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Category: News
Update: All Cats Removed from April Hoarding-Type Situation Adopted

When the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department removed 50 cats from a home in the Metro Boston area during Easter weekend, it was immediately clear that many of the animals had a long road ahead of them – given their lack of meaningful interaction with humans.

Aside from a host of medical concerns, the majority of the cats were extremely under-socialized and at times standoffish with staff and volunteers.

However, thanks to an amazing and collective effort by ARL staff and volunteers, over time the walls of mistrust were razed and nearly three months later, the last two cats (Clarence and Moe) have found their forever homes!

Slow and Steady

The socialization process was extraordinarily slow. With many of these animals, volunteers and staff would begin by just talking softly to the cat. From there it would escalate to making eye contact, offering treats, and when a small semblance of trust was established, the cat would sniff the hand and eventually accept pets.

Clarence, an 8-year-old cat, came to ARL obese and in need of medical care and diagnostics. Unlike many of the other cats from this hoarding-type situation, he was friendly right from the start, but was shy and lacked confidence.

Clarence had advanced dental and was already missing 10 teeth. Unfortunately 8 additional teeth needed to be extracted.

Through diagnostic testing, the tough 8-year-old also showed early signs of renal disease.

Moe, a 4-year-old cat, was thin, scared and spent much of his time hiding upon arrival at ARL. Moe weighed just 6 pounds, had urine-stained paws and dirt was embedded around his nose.

The cat needed time to settle in to his new surroundings, and seemed to do best when paired with another cat from his previous situation – in Moe’s case he was paired with Clarence.

The two spent time as office fosters, which offers a more real-life experience and is less stressful than being in a kennel full time.

The pair came out of their shells and didn’t just find a forever home, they found a forever home together!

Extraordinary Measures

Before arriving at ARL, these animals suffered an enormous amount of physical and mental trauma. ARL was able to remove these cats from a difficult situation, provide much needed medical care, and socialize and recondition these animals to become the loving pets they are today!

Hoarding-Type Situations Increasing

The number of hoarding-type incidents involving large numbers of animals is unfortunately on the rise. In 2018, ARL handled 16 of these incidents, which involved 1,024 animals.

With hoarding-type situations, ARL is ready to help both the animals and people involved. If you are aware of such a situation, please contact ARL Law Enforcement or your local Animal Control Officer immediately.


ARL Assists in Wrangling Dog Missing for a Week

When New Bedford Animal Control reached out to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services, it was the perfect opportunity for a field-training exercise. However, the exercise turned into a rescue!

According to New Bedford Director of Animal Control Manny Maciel, “Cyrus” had recently been adopted from a Texas-based rescue group, but had escaped and was on the loose for a week.

The owner of Cyrus was understandably distraught, and despite deploying traditional traps, the dog showed off his intelligence by being able to eat the food in the trap, but cunningly backing out before the trap could be sprung.

Click here to see a video of the rescue!

ARL Field Services has a number of technological tools in its arsenal to aid in catching lost animals, including a 30-foot drop-net trap, which is essentially a suspended net attached to four poles and remotely triggered when the animal is underneath.

ARL responded to the area where the dog has been seen to assist in the setup and to instruct New Bedford Animal Control on how to use the device.

The process took approximately 8 hours, and then Cyprus gave a sign that he was ready to go home.

Just 10 minutes after the trap had been set, Cyrus wandered out of the woods and advanced towards the bait underneath the drop-net.

Cyrus was captured, transferred into a portable crate and reunited with his owner, who was ecstatic to be reunited with the adventurous boy!

Ready to Respond

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).

As in this case, 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 Brewster Partnering with Agway of Cape Cod to Offer Supplies for Residents Affected by Storm

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s devastating storm that left a wide array of damage on the mid, lower and outer Cape, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center is partnering with Agway of Cape Cod to help those impacted by the storm by offering free pet supplies.

Agway’s Dennis and Orleans stores will be accepting donations of food, litter, treats and other supplies (disposable litter boxes, bottled water, toys), and those supplies will then be delivered to ARL’s Brewster facility to be given to those who need them.

Supplies will be available during a pick-up window of 10:00AM to 1:00PM beginning Thursday, July 25, 2019, through Friday, August 2, and those in need can simply show up during this window to receive supplies.

ARL Brewster is located at 3981 Main St. (Route 6A) in Brewster, Agway in Orleans is located at 20 Lots Hollow Rd, and Agway in Dennis is located at 686 Route 134.

