Category: News
Transport Pup with Chronic Skin Condition Still Seeking New Home

Skin condition causes extreme discomfort

Fern, a three-year-old female Pitbull-mix, arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in late March along with three other pups who were a part of animal cruelty investigations in New York.

As a transport partner with national organization ASPCA, ARL was seen as a great environment for these dogs to recover their previous trauma and to begin new lives in New England.

Upon arrival, Fern displayed her incredibly sweet personality, but she was also uncomfortable due to a chronic skin condition.

Fern showing her playful side.

Receiving Skin Condition Treatment

ARL shelter medicine team diligently worked to get Fern’s allergies and skin condition under control, but she needed more than just medication, she also needed a quiet place to recover.

ARL is blessed to have more than 500 dedicated foster families willing to open up their hearts and homes for animals like Fern — the shelter environment was just not conducive to her healing process, and foster care offered Fern not only a place to heal, but also an opportunity to become comfortable in a home-setting.

Ready to Go Home

After more than a month in foster care, Fern is ready to find her new family and begin her new life.

Fern is playful, full of energy, and while her skin condition is chronic, it is manageable through medication and regular visits to the veterinarian.

More information about Fern.

A Collaborative Wellness Effort

ARL is proud to be an official transport partner with the ASPCA, and Fern’s case demonstrates the amazing collaborative efforts taking place at ARL every day.

Fern needed assistance from ARL Animal Care Associates, shelter medicine and behavioral teams, as well as ARL’s extensive network of volunteers and foster families.

Every animal is an individual, and every animal requires needs that are unique to them.

But we can’t do this work alone: thanks to you and your generous support, ARL continues to help thousands of animals like Fern annually and we thank you!

ARL Assists Boston Animal Control to Rescue Geese Family

Rescued geese relocated to Chestnut Hill Reservoir

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department assisted Boston Animal Control to rescue and relocate a family of geese from a medical building in Brighton.

The rooftop of the Brighton Marine Health Center has been a nesting place for the two adult geese for a number of years, and ARL has assisted several times in the past to relocate the geese and goslings from this location.

Mom and goslings.

A Problem Nesting Area

A rooftop is seemingly a perfect place to nest for geese – there’s plenty of open space and the birds are safe from predators.

However, the danger lies in the fact that goslings can’t fly.

There’s a risk of falling, and if something were to happen to the adult geese, the goslings would have no direct access to a food source and would be unable to get off the roof on their own.

The Rescue

Once on-scene with Boston Animal Control, ARL’s Field Service agent noticed the female goose perched on the ledge of the rooftop, with the goslings nearby.

Mom and goslings trapped and ready for relocation!

The female was able to be trapped with a net and then placed into a carrier, and with mom netted, the goslings were fairly easy to corral and get into a carrier.

The male goose was at ground level, so with mom and goslings in tow, agents turned their attention on trapping him.

While running and flying in short bursts, the male was concerned for his mate and offspring and never strayed too far.

Finally, agents were able to sandwich the male between them and the building, making it easier to deploy a net to trap the concerned dad.


Once the family was trapped, ARL and Boston Animal Control transported the geese to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, located just minutes down the road, and released them back into the water.

The geese adjusted quickly to their new environment, and proceeded to swim along the shore in order to find a new place to nest.

About ARL Field Services

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies like Boston Animal Control with equipment, training, and on-scene scene assistance; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.

Massachusetts Senate to Begin Budget Debate

How you can prompt the Massachusetts Senate and advocate for animal-related budget items

This week, the Massachusetts Senate will debate their budget, you can help animals in Massachusetts by contacting your Senator and asking them to:

SUPPORT the Mass Animal Fund #125

The Massachusetts Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund provides low cost spay/neuter to animals in need across Massachusetts. ARL has regularly partnered with the Fund to bring the Spay Waggin’ to communities in need. Filed by Senator John Velis, this amendment would provide additional funding to this program, increasing the number of animals the Fund can assist.

OPPOSE Sunday hunting

Sundays in Massachusetts are the one day of the week during hunting season that people can enjoy the outdoors without concern of hunting. Amendment 18 would allow for bow hunting of deer on Sundays, a day that has been off-limits to hunting for 300 years.

The Massachusetts House recently passed a $50 billion budget, and once the Senate passed their proposed budget, the two chambers will negotiate on a finalized budget proposal to submit to Governor Charlie Baker for approval.

