fbpx
Category: Law Enforcement
ARL Conducts National Animal Cruelty Conversation

Dr. Edward Schettino Presents During AAWA Webinar

While many things in our daily lives have been altered, suspended, or cancelled, the battle to end animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse continues unabated.

This past week, Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, presented a webinar hosted by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA) to discuss the importance of professionals having the tools to not only recognize animal abuse, but who to report it to.

The webinar was attended by more than 100 animal welfare and veterinary professionals from across the country.

Currently, only 16 states, including Massachusetts, categorize veterinarians as mandated reporters of animal cruelty and abuse, while just six states mandate non-veterinarians (typically Animal Control Officers) to report – again, Massachusetts is one of these states.

The information discussed during the webinar will hopefully bring new ideas and action to regions of the country that do not mandate reporting of suspected animal cruelty.

Cruelty Manual

In 2018, a collaborative effort between ARL, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and Animal Folks (MN) resulted in the creation of Reporting Animal Cruelty the Role of the Veterinarian: Establishing Protocols to Identify and Report Suspected Animal Cruelty in Massachusetts.

This manual was at the center of Dr. Schettino’s presentation.

“The manual provides guidance for veterinarians to establish protocols at clinics and practices, and help them really understand why it’s so important to report animal cruelty – even though it’s already mandated in Massachusetts,” said Dr. Schettino during the webinar presentation.

Veterinarians are at the forefront of every day animal care, and the manual covers all aspects of animal cruelty including: veterinarian’s roles and responsibilities and documentation and reporting procedures; overviews of the “link” between animal abuse and human abuse, and current Massachusetts law.

In 2019, ARL also partnered with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) Division of Professional Licensure, to include the information during the mandated annual license renewal process for every veterinarian in the Commonwealth.

A Leader in Training

Dr. Schettino’s webinar is just the latest in ARL’s efforts to train those who are in the greatest position to identify and take proper actions to ensure both the safety of the animal and perhaps other members of the household who may also be subjected to violence and abuse.

Over the past year, ARL has conducted training sessions with the Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, dozens of local Animal Control Officers, and the Massachusetts Disabilities Commission.

ARL is often the first to respond in instances of animal cruelty or abuse, but we cannot do it alone. Ongoing training for those in law enforcement and other disciplines are vital to combat abuse and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.


ARL Assists Winchendon ACO Reunite 22-Year-Old Cat with Owners

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department had the pleasure of assisting Winchendon, MA, Animal Control in a heart-warming reunion between a curious 22-year-old cat, and her family.

This reunion may not have been possible if the family had not filed a missing pet report.

Earlier in the week, the cat, named Tips, was found along a main road in the town that borders New Hampshire, and taken into the care of Winchendon Animal Control Officer Suzie Kowaleski, who then contacted ARL for assistance.

ARL brought Tips to its Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, where the cat received a thorough veterinary exam, blood work, as well as some medication and ointments.

Other than typical signs of advanced age, Tips had no injuries, was in good spirits, friendly, and was clearly being missed by someone.

Tips wasn’t microchipped, however, her family had fortunately filed a lost report, making this reunion possible.

Welcome Home

Cats, no matter their age, are naturally curious and it seemed that Tips simply slipped out the door and was on her own for several days.

Tips’ family had actually seen her born and had cared for her ever since and was understandably worried that the 22-year-old cat was out in the world on her own.

Her family was absolutely thrilled to have her home, and ARL is proud to have played a small role in caring for the animal and reuniting Tips with her family.

ARL thanks Winchendon ACO Suzie Kowaleski and everyone involved for making this happy ending possible!

If A Pet Goes Missing

The American Humane Association estimates that 1 out of every 3 pets will go missing at some point in their lifetime.

A shocking statistic for sure, but remember, if your animal has gone missing, there are many resources available, including ARL, to help locate your beloved pet.

Filing a lost report with your local animal control, ARL, and other animal welfare organizations is a critical first step.

For other tips on how to handle a missing pet situation, click here.


An Amazing Transformation

Olive, seized in law enforcement investigation, finds her forever home

When we first met Olive in September 2019, she had just been rescued along with 18 other Cane Corsos as the result of an Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) law enforcement case.

Back then she was known only as MD46.