Such wide-spread devastation hasn’t been seen on this part of the Cape since Hurricane Bob in 1991, and ARL wants to extend a huge thank you to Agway of Cape Cod for their partnership to help fellow Cape Codders and their pets in an hour of need.


ARL Advocates for Banishment of Retail Sale of Dogs/Cats in Pet Shops

On Monday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined fellow animal welfare organizations to address the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure on two pieces of legislation that ARL is actively supporting.

The hearing chambers were standing room only, indicating the passion behind these bills.

The bills were part of a lengthy agenda at the Massachusetts State House, and address two important issues: the retail sale of animals at pet shops, and the inhumane practice of declawing.

For WFXT’s coverage of the hearing click here!

S.175 and H.800 – An Act Banning the Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Shops aims to cease the operation by pet stores of obtaining animals from “puppy mills” because they allow the cruelty at the mills to remain hidden from consumers.

“Plain and simple, where pet shops acquire their animals are inhumane,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services. “Although these breeding facilities are inspected by the USDA, the standards are extremely low and continually allow for this inhumane treatment.”

The legislation does not prevent consumers from acquiring a dog, cat, or rabbit from a responsible breeder or shelter or rescue organization. Further, it does not prohibit pet shops from partnering with shelters or rescues to provide animals in their store.

ARL also made public comment on S.169 – An Act Prohibiting Inhumane Feline Declawing.

This proposed bill would prohibit declawing as an elective procedure, simply for the purposes of convenience or to mitigate property destruction.

Under the proposed bill, declawing would only be allowed for “therapeutic purposes”. These would include addressing an existing or recurring infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in the claw that jeopardizes the cat’s health as a medical necessity.

Violations of the proposed bill would include fines upward of $2,500 for repeated offenses and the possibility of forfeiture of the animal as well.

ARL believes that declawing a healthy cat is not only inhumane, but may cause the cat a multitude of long-term medical issues.

“We (ARL) are opposed to these needless, elective surgeries which can and do cause unnecessary pain and discomfort that can affect the cat for its entire life,” Dr. Schettino testified.

Get Involved

Government is of course “of the people, by the people, and for the people” and you can have a direct impact on these important bills moving forward in the legislative process.

If you support these measures, contact your elected officials and urge them to further animal protection law in Massachusetts by supporting the proposed bills.

We encourage you to read ARL’s 2019-2020 legislative agenda. See what bills ARL supports and opposes and what you can do to make sure your voice is heard!


Press Release: ARL and Malden Police Investigating Abandoned Kitten Case

Kitten discovered in sealed cardboard box

The Malden Police Department and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying who may be responsible for dumping a two-month old kitten along a busy street in the city on Wednesday afternoon.

For ARL, this case represents a disturbing trend. This kitten is one of a handful of animals that have discovered abandoned in just the last week alone.

Around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a driver with the MBTA’s The Ride noticed a cardboard box along Hawthorne St. The box had holes punched into the sides, but the top was sealed with packing tape.

Inside the box was a two-month-old female kitten. Despite being discarded in stifling heat and humidity, the kitten did not suffer any heat-related medical issues and appears to be in good overall health.

This is a clear case of animal cruelty and abandonment. The fact that holes were cut into the box shows that this kitten was left on the side of the road intentionally.

Abandoning an animal is never an option. Besides being cruel, it is illegal in Massachusetts and punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you are unable or even unwilling to properly care for an animal, you can contact your local animal control officer or an organization like ARL to ensure that the animal is properly taken care of and rehomed.

This investigation is ongoing, and the kitten, now named Millie, will remain in the care of ARL. There is no timeline on when she may be available to find her forever home.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact Malden Animal Control at 781-397-7171 x1302, or ARL Law Enforcement at 617-426-9170.


Abandoned Dog Recovering at ARL

Dog found on Oxford/Dudley line

A five-year-old silky terrier suffering from a criminal-level of neglect was recently found wandering the streets along the Oxford/Dudley town lines, and is now recovering from a host of medical issues at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

When Ben arrived at ARL, he was filthy, had matted fur caked with urine and feces, and grossly overgrown nails (some over half-an-inch long). Discharge from double ear infections was crusted on the outer ears, and the dog was also suffering from dermatitis – the suffering of which was compounded by an inability to scratch due to his overgrown nails.

Following a veterinary exam, medications were given to combat the ear infections, and clear up the dermatitis. Ben’s matted fur was shaved and his nails were trimmed.

He is now on a path to recovery.

For local news coverage of Ben’s story click here!