Find your Senator and ask them to speak up for animals in this year’s budget!

Get Involved!

ARL seeks to make long-term gains for animals by advocating for humane laws, policies and regulations.

ARL engages dedicated staff and volunteers to advocate for legislation and policy with local, state and federal government.

ARL also creates informational materials and campaigns to raise public awareness on topics such as: reporting animal abuse and neglect, the benefits of spay and neutering, adopting from responsible shelters and the importance of preventive veterinary care.

Learn more about ARL’s advocacy efforts, or contact advocacy@arlboston.org with any questions, or to learn how to get involved!

May 14 is National Disaster Animal Preparedness Day!

Follow these 6 steps to be “pet prepared” during an emergency

In 2010 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated the second Saturday in May as National Disaster Animal Preparedness Day, to help pet families focus on the importance of having a family disaster plan that also includes their pets.

Whether it’s a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or other natural disaster, emergencies happen. Just as you’ve created an “in case of emergency” plan for your family, it’s smart to do the same for your pet. Keep in mind that what’s safest for you is typically also what’s safest for them.

Not sure what to do to prepare for an emergency? First and foremost, be sure to prepare a pet emergency bag. Keep it handy in case you need to evacuate your home in a hurry. Take a look at ARL’s list of supplies that your pet will need.

  1. Include pets in your family emergency plan. Pre-determine how you would transport your pet in an evacuation and which boarding facility, shelter, friend, or relative would be able to take in your pet if necessary. Designate a neighbor to check in on and/or evacuate your pet in the event that you are not home when an emergency occurs. Display a notice in a visible part of your front door or window advising what pets live in the house.
  2. Take your pets with you. If you need to evacuate your home, don’t leave your pets behind. Leaving an animal home alone could be dangerous, especially if it may take days or even weeks for your family to return to them.
  3. If it’s safe for your family to stay at home, keep pets confined. Pets should remain indoors at all times. Keep pets separated in their own quiet space with plenty of accessible water.
  4. Make your pet easy to ID. If you become separated from your pet, you’ll want to try and claim them as quickly as possible. Make sure that all identification tags are up-to-date and secured to your pet’s collar. Microchipping your pet is always a good idea and a fail-safe way to verify that you’re their owner. Also, keep a photo of you and your pet together handy to help others easily ID them.
  5. Vaccinate your pets. Protect your pets from potential disease and illness in the event that you need to leave your pet at a boarding facility or shelter.
  6. In the few days after a disaster, keep your pets indoors. Unfamiliar scents and sights may cause worry or confusion. Downed power lines, broken tree limbs, and displaced wild or domestic animals may pose a risk to your pet.

If an animal is in imminent danger, contact your local
Animal Control Office or Police Department for possible assistance, as they may have quicker access to an emergency scene.

ARL Receives Grant from Felicia Rose Grant Program

$50,000 grant through Felicia Rose Grant Program to help ARL shelter programs

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is delighted to have been awarded a $50,000 grant over two years from the Felicia Rose Grant Program.

ARL accepting the generous $50,000 grant, which will greatly benefit ARL’s shelter animals.

The funds granted through the new invitation-only initiative will ensure that shelter animals across all three ARL locations will continue to receive the care and services they need and deserve.

ARL treats every animal as an individual, and through a comprehensive process involving ARL veterinary, behavioral and animal care staff, determines the appropriate medical care, behavioral training, and enrichment plan based on the individual needs and personality of the animal.

The grant funding will support ARL’s shelter programs and activities, as well as staffing, equipment, and the critically needed supplies ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption programs depend on.

“ARL is so honored to be a recipient of such a generous grant from the Felicia Rose Grant Program,” state ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “Thousands of animals come through ARL’s three Animal Care and Adoption Centers annually, and these funds will ensure each and every animal will receive the services they need and the homes they deserve.”

The Felicia Rose Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that work to strengthen the human-animal bond, promote ethical treatment of animals, and provide services to animals in need. Established in 2021, this special interest initiative honors its namesake, a sweet-natured American Staffordshire Terrier.

Felicia Rose was adopted in 2015 and has since become a trusted emotional support animal as well as a Pet Partners-certified therapy and service dog.

Grant proposals are considered by invitation only and are subject to a competitive review process.

ARL Provides Temporary Shelter for Animal While Owner Hospitalized

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) prides itself on being a resource not only for animals in need, but also for the people who love them. A recent situation on Cape Cod where ARL provided temporary shelter for an animal highlights this belief.

