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Category: Law Enforcement
Press Release: Deceased Dog in Plastic Bag Found Near Lawrence School

Necropsy reveals extensive abuse leading to death

In late March, a young female Jack Russell Terrier-type dog was found deceased near a Lawrence, MA, school.

A necropsy has revealed the dog’s death was the result of extensive abuse, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, working in conjunction with the Lawrence Police Department, are urgently seeking information to determine who may have been responsible.

A Lawrence police officer discovered the approximately 1-year-old dog along a frequented walking trail behind South Lawrence East Middle School on March 17, at approximately 10:45 a.m.

The white and tan dog had been partially wrapped in a “pee pad” and placed in a black plastic bag. There was blood present inside the bag and on the dog’s body, as well as urine staining on the dog’s tail.

It is likely the dog had not been left in the area for very long.

It appears the animal suffered extreme cruelty and abuse, which led to the dog’s death.

A necropsy has determined the animal’s cause of death to be acute blood loss and multiple skull fractures. Extensive bruising on the body indicates the dog was also intermittently abused in the 36-hours leading up to its death.

Anyone with information pertaining to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact Lawrence Police Det. Carmen Poupora at (978) 794-5900 x625, or ARL Law Enforcement at (617) 426-9170 ext. 110 or cruelty@arlboston.org.


Benji’s Remarkable Transformation

ARL granted bond request in case

In 2017, legislation was enacted in an effort to strengthen financial protections for animal care facilities like the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), who provide long-term care for an animal who is the subject of an active animal cruelty investigation and prosecution.

The legislation allows the prosecuting agency to request a court order for the accused to post a security bond, which can be used to recuperate costs of shelter, food, medical care, behavioral training, and other related costs.

If granted, the accused would have to either cover the bond or forfeit the animal.

ARL staunchly advocated for this piece of legislation, and in early 2021 ARL was granted a bond in a case dating back to late 2019. It was the first time since the passage of the legislation that ARL was granted such a bond.

Benji’s Story

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department took custody of Benji, now a four-year-old pitbull-type dog in November 2019 – along with dehydration, skin issues, foreign material in his stomach and other medical concerns, he was severely emaciated, weighing just 30 pounds, about half of what he should’ve weighed at the time.

Animal cruelty charges were filed, and while the case made its way through the judicial system, the incredibly friendly and resilient dog began his long journey to recovery.

Given the level of his emaciation, he was put on a strict feeding program and placed into foster care.

With dozens of shelter medicine visits and plenty of love and care, over time Benji got back to a normal weight, and his persistent skin issues were treated.

Case Closed

In early 2021, ARL was granted the security bond, and the accused ultimately agreed to forfeit Benji.

Caring for Benji for well over a year, his foster family had formed an amazing, loving bond, and wound up adopting him!

Benji Adopted

Advocating for Animals

The 2021-2022 Massachusetts legislative has begun and ARL’s Advocacy Department will continue to push for statewide legislation on issues critical to animal welfare in the Commonwealth.

Click here to see ARL’s legislative agenda and for more information on how you can be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.


ARL Assists Weymouth PD to Rescue 31 Dogs from Overcrowding Situation

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department assisted Weymouth Police and Animal Control in rescuing more than two dozen dogs from an overcrowding situation at a private residence.

In all, 31 Chihuahua-type dogs were removed from the home during the operation that involved ARL Law Enforcement and Field Services, Weymouth Police and Animal Control, and Animal Control Officers from Scituate, Braintree, and Cohasset.

ARL took in 21 of the dogs, while the remaining animals were transferred to another animal welfare organization on the South Shore.

The animals were removed due to unsanitary conditions, which it typically a byproduct of overcrowding.

One of the dogs needed emergency care and was immediately transferred from the residence to a nearby animal hospital.

The remaining 20 dogs were brought to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers and have received thorough veterinary exams.

Several of the dogs were diagnosed with heart murmurs and dental disease, and the majority will be available for adoption later in the week.

ARL urges the public to reach out to their local animal control or ARL Law Enforcement (617-426-9170 x110, or cruelty@arlboston.org) should they know of an overcrowding situation.

Overcrowding can lead to serious health concerns not only for the animals, but for people living among the animals as well. Additionally, overcrowding often leads to under-socialized animals, creating ongoing behavioral issues, particularly for older animals.

ARL Law Enforcement also wishes to thank and commend Weymouth Police and Animal Control for their steadfast commitment to the safety and wellbeing of these animals, and for allowing ARL to assist in this operation.