ARL has not come across any lost reports that match Ben’s description and he was not microchipped. It’s assumed he was abandoned but was severely neglected in whatever situation he was previously in.

Despite his suffering and likely abandonment, Ben defines perseverance. He’s extremely friendly, intelligent, and has a very outgoing personality.

Still on the mend, Ben will be monitored closely. He will undergo a behavioral evaluation and once neutered, vaccinated, and cleared medically, he will be made available for adoption.

Neglect and Abandonment are Illegal

Abandoning an animal is NEVER an option. Not only is it cruel, it is illegal in Massachusetts. If you are unable to properly care for an animal, contact your local animal control or reach out to an organization like ARL – there are always resources available.

While Ben moves closer to finding his forever home, any information on where he may have come from can be directed to Oxford Animal Control, or ARL Law Enforcement.


ARL Partners with ABCD in Pet Wellness Program Expansion

Clinics being held in Dorchester, Roxbury, and soon Mattapan/Hyde Park

On Wednesday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) announced a groundbreaking partnership with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), to bring pet wellness services directly to four Boston communities where they’re needed most.

The organizations hosted a special event at ABCD’s Roxbury location to mark the occasion and included a number of comments from stake holders and clients, as well as a ribbon-cutting.

Click here to see WBZ’s coverage of the event!

ABCD helps Greater Boston’s most vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Every year, the agency serves more than 100,000 individuals, families and the elderly.

The Need to Expand

In 2018, ARL’s 38 Pet Wellness Clinics in Dorchester’s Codman Square were an enormous success, serving 431 pets. The success, combined with the need for veterinary services, supported the fundraising to expand these clinics and in addition to the Dorchester and Roxbury clinics, an additional clinic will soon be added to serve Mattapan and Hyde Park. Clinics are held outside ABCD locations.

During ARL’s pilot program in Codman Square which began in 2017, the organization received direct feedback from the community on what barriers existed concerning pet ownership. Top responses included a lack of affordable care and access to services. ARL’s Pet Wellness Clinics drastically reduces these barriers.

For just $10, pets receive a physical exam; rabies and distemper vaccines; flea treatment and microchip. These services would normally cost upwards of $300 in a traditional veterinary clinic setting.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston of course cares for animals in need, but also helps the people who love them,” said ARL President Mary Nee. “Cost or accessibility to care should never be a barrier to having a healthy and happy animal in the home and we are thrilled to be partnering with ABCD to bring these vital services where they’re needed most to help eliminate these barriers.”

“Making veterinary care accessible and affordable for everyone regardless of where they live or what their income is, is important,” said Sharon Scott-Chandler, Executive Vice President/COO of ABCD.

“Communities are stronger when pets are in them and what we see with ARL and ABCD is a shining example we hope others will emulate,” said Deborah Tucott, Acting President and COO of PetSmart Charities.

Keeping Pets Healthy in Loving Homes

The partnership between animal and human service organizations creates a larger reach to help those in need, and the end goal of ARL’s Pet Wellness Clinics are to keep animals healthy and in loving homes where they belong.

“I found out about this service at ABCD’s food pantry,” said Wellness Waggin’ client Iris Z. “(Today) is my second visit to ARL’s Wellness Waggin’; I really think it’s something we needed in the community and it’s been a wonderful experience for myself and my pets.”

“I absolutely love this service,” said Wellness Waggin’ client Sequoia J. “It’s a really good service to have for locals at an affordable price.”

Thank You

ARL wishes to express its extreme gratitude to ABCD for its partnership, and is also grateful to generous grants from PetSmart Charities and the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, who made it possible for ARL to purchase and outfit its brand-new Wellness Waggin’. The vehicle is state-of-the-art, and features a separate exam and surgical area.

Wellness Waggin’

The Wellness Waggin’ makes weekly stops in Roxbury, Dorchester, and starting August 30 in Mattapan. Click here to schedule an appointment and to find out about these high-quality, low-cost services!


Keep Your Pet Safe This Fourth of July

Some things to keep in mind while celebrating

This year, the Fourth of July holiday falls in the middle of the week – and in the middle of a string of hot and humid weather. It’s a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to remember that the sun, crowds, and loud noises can lead to over-stimulation, fear, and a potentially harmful situation for your pets.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) asks that you keep these five simple, but important tips to create a safe environment for your dog if they must be with you.

