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Category: Law Enforcement
Press Release: Rescued Mini Donkeys Seek New Home

Bonded pair seized from hoarding-type situation

A pair of mini donkeys who have come from previously traumatic situation were recently transferred from foster care to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, and are now searching for a new home.

The donkeys, Brownie and Marshmallow, were seized from a hoarding-type situation in Plymouth County in late 2019 and were two of approximately 50 animals taken from the unsanitary conditions on the property.

The former owner is facing animal cruelty charges, and the property has since been condemned.

Twenty-year-old Brownie, and 13-year-old Marshmallow are neutered males, and because of their bond, ARL is seeking to adopt the donkeys as a pair.

While initially shy and despite the terrible conditions they were previously living in, they are extremely friendly, comfortable around people of all ages, including children, and have outgoing personalities.

With many livestock owners on Cape Cod, ARL is hopeful that Brownie and Marshmallow will find the type of loving home they deserve quickly, and reminds the public that all animal adoptions are currently by appointment only.

Interested parties should call (617) 426-9170 x305 to schedule an appointment, and will also be required to show a photo of the enclosure the donkeys would be living in to ensure it’s appropriate.


ARL Continues its Mission During Shutdown

When the impacts of COVID-19 began to be severely felt in Massachusetts, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) did what so many other organizations and businesses did across the state – altered day-to-day operations for the health and safety of staff, volunteers, clients and the animals we care for.

While ARL placed more than 200 animals into foster care in mid-March and suspended adoption services, as an organization ARL was extremely active in helping animals in need and caring for the communities we serve.

Placing animals in foster care had multiple benefits.

First, it allowed the animals to be removed from the shelter environment, which can be stressful for some, and into a home setting.

A home setting is not only less stressful, but it also gives ARL’s Animal Care Associates a better understanding on what these animals are like in a home, making it easier to find their perfect match.

Another benefit was creating open kennel space at ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers, in the event that emergency animal intakes became necessary for pet owners.

Intake

From March 16 to May 31, ARL did see a surge in intake, as 286 animals came through ARL’s doors – 134 in Boston alone.

These animals came to ARL in a variety of ways – emergency owner surrenders primarily due to COVID-19-related hardship, adopted animals returned, law enforcement cases, transport from other municipalities, among others.

The majority of the animals were cats, with 180 felines coming into ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

There were 72 dogs that came through intake, the remaining 34 animals were small animals and livestock.

Law Enforcement

While adoption services were suspended, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department remained busy during the past two-and-a-half months.

From January 1, 2020 through May 15, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department had 128 new cases reported, involving 600 animals.

However, over the past two months alone, ARL Law Enforcement opened 56 new cases, involving 189 animals.

During the past two months, ARL Law Enforcement has responded to hoarding-type situations, a number of animal cruelty situations including a cat in Framingham that was shot with a high-powered pellet gun, several instances of animal abandonment, and also assisted in a number of non-cruelty cases including the return of a geriatric stray cat to its family in Winchendon.

Serving Communities in Need

Along with suspending adoption services, an additional byproduct of COVID-19 was the suspension of ARL community services, primarily the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’ – two programs that bring veterinary services directly into the communities ARL serves.

The question was how can we still serve our communities in spite of stay at home orders and the growing impacts of COVID-19?

The answer came in the form of ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals Facing Emergencies) Program.

The program, initially funded by a $30,000 grant through PetSmart Charities®, has allowed ARL to support community partners Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and Boston Senior Home Care (BSHC), by providing their clients with pet food and supplies and other urgent assistance.

Clients of ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ are also eligible for assistance.

ARL has provided the following services to clients who qualify for the program:

  • Deliver pet food and other essential pet supplies to clients’ homes and partner-supported community housing;
  • Pick up pets to provide critical veterinary care and return them to their owner;
  • Provide temporary emergency shelter for pets and offer pick up and return of the pet to their owner or a designated caregiver;
  • Arrange for emergency and essential surrender of pets with pick up service.

To date, the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program has received more than 300 requests for assistance, secured more than 75,000 individual healthy meals for pets, delivered essential supplies and pet food to more than 160 clients, and provided telemedicine or critical veterinary care to more than two dozen clients.

While Massachusetts slowly reopens, the need remains, and ARL is committed to keep this program running for as long as it’s needed to assist the communities we serve in the Greater Boston area.

For more information on ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program, and to see if you qualify, log onto arlboston.org/safe.

Thank you!

This important work is made possible by the generosity of people like you.

While it is difficult to predict the long-term impact of this global crisis, one thing remains constant—animals are still in need.

By lending your support, you ensure that animals in Massachusetts can get the care they count on including food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

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ARL Instructs MSP Recruits on Animal Protection Laws

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently provided instruction to the 240 members of the Massachusetts State Police 85th Recruit Training Troop.

The virtual instructional block marked the second consecutive year that ARL has addressed MSP Recruits in every aspect of animal cruelty laws and enforcement.

ARL’s collaborative animal cruelty manual is now standard reading for a number of Massachusetts law enforcement agencies.

The training was provided prior to the Training Troop’s May 6 swearing-in. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the two-hour class was conducted virtually.

