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Category: Law Enforcement
Press Release: Paralyzed French Bulldog Abandoned at South End Park

ARL Law Enforcement seeking information

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department is seeking information regarding a paralyzed French Bulldog that was recently abandoned at Peters Park, located in Boston’s South End.

The approximately three-year-old female dog nicknamed “French Fry” was found on a weekend in late April just outside the dog park area.

Witnesses stated seeing a man and woman with the dog for a short time before walking away from the animal.

The couple were seen wearing masks, making it difficult for witnesses to describe any identifying features.

“French Fry” was abandoned at Peters Park in Boston’s South End.

ARL Law Enforcement has obtained surveillance video of the area and is currently reviewing it to try and identify the dog’s owners.

Upon finding the dog, a Good Samaritan brought the animal to a local veterinary clinic for examination.

Staff at the veterinary clinic confirmed the dog’s hind-limb paralysis, and also noted she was dehydrated, suffered hemorrhaging in the left eye, and had an elevated body temperature.

Given the paralysis, the dog was brought to another veterinary hospital for a neurological exam and MRI.

The exam and imaging revealed intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), which can be common in the breed.

Given the severity of the disease and the further possibly life-threatening complications which may have developed, surgery was not an option for French Fry, and the decision for humane euthanasia was made in order to end her suffering.

While the dog’s condition was deemed genetic, abandoning an animal is a felony in Massachusetts, punishable by up to 7 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

ARL understands that dealing with medical issues with pets can be financially and emotionally overwhelming. With options and resources available, including animal surrender, no animal should ever be abandoned.

If anyone recognizes the dog, they are asked to contact ARL’s Law Enforcement Department at (617) 426-9170 x110, or email cruelty@arlboston.org.


ARL Testifies for Virtual Legislative Hearing

On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary met to hear testimony on 19 specific animal protection bills, with the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) testifying in favor of a proposed citation bill.

A citation statute does currently exist in Massachusetts, however it only applies to dogs. ARL believes the law needs to be expanded to include other animals, including livestock and farm animals.

An Act enhancing the issuance of citation for cruel conditions for animals (S.1097/H.1840) would define cruel conditions and appropriate shelter for most animals.

It would also allow animal control officers and law enforcement personnel to issue civil citations for violations, which would include a $50 fine for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

Additionally, after a third offense, the animal(s) involved could be subject to seizure.

Currently, animal cruelty in Massachusetts is a felony offense, subject to a $5,000 fine and up to seven years in prison, however ARL believes that a lesser penalty is necessary to give law enforcement a tool to intervene before cruelty or neglect rises to a felony level, particularly with farm animals and overcrowding/hoarding situations.

“This bill would give law enforcement an extra tool to allow us to get to the root of the problem before it reaches a criminal level,” ARL Law Enforcement Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal, stated to the committee.

The need for such a statute came to light in 2016, following the largest farm animal cruelty case in New England history that involved well over 1,000 animals at a tenant farm in Westport, MA, and resulted in 151 counts of animal cruelty levied against more than 20 individuals.

The case involved chronic neglect, however advocates believe that had civil citations been available to law enforcement, it may have been possible to intervene earlier.

“In the case of many of these animals, there was no ability of animal control officers or law enforcement to intervene until the situation became dire,” ARL Director of Advocacy Allison Blanck, told the panel.

With the hearing concluded, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will now discuss the proposed bills internally and determine which pieces of legislation will move on to the next step of the legislative process.

How you can get involved

Thanks to a new rule this session, it’s not too late to ask your legislators to sign on as co-sponsors!

If your legislator is on the Judiciary Committee, it’s even more important to ask for their support! Find your legislator here.

To learn more about other hearings and opportunities to get involved, fill out the form here.

Advocating for animals in Massachusetts

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) monitors and advocates for statewide legislation on issues critical to animal welfare in the Commonwealth. Our legislative agenda highlights our priorities for the two year session.

To view ARL’s legislative agenda in its entirety and to track the progress of proposed legislation click here!


Press Release: 65+ Cats Signed Over to ARL Following Bond Order

Cats rescued by ARL on Martha’s Vineyard in July 2020

This past week, an ongoing animal cruelty case involving more than 65 cats and kittens who were rescued from a private breeding facility on Martha’s Vineyard in July 2020, took a major step forward, as the animals were officially signed over to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).

While the defendant in the case maintains their right to contest the five counts of felony animal cruelty levied against them, ARL is now able to take steps to begin finding the cats permanent homes.

At this time there is no timeline for the cats to be made available for adoption, and those interested in adoption can log onto arlboston.org/adopt.

Since rescuing the cats in July 2020, the animals have received extensive medical care and have been living with foster families. The cost of care has exceeded tens of thousands of dollars, and the decision to surrender was made after a security bond was issued in the case.

In 2017, legislation was enacted in an effort to strengthen financial protections for animal care organizations like ARL, who is responsible for long-term care of animals related to active animal cruelty investigations or prosecutions. 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 care. When granted, the accused has to either cover the bond or forfeit the animals.

This is the second time ARL has been granted a security bond request for an ongoing case.


ARL Partners with HSUS for Law Enforcement Training

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department recently completed the second of two training sessions for animal control, veterinarians, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The training was a collaboration between ARL and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Topics included all aspects of equine investigation, and veterinary forensics in animal investigations.

“Properly collecting and documenting evidence is critical in any law enforcement investigation, and science and technology have come a long way in aiding investigative methods as well,” said Joe King, ARL Director of Law Enforcement. “There are so many tools we can use to help solve animal cruelty cases and these training courses will help shape investigations in Massachusetts going forward and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with a great organization like HSUS.”

Well over 100 animal control officers, veterinarians, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers attended the virtual sessions, which are the latest in a series of training that ARL has offered.

For ARL, training those on the front lines and often the first to respond is essential not only for rescuing animals suffering cruelty, neglect and abuse, but to also hold those responsible for harming animals to be held accountable.

Since 2019, ARL has conducted training sessions for more than 600 animal control officers and members of law enforcement.

About ARL Law Enforcement

As a leader in animal welfare, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is committed to preventing animal suffering, neglect, and abuse in Massachusetts.

Law Enforcement investigates crimes against animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect. ARL employs Special State Police Officers, with the authority to enforce animal cruelty and neglect laws. These officers work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth.

In 2020, ARL’s Law Enforcement department helped 2,030 animals.

Although we work closely with the state, as well as many cities and towns, ARL does not receive any government or public funding and relies solely on the support of compassionate individuals like you. Donate now to help us continue our important work to serve animals and communities in need!


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!