  1. Keep your dog away from potentially hazardous objects. BBQ’s are a source of tempting smells, and obvious danger. Fireworks – a sudden bang and a flash of light: these are ingredients for striking fear into your dog and could also illicit “fearfully aggressive” behavior. Keep your animal away from fireworks or even sparklers.
  2. There’s no place like home. Who doesn’t enjoy the comforts of home? And during the Fourth of July holiday, it may just be the perfect place for your pup. Turning a TV or radio on at low volume can distract your dog from all the outside noise, and they can also be in a cool, temperature and humidity controlled environment with access to water to keep them comfortable.
  3. If they must be outside, keep your dog in a carrier or on a leash. While outdoors, set your dog up in style, with shade, ample air-flow, and plenty of cold water.
  4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. When the temperature rises it’s Too Hot for Spot®! Animals don’t sweat like we do and can overheat easily. Even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, the inside of a car can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, which can lead to deadly heat stroke. Massachusetts law also prohibits leaving an animal in a parked car; owners can face fines or even forfeiture of the animal.
  5. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report an uptick of stray animals after July 4th due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Be sure your contact information is correct and up to date, and always have your information on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they become separated from you.

Play it Safe

ARL wants you to enjoy the holiday as we celebrate the birth of our nation, and remember that prevention is always the best course of action for you and your pet. When possible, leave your pet at home to avoid a possible dangerous and stressful situation!


Video: ARL Conducts Recruit Training with Massachusetts State Police

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently made a trip to the Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree, MA, to conduct Animal Cruelty training for the 171 members of the Massachusetts State Police 84th Recruit Training Troop.

ARL Director Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal and ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services Dr. Edward Schettino instructed these future troopers in a number of facets of animal cruelty.

These included how to recognize signs of animal abuse, existing animal cruelty laws, and how ARL and other animal welfare organizations can assist state and local police in investigating suspected cruelty cases.

“Our goal was to help them understand, first animal cruelty, what it is and how you identify animal cruelty,” said Dr. Schettino. “They are going to be the first responders to many situations.”

“We recognize that laws on the books not only protect people, they protect animals as well,” stated MSP Academy Commandant Det. Lt. Michael Baxter. “We want our troopers to be mindful of those laws, to be able to recognize animal cruelty and abuse.”

ARL is extremely honored to have had this incredible opportunity to instruct the next generation of MSP Troopers.


A Community Cat’s Incredible Journey Home

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) helps hundreds of community cats annually. More often than not, these animals need routine medical treatment and socialization before finding their forever homes. However, other times these cats come to ARL having suffered severe injuries and need immediate and sometimes life-saving medical care.

Tucker was one of the latter and this is his story.

In December of 2018, Tucker, an approximately five-year-old cat, was found as a stray in Freetown, MA. He was injured and needed prompt medical attention, or likely would not have survived due to infection and other complications.

Before roaming the streets, Tucker was most likely in a home, as he was wearing a collar at some point. Unfortunately, Tucker had tried to break free of the collar, and it had become lodged underneath his right leg. Over time the collar became embedded – with skin actually growing over it.

He was in tremendous pain, but was social and friendly. Freetown’s Animal Control Officer notified the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and he was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for treatment.

The collar was removed before coming to ARL, however his open wounds were ghastly and stretched from around his neck to his right arm pit area.

Warning: Some of the pictures below are graphic in nature.

Knowing the healing process would be slow, Tucker was placed into long-term foster care, giving him the chance to heal in a quiet environment. Aside from healing, Tucker had also survived on the streets for an unknown amount of time and had to relearn how to live in a home and fully trust humans again.

First and foremost, Tucker’s wounds needed to be addressed.

Extraordinary Care

Tucker’s wound management was extensive. Along with suturing the wound, the healing process was aided by scalpel debridement, constant dressing changes, antibiotic ointments and even sterile honey was utilized when the sutures were removed.

Over a five-month period, the brave cat made a dozen trips into the surgical suite in Dedham, and he was strong through it all.

Ready to Go Home

In late May, ARL’s shelter medicine team concluded that Tucker’s wounds had fully healed, and he was made available for adoption. In early June, Tucker’s time at ARL came to an end as he met his new family and is now happily in a wonderful forever home!

A Cadre of Care

Along with extraordinary medical care, Tucker had a loving and supportive foster family to help guide him through his healing process. This involved bringing him to ARL’s Dedham campus for veterinary appointments, making sure he took his medicine and monitoring him to detect complications – and of course giving him a comfortable, quite space to heal! Interested in becoming a foster parent? Click here for more information!

If you’d like to make a difference for animals like Tucker, please consider a donation to help fund ARL’s ongoing work to help animals in need. ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding. We rely on the generosity of individuals like you to make positive outcomes like Tucker’s possible.