Like the majority of the animals seized from the unsanitary conditions at the Middleboro, MA breeding kennel, Olive was terrified at the world beyond her kennel and it was clear the days and weeks ahead would be challenging.

However, nearly six months later, Olive has continuously shown her resilience, and her amazing transformation has come full circle, as she recently found her forever home!

A Slow Process

For Olive, ARL’s shelter staff and volunteers immediately went to work, providing daily encouragement and enrichment, and slowly began introducing her to new things like outdoor walks and playtime.

At first these activities would be short, and she would quickly retreat to the more familiar and self-imposed sanctuary of her kennel.

But as the days and weeks passed, more and more Olive was enjoying the time spent outdoors (highlighted by sudden bursts of the zoomies in Brewster’s outdoor paddock) and her once sad and sullen expression was replaced with joy and happiness.

Going Home

It did take a bit of time to find the right match for Olive, but when she met her new owner, the connection was instantaneous.

Olive is now enjoying a quiet life in Western Massachusetts and everyone who worked with Olive was thrilled when her adoption was finalized.

The Importance of Enrichment

For Olive and her fellow Cane Corsos, they came to ARL after living sheltered and unhappy lives.

ARL’s behavioral staff was steadfast in ensuring that these animals received the love, attention, and encouragement to help them break free of their previous circumstances in order for them to thrive.

Olive is just one example of the incredible work that goes into helping thousands of animals overcome adversity and find loving homes each and every year.

Congratulations to Olive and her new owner!


Justice for J.T.

Salem Man Sentenced for Killing Kitten

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) congratulates the Salem Police Department and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, as a Salem man was recently sentenced for punching and stabbing a kitten to death in January.

Peter Rice of Salem, pleaded guilty this past week to animal cruelty and carrying a dangerous weapon charges at Salem Superior Court. He was sentenced to two years in jail, followed by three years probation.

While watching his neighbor’s kitten named J.T., Rice told police be began punching and then stabbing the kitten after the animal scratched him while he was playing video games. He then buried the kitten under some leaves in a barrel on a nearby sidewalk.

As the investigation unfolded, ARL Law Enforcement was contacted and provided forensic assistance and expertise during the investigative process.

ARL wishes to again thank the Salem Police Department and Essex County District Attorney’s Office for their perseverance and steadfast commitment to stand up and speak for a defenseless animal who suffered unimaginable cruelty.

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.

If you donate to ARL today, your gift will have DOUBLE the impact,  and help ARL continue to confront animal cruelty, abuse and neglect.


ARL Law Enforcement Assisting Melrose Police in Cruelty Investigation

Suspect Allegedly Beat Dog to Death, Buried in Back Yard

An alleged brutal and reprehensible act of animal cruelty unfolded in Melrose, MA, over the weekend, as Police in the town have arrested a 44-year-old man for allegedly killing his own dog, and then burying the animal in the back yard.

Upon receiving the initial complaint, Melrose Police contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department for assistance in assembling and executing a search warrant for the property.

For local news coverage of this story, click here and to see Melrose Police Department’s press release click here.

Police allege that the suspect dragged the dog into the back yard, striking it repeatedly in the head with a rock until the animal was deceased. The suspect then allegedly grabbed a shovel and buried the animal in the back yard.

The execution of the search warrant allowed police to locate and exhume the body of the animal, which was taken into the custody of ARL. The dog is slated to undergo a necropsy today.

“This suspect’s alleged actions are absolutely reprehensible and inexcusable,” Melrose Police Chief Michael Lyle said. “I’m grateful for the excellent investigative work of Melrose Police Sgt. Brian Ladner, Detective Sgt. Paul McNamara, Officer Pamela Daye and Lt. Alan Borgal of the Animal Rescue League of Boston that resulted in this arrest.”

ARL Law Enforcement is honored to be assisting the Melrose Police Department and wants to thank Melrose PD for their quick and swift action regarding this reprehensible incident.

The suspect will be arraigned on Tuesday, and ARL Law Enforcement will continue to assist Melrose Police in any way possible during the investigative process to ensure the culprit of this callous and brutal act of violence against a defenseless animal is held responsible.

Stay tuned for further updates as this story develops.


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.

red donate button


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.