Category: News
In the news: Cajun

“It was very sad that the horse was dead, but you had to take care of the one that was alive,” Bush said. “We didn’t give anything else much thought: The house can be rebuilt. We can buy cars again, and we can buy more hay. But with Cajun, that’s a living, breathing thing, and he can’t be replaced.”

The Animal Rescue League of Boston helped to rescue Cajun in the aftermath of the tornadoes in western MA, and transported him to Tufts Hospital for Large Animals.

Read the full article on Boston.com

2010 Continues to Be a Busy Year in Brewster

A special "topiary dog" on the grounds of the League's Brewster branch

Building on strong local support and a visible community presence, the Brewster Shelter has been a vibrant force on the Cape in 2010.

In a midyear progress report Brewster Shelter Manager Sandra Luppi noted that the branch continues to be the grateful recipient of community support and involvement including:

  • “The Sons of Erin” Irish members club in Yarmouth (silent auction raising $1,192);
  • Ben & Jerry’s of Eastham ($250 donation representing a day of ice cream sales);
  • Nauset Rotary Club ($500 donation to replace the Kuranda beds to the shelter dogs);
  • and Agway of Cape Cod ($3,290 and proceeds of a Schwinn bicycle raffle).

The Brewster staff put on two events – ‘Paws on Ice’ and a ‘Spring Safari’ Easter egg hunt – both attended by children and their parents – as well as staffing an information table at The Brewster Bookstore and a Harwich Mariners ballgame during the team’s ‘Dog Days of Summer’ event.

In addition, July’s annual rabies/microchip clinic at The Drummer Boy Park saw 18 dogs & cats vaccinated against rabies and 33 microchipped.  Brewster continues to advertise pets for adoption each month in the community newspaper The Cape Codder. Each photo & write-up is paid for by a sponsor advertising their business.

Brewster Shelter Agent Brian Long performed seven cat-in-tree rescues as well as several different types of injured wildlife from birds to foxes, a skunk caught in a soccer net, a frightened deer in a fenced in tennis court and a wayward female eider unable to leave an outfall pipe canal at a power plant in Sandwich.

Through July Brewster has adopted out 175 cats, 99 dogs and 56 “others” including birds and small animals. They have also continued with their transfer of dogs from out of state (TN) bringing their year-to-date total to 42 through August.

The Grace & Elliot Marks Spay/Neuter fund in a limited capacity has issued 48 certificates this year to those clients needing financial assistance.

In the staffing area, Luppi says the search has begun to fill the assistant manager position following Kristin Petty’s decision not to return from maternity leave so that she can be a full time mom to her beloved son Finn William Petty.

Noting that her goal is to find someone with the dedication, drive and caring exemplified by all of the Brewster crew, Luppi concludes proudly, “Our shelter’s continued success relies on the strong commitment of each staff member and volunteer. Working together as a team, we are able to provide a loving and caring environment for our animals and a high standard of customer service for our public.”

ARLB Testifies on Protecting Animals in Domestic Abuse Cases

Tom Flanagan testifies at a speaker forum sponsored by Massachusetts State Rep. Katherine Clark of Melrose as to the importance of including provision for animals in the issuance of temporary restraining orders in cases of domestic violence.

On Jan. 21, Tom Flanagan, Investigative Specialist for the Animal Rescue League of Boston and co-author of the book Silent Victims, Recognizing and Stopping Abuse of the Family Pet, was invited to testify on the link between domestic abuse and violence towards pets at a speaker’s forum arranged by Massachusetts State Rep. Katherine Clark of Melrose.

In addition to Flanagan, other testifiers included Animal Control Officer Deni Goldman as well as victims of domestic violence whose animals were also victimized.

According to Flanagan temporary restraining orders under Section 209A of the Massachusetts General Laws include the most obvious provisions: turn in any guns, stay 500 feet away from the complainant or children, don’t phone, don’t visit the complainant’s workplace.

“But provision for animals is not included. And so often, the family pet – which may be the only thing that gave kids any sense of stability – is used as a tool to lure a victim willing to do almost anything to get the animal back so the kids will have stability in their life. ‘You want the dog…?’ ‘You want the cat…?’”

Legislative efforts are being made to adjust the issuance of restraining orders to include animals as protected items, and the forum was held in support of that legislation.

“Our combined efforts were meant to emphasize the importance of animals in situations of domestic ‘disharmony’ – not just domestic violence –  and how important it is to include animals in restraining orders,” explains Flanagan.

“People don’t realize how huge an element that is in these situations. Hopefully we can get that info out so people can be aware of it and include it.”

Flanagan is optimistic that the testimony may have a positive effect. “The people we were trying to get to don’t get to deal with these things the way that we do. But I think we had a lot of impact on the people listening,” he concludes.