ARL recently took in Jessica for temporary shelter while her owner was hospitalized.

Lending a Hand

The Orleans Police Department recently brought a senior Golden Retriever named Jessica to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center – this after her owner was hospitalized and was worried for her wellbeing.

Staff at Cape Cod Hospital reached out to Orleans police, who retrieved the animal and took her to ARL.

In an effort to ease the owner’s mind and have them focus on their own wellbeing, ARL was able to contact the owner, and offered to provide temporary shelter for the dog until the owner was better and able to return home.

Being conscious of the fact that to suddenly be removed from a home and placed in a shelter environment can be traumatic for an animal, ARL showered Jessica with attention and pampered the pooch during her two-week stay, providing her with plenty of outdoor time, veterinary care and grooming.

While missing her home and family, Jessica quickly warmed up to staff and volunteers, and thoroughly enjoyed her time in Brewster.

Going Home

Once Jessica’s owner was well enough to come home, it was time for her to go home as well.

Upon seeing her owner, Jessica was overjoyed with her tail wagging, and showering her owner with love.

ARL is thrilled to have been able to care for Jessica in her and her owner’s time of need and to continue its mission to be a resource for pet owners throughout Massachusetts.

A Resource

ARL is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that animals stay out of shelters and in homes with those who love them.

If you are faced with a difficult situation involving your pet, please call (617) 426-9170, and ARL may be able to help.

ARL Joins MAF for Special Fall River Spay/Neuter Clinic

21 Animals receive spay/neuter surgery

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ was once again in Fall River, MA, to spay/neuter nearly two dozen animals as part of an ongoing collaborative effort with ARL, the Massachusetts Animal Fund (MAF), and Fall River Animal Control.

For four years, ARL has hosted the clinic in collaboration with MAF and Fall River Animal Control, and was the second time in 2022 that ARL’s Spay Waggin’ was in the South Coast city.

MAF Spay/Neuter Voucher Program

The surgeries are under the MAF voucher program, which distributes vouchers to qualifying low-income pet owners to cover the cost of the important procedure.

Due to high demand and Covid-19-restrictions, many clients have been on a waiting list for a number of months to have their pets spayed or neutered, and ARL is pleased to once again be providing this vital service that’s greatly needed in the Fall River Community.

“Fall River is already a struggling community, but since the pandemic, it seems as if getting spay/neuter services has proven to be even more difficult,” said Cynthia Berard-Cadima, Fall River Animal Control Officer. “People contact us daily, asking for funds.  Many are out of work and our homeless community is growing.  We are stretching every dime and our veterinarians are donating time and services more than ever.”

This Fall River spay/neuter clinic was the third that ARL has partnered with MAF for in 2022, aside from Fall River, the Spay Waggin’ stopped in New Bedford in March.

About ARL’s Spay Waggin’

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ provides high-quality, low-cost spay and neuter services to animals in need on the South Shore, South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as select locations in Metro Boston.

Since 2000, the Spay Waggin’ has provided services for more than 60,000 animals.

The Spay Waggin’ is by appointment only, and to for more information and to book an appointment, call (877) 590-SPAY (7729), or email spaywaggin@arlboston.org.

ARL Collaborates to Rescue 9 Ponies from Breeding Farm

ARL Law Enforcement files animal cruelty charges

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), MSPCA, Berkley Police Department and Berkley Animal Control recently collaborated to rescue 9 ponies from a breeding farm in Berkley, MA – the animals will be looking for new homes soon, and ARL Law Enforcement has also filed animal cruelty charges against the former owner.

The 9 ponies were rescued from the property due to unsanitary conditions, and inadequate access to food and water.

Investigators on-scene also discovered three deceased ponies and one deceased horse on the property.

Two ponies in ARL trailer with staff

Three of the rescued ponies were taken to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, while the remaining six were transported to MSPCA’s Nevins Farm in Methuen, MA.

The three rescued ponies at ARL, now named Owen, Lass, and Kate, are classified as thin to emaciated, scoring between a two and three on the Henneke Equine scale. The animals are currently on a refeeding plan and are receiving veterinary and farrier care.

Owen, Lass, and Kate will need extraordinary care and you can give them their best chance to recover.

Two ponies at ARL dedham in their main paddock

Your emergency gift today can support:

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

This work cannot be done alone and animals like Owen, Lass, and Kate urgently need your help now. Make a gift today.

