, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement and Field Services Departments have removed 80 cats and kittens from two different overcrowding situations in Bristol and Plymouth Counties.

For local press coverage click here!

These cases highlight the importance of recognizing the signs of hoarding, seeking help when overwhelmed, and having pets spayed and neutered. These are on-going issues across the Commonwealth and ARL believes it’s important for the public to be aware and to take action.

The most recent incident happened along the South Shore, where approximately 50 cats and kittens have been discovered in squalid conditions in a small apartment after the tenants had been evicted.

The initial visit to the apartment netted 34 cats, however ARL has made several return trips to the home, which led to the discovery of another 16 cats. Traps continue to be set and checked and more cats may be rescued.

The owner of the cats was clearly overwhelmed, and the case highlights the importance of seeking help when overwhelmed, and having pets spayed or neutered.

Initially there were just three cats in the home. However in a period of just a couple of years, the population exploded to more than 50. Unfortunately several deceased cats were found in the dwelling.

The cats are currently at ARL’s Boston and Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers and are undergoing medical and behavioral evaluations. The animals are under-socialized and will need a period to adjust to their surroundings and human contact.

Bristol County Incident

The Bristol County situation unfolded during the last week of October, and began with a welfare check by local police. The end result was the removal of 29 cats.

Due to the high levels of ammonia in the home and safety concerns, local health officials would not allow ARL Law Enforcement and Field Services Departments to enter the dwelling without respirators with the highest-filtration-level charcoal filters to protect on-site workers.

With the help of local animal control officers, the 29 cats were removed from the home in about four hours, and transported to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers for evaluation and treatment.

The local building inspector and board of health condemned the home.

The majority of cats from this situation were socialized and friendly, and some have already found forever homes.

There were however, several animals with medical concerns that are commonly associated with animal overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

A number of cats are suffering from upper respiratory infections, several had fleas and dry skin, and one cat required an eye to be removed.

As the health of these animals improves, they will be available for adoption once they are medically cleared.

Resources are Available

ARL reminds the public that there are resources available should you or someone you know show signs of hoarding. The state website https://www.mass.gov/hoarding has a number of useful tools and resources available to the public.

For spay and neuter, there are also a number of resources available for those who may not be able to afford the surgery.

ARL operates the Spay Waggin’, which makes stops along the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and offers low-cost spay and neuter services.

There is also a voucher program funded by the Massachusetts Animal Fund, which ARL participates in.


ARL Removes 29 Cats from Overcrowding Situation

A recent welfare check at a Bristol County home by local police led to the removal of 29 cats by the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department.

Due to the high levels of ammonia in the home and safety concerns, local health officials would not allow ARL Law Enforcement and Field Services Departments to enter the dwelling without respirators with the highest-filtration-level charcoal filters to protect on-site workers.

With the help of local animal control officers, the 29 cats were removed from the home in about four hours, and transported to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers for evaluation and treatment.

The local building inspector and board of health condemned the home.

On the Mend

The majority of cats from this situation were socialized and friendly, and some have already found forever homes.

There were however, several animals with medical concerns that are commonly associated with animal overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

A number of cats are suffering from upper respiratory infections, several had fleas and dry skin, and one cat required an eye to be removed.

As the health of these animals improves, they will be available for adoption once they are medically cleared.

ARL is Ready to Help

From rescuing, rehabilitating, and adoption, ARL is always ready to help animals like these 29 cats and to give them a second chance.

However, we cannot do it alone.

ARL receives no government grants or public funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals like you to make our important work possible.

Please join us by supporting ARL’s mission to keep animals safe and healthy in habitats and homes.

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Press Release: ARL Files Charges Against Middleboro Kennel Owner

Five Felony Counts Included

Today, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department filed criminal charges at Wareham District Court, stemming from a September 24 operation where ARL, in conjunction with Middleboro Police and Animal Control Departments, seized 24 animals from a commercial kennel facility in the town.

Charges levied against the kennel owner include five felony animal cruelty charges, and 23 misdemeanor charges for neglect and abuse.