This work cannot be done alone and animals urgently need your help now.

Our hearts ache to know that animals are suffering and we know yours does too. Your support today can mean the difference between hope and despair for an animal in need.

Your emergency gift today can support:

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

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Southbridge Animal Control Officer Named 2020 “ACO of the Year”

Southbridge, MA – The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) are proud to announce that Southbridge Animal Control Officer (ACO) Katelyn Spencer has been named Animal Control Officer of the Year for 2020.

ACO of the Year Katelyn Spencer.

ARL and MSPCA established the ACO of the Year award to honor an animal control officer whose efforts in their local community throughout the year have promoted responsible pet ownership by:

  • manifesting a dedicated, humane attitude toward the treatment and well-being of all animals
  • effectively enforcing pet responsibility laws
  • conducting public awareness and humane education programs
  • maintaining cooperative working relationships with other agencies involved with animals, such as state and local government departments, other ACOs, and animal protection groups

Officer Spencer has been Southbridge’s ACO since 2017, and has consistently demonstrated dedication and compassion for both wild and domestic animals in distress throughout the community. Along with responding to hundreds of calls, Officer Spencer held vaccination and microchip clinics for residents in 2018 and 2019 (2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic), and spearheaded efforts to update the town’s Keeping of Pets bylaw, which was enacted in August 2020.

Spencer exemplifies the traits ARL and MSPCA look for each year in an ACO.

“ARL Law Enforcement has worked with Officer Spencer on a number of occasions and in each instance she was professional, dedicated and compassionate for the animals involved,” stated Joe King, ARL Director of Law Enforcement. “Officer Spencer is a credit to the profession and a true asset to the Southbridge animal community.”

“We are excited to recognize Katelyn as the ACO of the Year. Her nominations were stellar and she clearly embodies the traits we look for. She sets an example for the profession,” stated Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA.

Officer Spencer’s nominations for ACO of the Year included a number of accolades, heralding her dedication to animals and community, professionalism, and compassion.

From those who nominated her:

  • “Katelyn has worked tirelessly to rescue animals both domestic and wild. Her dedication and compassion has saved a multitude of lives”
  • “I have worked as a law enforcement professional for more than 25 years… and in my experiences with ACO Spencer, I have not worked with a more professional or dedicated person to the proper treatment of ALL animals.”
  • “There is absolutely no task she cannot perform…she puts her heart on the line with every animal that crosses her path and the families that they belong to.”

ARL Law Enforcement Seeking Public’s Help Identifying Stray Dog

Senior dog possibly abandoned at Winchendon, MA recreation area

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is caring for a stray senior dog found in Winchendon, MA, and while the dog is on the mend from a number of ailments, ARL Law Enforcement is asking the public for any information about where the dog may have come from.

The 10-year-old Norfolk Terrier was discovered outside the Lake Dennison Recreation Area along route 202 in Winchendon on November 5, at approximately 2 p.m.

The person who found the dog, now named Twyla, contacted Winchendon Animal Control and mentioned that the dog was shivering. ARL was then contacted to provide her with shelter, much-needed medical care, and to assist in the now ongoing law enforcement investigation.

ARL Law Enforcement is treating this as a possible animal abandonment case and asks anyone with information to call (617) 426-9170 x110, or email cruelty@arlboston.org.

A thorough veterinary exam at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center has revealed a number of medical issues for Twyla. Skin infections has led to significant fur loss, she also suffered from ear infections. Additionally, she had overgrown nails, dental disease and was underweight as well as dehydrated. ARL continues to treat Twyla for the aforementioned conditions.

Twyla is expected to have full recovery from her medical issues, and given that November is National Adopt a Senior Pet month, in the near future ARL hopes to find this senior dog a loving home in time for the holidays.

Due to her ongoing medical treatment and ongoing law enforcement investigation, Twyla is not yet available for adoption.

Double Your Impact for Animals in Need

The COVID-19 pandemic has created so much uncertainty and strained our limited resources—animals like Twyla need you now more than they have before.

Extraordinary need calls for extraordinary measures, so our Board, past Board members, Leadership Council, and President & CEO will MATCH gifts received now through midnight on 12/1, up to $155,000!

This is your chance to DOUBLE your impact for an animal in need and give them hope, comfort, and stability during a tumultuous time.


Cane Corso with ARL for One-Year Ready to Find Her Forever Home

Alexandria seized from Middleboro Breeding Facility in September 2019

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is excited to announce that the last animal remaining in ARL’s care from a September 2019 law enforcement case is finally ready to find her forever home.