Massachusetts State Rep. Katherine Clark of Melrose with Animal Rescue League of Boston Investigative Specialist Tom Flanagan.

3-Year Plan to Guide League Through Turbulent Economy

On September 22nd, the Board of Directors of the Animal Rescue League of Boston approved a Three Year Financial Plan that was developed over the summer by an ad hoc Budget Committee.

The plan encompasses salaries and benefits; programs and facilities; use of the capital spending fund, bequests income, and the League’s endowment fund; as well as fundraising, and other cost cutting measures.

According to League President Jay Bowen, the plan is “designed to guide us through the current turbulent financial times while securing the future of our organization.

“Since December 31, 2008, despite the excellent work of our investment committee, we have experienced a serious decline in our endowment – as have most non-profits,” explains Bowen. “For the League, a 17.2% decline has meant a loss of $14,274,458 of market value, which means we have less to draw on to support operations.

“The Budget Committee basically looked at every aspect of the League’s activities to determine how we could best serve our constituents and continue to support our dedicated and hardworking staff, while maintaining fiscal responsibility during these particularly trying times. While none of us can be happy about cost cutting, I think the committee did an outstanding job of identifying and prioritizing the issues we face and steps we need to take.”

Below are the recommendations presented in the three-year financial plan.

In 2010 salaries of all employees will be frozen. In addition, the salaries of members of the Senior Management Team will be reduced with the range being from 2.5-15%. The plan calls for the resumption of annual salary increases in 2011, however because of  financial volatility, a firm commitment to that goal cannot be made this time. 2010 Savings: Wage freeze: $122,687; Salary reductions: $57,708.

Three positions each in Advancement, Finance, and Rescue Services were discontinued when they became vacant. 2010 Savings: $128,000.

Effective October 1, 2009 the League transitioned from a Harvard Pilgrim Health PPO to a Tufts Health Plan HMO with a $500 deductible per individual, $1000 per family.  Premium increases are budgeted at 10 percent for 2011 and 15 percent for 2012. 2010 Savings: $82,716.

Pembroke Animal Care and Adoption Center

The Center closed in the spring of 2007 and there have been ongoing efforts to either sell or lease the building.  It is anticipated that this will be achieved before December 31, 2009.  Permanent Savings: $272,636.

Mobile Spay Neuter Program
The existing program will be closed in December. Utilizing the Grace and Elliot Marks Fund, a new vehicle will be purchased which will increase the number of procedures completed during each session from 14 to 40.  The increased income eradicates the current operating deficit. In addition, the Barnstable Probate Court has permitted the League to draw 5% annually from the Marks Fund to support this program. Honoring the terms of our petition to the Attorney General and probate court, this program will service Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts. Overseer Beryl R. Benacerraf, M.D., who has great expertise in developing efficient operations in health care settings, is working with the staff to develop a new operating plan based on best practices. Permanent Savings: $336,250.

Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery
An ad hoc committee of directors, overseers, staff and a volunteer has been working over the summer to develop a marketing and business plan to eliminate ongoing operating deficits. Permanent Savings: $134,514.

Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center
Since 2008 $1,865,398 in bequests restricted by the donors to support the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Brewster program has been received. These funds are in a special restricted fund and will cover the operating deficit of approximately $1,808,698 through the end of 2012. 2009 Savings: $444,573; 2010 Savings: $470,436; 2011 Savings: $446,404; 2012 Savings: $447,285.

Center for Shelter Dogs
The second payment of $1 million from the Stanton Foundation was recently received. It is anticipated that the total grant of $3 million will fund the Center through 2012. The League is seeking endowment funds to secure support for the Center’s operations going into the future.

Capital Spending Fund
Annual contributions to the capital spending fund have been suspended in 2011 and 2012. 2011 Savings: $409,618.

Bequests Income
The total bequest income used in this plan is an average of bequest income received during the last 10 years and equals $1,600,000. If in one year more than the allotted amount is received the surplus will be folded into the endowment. If the reverse occurs then the League will be challenged to make the difference up through other means.
2010 – 75% $1,200,000
2011 – 50%      800,000
2012 – 25%      400,000
2013 – 0

The 5% spending policy remains in place.

Other Cost Savings
In addition to the savings noted the Budget Committee reviewed all operating budgets and recommended adjustments to the Advancement and Communication budgets.2010 Savings: $227, 000

In addition, to cost cutting, says Bowen, the plan also places an increased emphasis on fundraising. Specifically, fundraising needs to grow at a more rapid pace than it has during the past three years. For the League to be financially solvent in 2013 when bequests will no longer be used to support operations and the Brewster restricted funds depleted there will be a need for annual gift income to have reached $4 million.  $2,377,000 has been budgeted for 2009.

“This will continue to be a priority for the Advancement Team and me,” says Bowen. “In addition, it will be necessary for the Directors and Overseers to have an ownership in fundraising and an Advancement Committee must become part of the governance structure.”