With charges officially filed, ARL will not be commenting further until judicial proceedings conclude. Any media inquiries can be directed to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office.

ARL and partnering municipal shelters continue to provide daily care for the 24 animals, primarily Cane Corso dogs, seized from the property in September.

ARL Providing On-Going Care

The majority of the animals were traumatized due to their surroundings, and remain under evaluation and are currently NOT available for adoption.

ARL is providing providing on-going care for these animals, which includes veterinary and behavioral services, as well as socialization and basic necessities. This is still an emergency situation for these animals and they need your continued support.

Your emergency gift today can support:

  • Veterinary care and rehabilitation for the sudden influx of animals that have suffered
  • On-going investigations of cruelty to pursue justice for animals
  • Emergency response when crisis strikes and animals are in dire need

Click here to make a life-saving gift today. 


ARL Caring for Mom and Puppies Involved in Animal Cruelty Investigation

ARL Law Enforcement Working with New Bedford Police

This past week, a video surfaced on social media showing a man in New Bedford allegedly hitting a dog with an unknown object.

New Bedford Police and Animal Control Departments responded and removed a female dog and her three puppies from the home and contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department for assistance.

Female dog from New Bedford settling in at ARL.

ARL Law Enforcement then brought the animals to Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment facility in Walpole for X-rays and forensic exams.

Click here to see local media coverage of this story.

The following day the dogs were transferred to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for on-going care and shelter.

Despite their ordeal, the animals are doing well, but are NOT currently available for adoption and it is unknown when their status will change.

The New Bedford Police Department has filed animal cruelty charges against the suspect in the video and are continuing to investigate the matter. ARL Law Enforcement has also made itself available to assist in the investigative process in any way needed.

Witness Animal Cruelty? Dial 9-1-1 Immediately

ARL Law Enforcement encourages anyone who suspects animal cruelty, neglect, or abuse to contact ARL at (617) 426-9170 or cruelty@arlboston.org to file a report. However, in an emergency situation, anyone who witnesses these unspeakable acts against an animal should dial 9-1-1 immediately.


ARL Commends Everett Police in Animal Cruelty Conviction

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) would like to commend the hard work and commitment of the Everett Police Department which led to the conviction of a Peabody man who was accused of killing his girlfriend’s dog in 2018.

The one-day trial at Malden District Court recently concluded, with 31-year-old Steven Severino being found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Courtesy WHDH

Severino denied killing the dog, telling police that “Coco” escaped and he later found the dog in front of an apartment building collapsed.

During trial this story was proven false by the introduction of surveillance video that showed Severino’s involvement in the dog’s death.

ARL Law Enforcement provided support to Everett Police throughout the investigation, as well as necropsy and cremation services for Coco.

Providing Expertise and Support

ARL Law Enforcement works with local, state and federal agencies to investigate animal abuse, cruelty and neglect.

In 2018, ARL investigated cruelty and neglect cases involving nearly 3,000 animals, resulting in 56 prosecutions.

We cannot do this work alone. ARL receives no government grants or public funding and relies on individuals like you to support this important work.

Donate today and help ARL continue to confront animal cruelty, abuse and neglect.


ARL, Middleboro Police Seize Animals at Kennel Facility

Animals found living in inhumane, unsanitary conditions

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, in conjunction with Middleboro Police and Animal Control Departments, recently executed a search warrant at a commercial kennel facility to inspect and seize animals from the property.

Most of the 24 animals removed were young adult Cane Corso and Dogo Argentino dogs, however, a peacock, donkey, ducks and a chicken were seized as well.

The animals were found living in poorly ventilated, unsanitary, cruel and dangerous conditions. They have been transported to ARL’s Dedham, Boston and Brewster, as well as municipal facilities in Middleboro, Auburn, Mansfield, Norton, and Framingham. The animals are friendly and will undergo ongoing medical care and behavioral evaluations before being made available for adoption.