Alexandria, a three-year-old Cane Corso, was one of 24 animals (20 dogs) seized from a Middleboro, MA, breeding facility in September 2019, who were found living in poorly ventilated, unsanitary, and dangerous conditions.

Click here for local media coverage of Alexandria’s story!

The owner of the property was charged with five felony counts of animal cruelty, as well as 23 misdemeanor charges of neglect. The case remains in the Plymouth County judicial system.

All of the dogs from this ongoing law enforcement case have been adopted and enjoying their new lives, however Alexandria has taken longer to become ready to find her new home.

The majority of the animals were traumatized by their former living situation, compounded by limited outdoor access and socialization. Sadly for Alexandria, her level of traumatization was extreme, and caused her to become quite fearful of everything around her.

Alexandria, like her kennel mates, spent the majority of their time in cages, so in her reality, everything beyond the kennel door was unfamiliar and scary.

Her situation required months of encouragement, support, and help from ARL staff, and over the past year Alexandria has made tremendous strides.

While she would not come out of her kennel for her first months at ARL, Alexandria now enjoys being outdoors and loves playing with other dogs and is even more eager to approach a new person.

Ready to Go Home

ARL is thrilled that Alexandria is ready to find her new home, however she will still require multiple meets with her potential adopters to ensure she is comfortable.

ARL’s behavioral staff will also be providing post-adopt behavior/training support to make sure she settles into her new surroundings.

Please note that all animal adoptions at ARL are currently by appointment only and for more information on the adoption process click here.

You Make These Outcomes Possible

While it is difficult to predict the on-going impacts of this global crisis, one thing remains constant – animals in our communities are still in need.

And with a great need for these ongoing and expanding community services, Champions Circle members are there to answer the call for help.

Thanks to you, Alexandria was able to not only be rescued from her situation, but received the extensive support she needed in order to have a second chance.

Champions Circle members provide steady support that sustains life-saving measures and second chances for homeless and at-risk animals all year long.

During unprecedented times like these when fundraising events have been cancelled or modified, monthly gifts are crucial to providing life-saving care and assistance to animals when they need it most.

By becoming a Champions Circle member today, you are ensuring that animals in need will the care they deserve, even during crisis.

Why does monthly giving matter?

  • Spreading out your donation in increments throughout the year makes your giving budget work harder and creates an even bigger impact for animals.
  • Monthly giving is a convenient, affordable, and efficient way to make a difference in the lives of animals in our community.
  • 60% of ARL’s funding comes in during the last quarter of the year- and most of it during the last 2 weeks in December – yet animals need help every day. Monthly support from Champions Circle donors provides animals with care and assistance when they need it most.

Use this secure link to join now, or call Derek at (617) 426-9170 x162.

Join by September 30th, and receive a special 2021 wall calendar!


Updated: ARL Caring for 80 Cats from Edgartown Law Enforcement Case

Breeder facing animal cruelty charges

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, along with Edgartown (Martha’s Vineyard) Police and Animal Control and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) personnel, executed a search warrant at an Edgartown home and removed 65 cats from the property.

The cats were transferred to ARL’s care for veterinary care and will likely need weeks of treatment.

Update: Two litters of kittens have been born and ARL is now caring for approximately 80 cats and kittens.

The cat breeder, Jennifer Winsper, 48, will be charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty (MGL.272/77/B: Animal Cruelty by a Custodian).

ARL Law Enforcement inspected the property in 2019 following complaints of sick cats being sold off island. A similar complaint was lodged with Edgartown Animal Control in late June 2020. Edgartown Animal Control Officer Betsy Buck and MDAR personnel inspected the property following the complaint and determined the conditions were detrimental and dangerous for the animals.

ARL Law Enforcement sought and was then granted a search warrant for the property to take custody of the cats.

With the help of Edgartown Police and Animal Control and MDAR, 65 cats were safely removed from the property. Conditions inside the building where the cats were being kept had poor air quality, an overwhelming odor of animal waste, and was incredibly hot.

“We are very appreciative of the strong partnership we have with the Animal Rescue League of Boston,” said Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee. “Their resources and expertise are invaluable to a small police department, especially one out here on Martha’s Vineyard, in cases like these.”

ARL wishes to thank Edgartown Police and Animal Control and MDAR for their assistance and resolve in rescuing these animals from difficult circumstances.

How You Can Help

An influx of this many animals causes a strain on ARL’s resources, and an 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

Thank you for supporting ARL’s ongoing efforts to combat animals suffering cruelty, neglect and abuse.

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    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.