Thanks to Budget Committee
Bowen again, thanks the other members of the ad hoc Budget Committee who worked with him to come up with the three-year plan.

Committee members include Directors Kathleen Garvey (chair), Lee Ann Leahy and Robie W. White; Overseer Jeff Kaplan; Staff Julie Chirillo, Jenny Lindamood, Gary Patronek, Susan Ruderman, Martha Smith, Lyn Washington and Jennifer Wooliscroft.

“For any organization, developing a financial plan to deal with an uncertain economy is a daunting task.” says Bowen. “For a non-profit with a special mission such as the Animal Rescue League of Boston, that charge is particularly challenging, but the committee took it on, and I think all of us can be proud and grateful for the work they have done.”

Things to Know About the Rescue Services Department

Here are some factoids about ARL of Boston’s Rescue Services from Rescue Services Manager Brian O’Connor.

The average number of rescues per day is about 20, although a few weeks ago the activity number hit 52. “Everyone was pretty tired after that,” says Brian. “It was just nonstop.”

Geographically, rescues are not limited to Greater Boston. ARLB rescue teams have routinely gone out to Western Massachusetts and even out of state to give assistance to other agencies, as well as assisting with disaster relief responses (such as Hurricanes Ike, Gustav and Katrina, as well as last years flooding in Iowa).

“We’re not bound by any city or town ordinances like a lot of municipalities and animal control officers, so it’s basically whatever we have for staffing levels on a given day how far we think we can handle going,” says Brian (pictured above).

Rescue Services can handle more than one rescue at a time. “We have several vehicles our rescue fleet if you will,” Brian explains. “A lot of rescues are single person rescues of an injured animal – all of our staff members are well equipped to handle that if it’s pretty straightforward. Some cat-in-tree rescues can take a couple people. The rescue of a cat in a sewer took quite a few people over a long period of time. That’s another thing, some of these rescues take five minutes and others can take five hours or several days to complete.”

Rescue Services does things that many other organizations or agencies don’t do, so when they get the calls they’ll refer them to ARLB. “Many other humane societies don’t have a field rescue division, so they call us when an animal needs to be rescued,” says Brian. “In addition, many local Animal Control Officers are dog officers – they don’t deal with anything except for dogs, so if it’s a cat or wildlife issue, they refer people to us. We have excellent relationships with a lot of Animal Control Officers. We can certainly call them if we need a favor or two.”

Members of Rescue Services aren’t part of Law Enforcement Department, although they both fall under a new “Center for Animal Protection” umbrella headed by Alan Borgal. “There can be crossover assistance between the two departments. We rely on Law Enforce Department for assistance for certain things and they rely on us for assistance with certain things,” says Brian.

Rescue Services uses a “triage” system when calls come in. According to Brian, “When calls come in to dispatch, the dispatcher takes all the information. In some cases they can just simply consult and give some resolution to that person over the phone – it may just be some advice or education. In other cases if it warrants sending someone out they’ll prioritize calls as urgent, a moderate emergency or something that can wait if we need to adjust everything.”

Rescue calls vary by season. “In springtime we get a lot of infant or orphaned wildlife, because that’s when a lot of baby animals are born, says Brian. “In spring and summer the cat calls go up because cats are having litters an outdoor cat may get hit by a car and leave an orphaned litter running around the neighborhood. Obviously in the winter we get our ice rescue calls. Cats are stuck in trees all year round – it doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason.”Calls also increase during the summer, in part because it’s lighter out longer and people are out for most of the day so they see more.

Oddest Rescue: “Both the Rescue Department and Law Enforcement were involved when Little Joe, a several-hundred-pound silverback gorilla escaped from Franklin Park Zoo. “That has to be one of the rarest calls you could possibly imagine.”

Most Dangerous Rescue: According to Brian, “We try not to do dangerous rescues. A lot of the training we do, swift water training in particular, the tree climbing we do that so we have a safety factor built into the rescues that we‘re doing even the ice rescues. So if we were to consider it beyond our scope as to what we could do well and safely, we wouldn’t do it.”

He continues, “Then again, I’ve been a hundred feet up a pine tree rescuing a cat. Some people would consider that dangerous, but I felt completely safe and harnessed in. It was a good solid tree and it just happened to be 100 feet up in the air.”

Rescue technicians conducting emergency exercises with "Fetch" - the League's mannequin training dog.

Worst Rescue: “A lot of the big rescues seem to happen in the worst weather possible. Five or six years ago when we had really bad ice storms, we got a call about a dog that was loose in Buckland, out in Western Massachusetts. What was worse, the dog would only come out late at night. So we were out there until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning with 25 below zero wind chill factor trying to catch this dog. With wind chills of that nature and it was just miserable.”