Ponies in the Care of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm

These ponies remain isolated from the rest of the animals in the organization’s care. Upon intake they all registered between one and two on the Henneke Equine scale, which classifies them as emaciated. They remain fearful but are slowly warming to the presence of staff and volunteers tending to their needs, and the MSPCA expects they’ll be available for adoption within weeks.

Counts of Animal Cruelty Filed

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department has filed 13 counts of animal cruelty against the former owner, who’s scheduled to be arraigned at Taunton District Court later this month.

ARL wishes to thank the MSPCA, Berkley Police Department and Animal Control, as well as the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office for their collaboration and steadfast commitment to the health and wellbeing of these animals.

ARL Rescues Great Horned Owl Fledgling in Watertown

Owl likely abandoned by parents

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department rescued a Great Horned Owl fledgling from a tree on a property abutting the Oakley Country Club in Watertown, MA.

The Great Horned Owl was spotted approximately 30 feet in a tree earlier this week by a resident, and contacted ARL after the owl had not moved for several days.

The rescue itself was not easy. With the property abutting the golf course and separated by a rock wall and a tall net, one ARL agent was deployed on the residential property side, while a second agent was positioned on the golf course.

While attempting to secure the Great Horned Owl with an extended net, the owl was just out of reach and although too young to fly, it was able to reposition itself in surrounding branches to avoid the net.

ARL agents then deployed a throw weight around the branch, and after shaking the branch, the owl glided down to the golf course along the 11th hole fairway – once on the ground, an ARL agent was able to safely secure the owl with a net.

The owl, estimated to be 4-6 weeks old, was likely abandoned by its parents and is too young to be living on its own, as it does not yet know how to properly fly or hunt.

The fledgling is in good condition and ARL agents transported the owl to the Tufts Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton, MA, where it will be treated and re-released back into the area where it was found.

About ARL Field Services

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies with equipment and training; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.

ARL Celebrates Volunteer Appreciation Week

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Week – a time when the organization and pause and say thank you to the hard work and dedication of these true champions for animals in need.

After two years of hosting virtual events, ARL was once again able to hold three in-person volunteer appreciation week events at ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers to celebrate and personally thank each and every volunteer at ARL.

In 2021, 1,059 volunteers dedicated nearly 40,000 hours to help animals in need, while ARL’s 526 foster families opened their hearts and homes to 1,071 animals!

Volunteers are at the heart of ARL’s mission and are the backbone to the organization’s day-to-day operations.

From feeding animals, cleaning kennels, walking dogs, working with behaviorally challenging animals, sorting through linens and donations, to many other duties, ARL volunteers all bring something unique to the organization, but all have one thing in common – the love and dedication to assisting the animals in ARL’s care in any way possible.

“While it’s always an honor to recognize our dedicated volunteer and foster families, to be able to once again hold these celebrations in-person was truly special,” stated ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement, Debby Chaplic. “ARL volunteers are such a special group of individuals and the work they do each and every day continues to inspire as they are true champions for animals in need.”

During each of this year’s volunteer appreciation events, ARL also continued the tradition of handing out a number of awards to volunteers and staff that consistently go above and beyond.

Without further ado, the winners!

    • Best of Boston- Betsy Jones of Watertown
    • Cape’d Crusader- Teresa Snow of Harwich
    • Dedham’s Most Dignified- Melissa Salce of Dedham
    • ARL’s Unsung Hero- Susan McNeice of Needham and Josephine Paolucci of West Roxbury
    • All Other Creatures Big and Small- Leo Settoducato of Somerville
    • Admin’s Above and Beyond- Carol Svenson of Arlington and Elna Rapp of Boston
    • Our Four Footed Friends Favorite Foster Parent-  Lori Everett of W. Dennis and Donna Tormey of Shirley

Additionally, volunteers also voted for the following awards for ARL staff: 

    • Boston- Michelle Polin of Attleboro
    • Brewster- Sadie Santos of Truro
    • Dedham- Courtney Foley of Quincy

And in a new category, volunteers also had the opportunity this year to vote for ARL Pets of the Year:

    • Dog: Benjamin of Dedham
    • Cat: Godric of Boston and Jungle Jazz of Brewster
    • Other: Mike the Macaw and Violet the Pig of Dedham

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

Learn more about volunteering at ARL.