The entire operation took approximately 12 hours, and ARL would like to thank the Middleboro Police, Animal Control and our partner shelters who assisted in rescuing these animals from their cycle of neglect.

Your emergency gift today can support:

  • Veterinary care and rehabilitation for the sudden influx of animals that have suffered
  • On-going investigations of cruelty to pursue justice for animals
  • Emergency response when crisis strikes and animals are in dire need

Click here to make a life-saving gift today. 

This is an on-going investigation, however, potential charges may be pending at the conclusion of the investigative process.

This story will be updated as further details emerge.


Committee Hearings Continue on Beacon Hill

This past week the Joint Committees on the Judiciary and Financial Services both convened to hear testimony on more than 40 bills, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was present for both sessions to advocate on behalf of animals throughout the Commonwealth.

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony regarding S. 989: An Act Enhancing the Issuance of Citations for Cruel Conditions for Animals, a piece of legislation that ARL is actively supporting.

ARL President Mary Nee addresses the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

This bill would allow law enforcement to issue citations for animals kept in “cruel conditions” which would include exposure to excessive waste, non-potable water, noxious odors that post a health risk to animals or people, among others.

Right now, the only tool law enforcement has to address animal cruelty is a felony cruelty charge. If passed, this bill would provide an additional resource to address cruelty and would act as a deterrent, rather than a form of punishment.

The Joint Committee on Financial Services heard testimony from ARL regarding three bills – S. 595/H. 1037: An Act Concerning the Use of Certain Insurance Underwriting Guidelines Pertaining to Dogs Harbored Upon the Insured Property.

Simply put, this bill would prohibit homeowners or renters insurance from refusing to issue or renew, cancel or charge an increased rate on a specific breed(s) of dog on the property.

The Committee also heard testimony on H. 1038: An Act to Prohibit Housing Discrimination Against Responsible Dog Owners.

This bill would prohibit condo associations from banning certain types of dogs based on breed/weight/size. Further it would prohibit similar bans on any lease/rental agreements.

Additionally, it would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to establish and maintain a program of pet ownership for those residing in state-aided public housing.

ARL’s testimony highlighted that breed specific legislation and insurance prohibitions are not supported by science – breed bias are often assumptions based on physical characteristics.

Breed has no bearing on individual animal behavior – the most accurate predictor of animal behavior is an individual assessment of the animal, including a check into the pet’s background with training, behavior and social abilities.

ARL believes that like people, dogs are individuals no matter what breed they happen to be, and hopes this important piece of legislation moves favorably out of committee.

Be an Advocate for Animals

With more than 90 animal-related bills filed for this legislative session, this hearing was critical to help move these important animal protection bills forward in the legislative process.

But we can’t do it alone. Your elected officials work for you, so please take a look at ARL’s 2019-2020 legislative agenda, and contact your representatives to show your support for improving laws to protect animals in Massachusetts.


Update: All Cats Removed from April Hoarding-Type Situation Adopted

When the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department removed 50 cats from a home in the Metro Boston area during Easter weekend, it was immediately clear that many of the animals had a long road ahead of them – given their lack of meaningful interaction with humans.

Aside from a host of medical concerns, the majority of the cats were extremely under-socialized and at times standoffish with staff and volunteers.

However, thanks to an amazing and collective effort by ARL staff and volunteers, over time the walls of mistrust were razed and nearly three months later, the last two cats (Clarence and Moe) have found their forever homes!

Slow and Steady

The socialization process was extraordinarily slow. With many of these animals, volunteers and staff would begin by just talking softly to the cat. From there it would escalate to making eye contact, offering treats, and when a small semblance of trust was established, the cat would sniff the hand and eventually accept pets.

Clarence, an 8-year-old cat, came to ARL obese and in need of medical care and diagnostics. Unlike many of the other cats from this hoarding-type situation, he was friendly right from the start, but was shy and lacked confidence.

Clarence had advanced dental and was already missing 10 teeth. Unfortunately 8 additional teeth needed to be extracted.

Through diagnostic testing, the tough 8-year-old also showed early signs of renal disease.