During the session, cadets were instructed by ARL staff in a number of areas, including:

  • Definition and types of animal cruelty and what signs for police officers to look for;
  • Existing animal protection law in Massachusetts;
  • The link between violence against animals and violence against people; and
  • Resources at the disposal of the Massachusetts State Police which include ARL and local Animal Control Officers.

For ARL, training those in law enforcement is essential for not only rescuing animals suffering cruelty, neglect and abuse, but to also hold those responsible for harming animals to be held accountable.

“Massachusetts State Police Troopers are on the front lines of law enforcement in the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Alan Borgal, ARL Director of Law Enforcement. “It’s crucial for Troopers to be armed with the knowledge to take proper actions when encountering animal cruelty, and to understand that organizations like ARL are always available to assist in any animal-related situation.”

“ARL is tremendously proud to be a part of such an intense training program,” said ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “With Troopers understanding not only how to recognize animal cruelty but also how it can correlate to violence acts against humans, will ultimately save the lives of both animals and people.”

The Massachusetts State Police are grateful for the important training provided by ARL.

“Enforcing animal cruelty laws is an important duty of Massachusetts State Police Troopers and all police officers,” said Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “We are very grateful to the Animal Rescue League of Boston for providing important instruction to our last two Recruit Troops in how to recognize cruelty and take action to protect animals from abuse. We value the ARL’s partnership and efforts to ensure that our Troopers have the knowledge they need to assist in this mission.”

In the past year, ARL has conducted training for more than 500 law enforcement officers and officials through the Commonwealth.


Press Release: Animals Being Abandoned Outside ARL Shelters

ARL Reminds Pet Owners if Surrender is Necessary – Do it Properly

With three animals being abandoned on Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) property in the past week, ARL is once again reminding pet owners that if they need to surrender an animal to please take the proper steps to do so.

Last week a pair of guinea pigs were discovered about 1,000 feet from the Animal Care and Adoption Center doors in Dedham, and on Monday, a cat was discovered outside ARL’s Boston shelter doors.

The guinea pigs were found in a urine-and-feces-soaked box with a hand-written message reading “Adopt me, I’m cute.” Because the former owners did not contact anyone inside the shelter, it was sheer luck that an ARL employee discovered the small box while leaving for the day.

Similarly, the cat was found outside in a carrier, also with a hand-written note describing difficult personal circumstances. Due to COVID-19, all animals involved are being quarantined for 14 days in case of a possible exposure to the virus.

Unfortunately, this can be a common occurrence for ARL, as well as other animal welfare organizations.

“When people inside the shelter building are unaware that an animal has been left outside, that is considered abandonment, which is a felony in Massachusetts,” said ARL Law Enforcement Director Lt. Alan Borgal. “When this happens the animals are put at risk by being exposed to the elements, animal predators and a variety of other threats, and sadly we have seen a number of instances where the animal wasn’t found until it was it was too late.”

ARL is committed to keeping pets and families together, and will explore all options to make that possible. However, ARL does understand that circumstances do arise where the animal may not remain in the home, and if that happens, pet owners need to reach out to make sure the surrender is done properly.

“Surrendering an animal is certainly not an easy decision,” Lt. Borgal said. “However, ARL as an organization exists to help both animals and people, and if surrender is necessary, there are no judgements, no shaming, no accusations. We just want what’s best for both the animal and people involved. Additionally, surrender gives us, as animal care givers, the opportunity to learn more about the animal’s behavior and habits, which further helps ARL find a suitable match for a new home.”

Once their quarantine period expires and adoptions resume at ARL, these animals will find new forever homes.

ARL Law Enforcement is investigating the incident in Dedham, and asks that anyone with information pertaining to the situation to please contact ARL Law Enforcement at 617-426-9170, or via email cruelty@arlboston.org.

If you need to surrender an animal, please contact ARL’s Boston, Dedham, or Brewster Intake Offices at 617-426-9170.


Press Release: Week-Old Kitten Abandoned in Dorchester – ARL Law Enforcement Investigating Incident

Disclaimer: This news release contains details about an alleged instance of animal cruelty that may be upsetting to some readers. 

This past weekend, a concerned citizen helped rescue an abandoned kitten who was found in a residential neighborhood in Dorchester.

Unfortunately the kitten was unable to survive.

The male kitten, estimated to be just 1-2 weeks old, was found with a plastic bag covering his head and cinched around his neck, and the resident who found him needed a knife to cut the bag in order to free the kitten.

The resident contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department, who immediately responded to the area on Norfolk St.

Sadly, just days after being rescued, the kitten developed Fading Kitten Syndrome, and did not survive.

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is investigating the matter as an act of animal cruelty and abandonment, as it’s believed the bag was placed over the kitten’s head intentionally.

This action is also believed to have directly contributed to the animal’s decline and untimely death.

“This is a sad day at ARL, however we remain steadfast and committed to discovering who may have committed this act of cruelty on a defenseless kitten,” said ARL President Dr. Edward Schettino. “If anyone has any information, we plead for you to reach out so we may give this kitten some peace and perhaps save the lives of more vulnerable animals.”

Animal cruelty is a felony in Massachusetts, punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Anyone with information on this act of animal cruelty is urged to contact ARL Law Enforcement at 617-426-9170, or via email cruelty@arlboston.org.


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.