Moe, a 4-year-old cat, was thin, scared and spent much of his time hiding upon arrival at ARL. Moe weighed just 6 pounds, had urine-stained paws and dirt was embedded around his nose.

The cat needed time to settle in to his new surroundings, and seemed to do best when paired with another cat from his previous situation – in Moe’s case he was paired with Clarence.

The two spent time as office fosters, which offers a more real-life experience and is less stressful than being in a kennel full time.

The pair came out of their shells and didn’t just find a forever home, they found a forever home together!

Extraordinary Measures

Before arriving at ARL, these animals suffered an enormous amount of physical and mental trauma. ARL was able to remove these cats from a difficult situation, provide much needed medical care, and socialize and recondition these animals to become the loving pets they are today!

Hoarding-Type Situations Increasing

The number of hoarding-type incidents involving large numbers of animals is unfortunately on the rise. In 2018, ARL handled 16 of these incidents, which involved 1,024 animals.

With hoarding-type situations, ARL is ready to help both the animals and people involved. If you are aware of such a situation, please contact ARL Law Enforcement or your local Animal Control Officer immediately.


Press Release: ARL and Malden Police Investigating Abandoned Kitten Case

Kitten discovered in sealed cardboard box

The Malden Police Department and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying who may be responsible for dumping a two-month old kitten along a busy street in the city on Wednesday afternoon.

For ARL, this case represents a disturbing trend. This kitten is one of a handful of animals that have discovered abandoned in just the last week alone.

Around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a driver with the MBTA’s The Ride noticed a cardboard box along Hawthorne St. The box had holes punched into the sides, but the top was sealed with packing tape.

Inside the box was a two-month-old female kitten. Despite being discarded in stifling heat and humidity, the kitten did not suffer any heat-related medical issues and appears to be in good overall health.

This is a clear case of animal cruelty and abandonment. The fact that holes were cut into the box shows that this kitten was left on the side of the road intentionally.

Abandoning an animal is never an option. Besides being cruel, it is illegal in Massachusetts and punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you are unable or even unwilling to properly care for an animal, you can contact your local animal control officer or an organization like ARL to ensure that the animal is properly taken care of and rehomed.

This investigation is ongoing, and the kitten, now named Millie, will remain in the care of ARL. There is no timeline on when she may be available to find her forever home.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact Malden Animal Control at 781-397-7171 x1302, or ARL Law Enforcement at 617-426-9170.


Abandoned Dog Recovering at ARL

Dog found on Oxford/Dudley line

A five-year-old silky terrier suffering from a criminal-level of neglect was recently found wandering the streets along the Oxford/Dudley town lines, and is now recovering from a host of medical issues at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

When Ben arrived at ARL, he was filthy, had matted fur caked with urine and feces, and grossly overgrown nails (some over half-an-inch long). Discharge from double ear infections was crusted on the outer ears, and the dog was also suffering from dermatitis – the suffering of which was compounded by an inability to scratch due to his overgrown nails.

Following a veterinary exam, medications were given to combat the ear infections, and clear up the dermatitis. Ben’s matted fur was shaved and his nails were trimmed.

He is now on a path to recovery.

For local news coverage of Ben’s story click here!

ARL has not come across any lost reports that match Ben’s description and he was not microchipped. It’s assumed he was abandoned but was severely neglected in whatever situation he was previously in.

Despite his suffering and likely abandonment, Ben defines perseverance. He’s extremely friendly, intelligent, and has a very outgoing personality.

Still on the mend, Ben will be monitored closely. He will undergo a behavioral evaluation and once neutered, vaccinated, and cleared medically, he will be made available for adoption.

Neglect and Abandonment are Illegal

Abandoning an animal is NEVER an option. Not only is it cruel, it is illegal in Massachusetts. If you are unable to properly care for an animal, contact your local animal control or reach out to an organization like ARL – there are always resources available.

While Ben moves closer to finding his forever home, any information on where he may have come from can be directed to Oxford Animal Control, or ARL Law Enforcement.