What about skunks? “Nah, skunks are pretty passive animals unless you frighten them. They just don’t know that they’re in danger. A real common skunk call is a skunk falling into a window well and not being able to get out because they’re bad climbers.”

Birds with broken wings? Rescue Services gets many calls for hurt birds. “There are several wildlife rehabilitators who will take care of the animal and rehabilitate them but have no way to go out and get the animal. We suggest to callers that they try to contain the bird and take it to the rehabilitators, but in many cases the person calling may be a passerby on the way to work: ‘I saw it at this location and it looked injured…’ So we’ll go out and get the animal and transfer it. It’s a bit time consuming but the other option is to leave the animal to suffer the fates of whatever may come along.”

Pizzeria Uno “Dough Raiser” to Benefit the Animal Rescue League of Boston

From Friday June 25th to Sunday June 27th, Pizzeria Uno will donate up to 20% of their proceeds from any customers who present a special coupon that we are distributing through our website, via e-mail, and with paper copies in all of our three shelters.  You may dine-in the restuarant or order take-out! The participating Pizzeria Uno locations are:Boston: Copley Square: 731 Boylston Street

Dedham: 270 Providence Highway

Hyannis: 574 Iyanough Road, Rte. 132

Click here for maps and directions to these locations.

The promotion is valid all their open hours on these two dates and, unlike many cause marketing deals, includes both take-out orders and alcoholic beverages. Please see their website at http://www.unos.com/fund.html for more general information.

Start Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010
End Date: Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Randolph Puppy Rescue


The Animal Rescue League of Boston will be accepting adoption applications for theRandolph dogs through the end of day on Sunday, December 14th. If you are interested in adopting, you can fill out an application at our Boston Branch at 10 Chandler Street, Boston,MA 02116 or email our adoption center for an application at adoption@arlboston.org. If you have questions about our adoption requirements, you can find them here.

Because many of the dogs are being adopted by their foster homes, we are not yet sure how many of the dogs will become available for general adoption. As they become available, we will screen applicants to match the dogs with an adoptive home. If you have a breed preference, please feel free to share that with us, although ultimately our matches will be based on personality of the particular dog.


DECEMBER 1 UPDATE: Judge Paul A. Chernof of Norfolk Superior Court signed the final order of custody for 104 dogs and puppies to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, drawing an end to ongoing legal proceedings that began in May of 2008. The defendant, LindaSnow, was indicted on July 16 and pled guilty to several counts of animal cruelty in October. The ARL of Boston initially seized 88 dogs, including several pregnant mothers who delivered puppies while in the ARL of Boston’s care.

The majority of dogs are expected to be adopted by the foster parents who have provided loving homes over the past seven months. The ARL of Boston is currently in the process of contacting foster parents about the adoption process. We will update our website if/when any of the dogs become available for adoption to the general public, so please check back periodically for updates.

As the largest law enforcement/rescue case in the ARL of Boston’s 109-year history, we offer our heartfelt gratitude to the many wonderful foster parents who helped us house and care for these dogs. To read a recent article about this foster care network, please click here.

To view media coverage concerning the case, please click here.

JUNE 3 UPDATE: Through the generosity of PETCO, many of the dogs and puppies rescued have been washed and groomed. Additionally, PETCO has set up collection bins for dog-related items (blankets, towels, Kongs, nylabones, etc.).

MAY 31 UPDATE: The staff from the Animal Rescue League of Boston wish to thank the public for their outpouring of support for the 90 dogs rescued on May 29. Due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation, the dogs and puppies are not available for adoption at this time.

MAY 29 UPDATE: Staff from the Animal Rescue League (ARL) ofBoston’s Rescue Services, Law Enforcement, Veterinary, and Shelter Departments were called upon to lead the rescue of 90 dogs and puppies from a home in Randolph, Massachusetts. Working in conjunction with the Randolph Police Department, RandolphAnimal Control, and the State Department of Agricultural Resources, the ARL of Boston executed a search warrant and found approximately 90 dogs and puppies abandoned and living in deplorable conditions. Throughout the course of the day and night, ARL of Boston staff carefully examined each animal before transporting them to ARL of Boston facilities and other animal control facilities. The dogs and puppies will undergo further medical evaluations and will receive high-quality care and support during the active law enforcement investigation.


Rescue Services Participates in MEMA Evacuation Drill

On May 10, 2008 the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston participated in a training exercise with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The exercise simulated a significant nuclear event at the Seabrook Power Plant which may warrant an evacuation. The drill was held at the Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield MA, which is designated as the reception center for evacuees. The ARL of Boston’s role is to be the lead agency for any animal-related issues and to provide temporary housing for animals while their owners are being processed. Our Mobile Adoption Rescue Vehicle (MARV) was on site to simulate how we could care for animals during disaster situations. We also had one of our rescue vehicles there, simulating that we were ready to respond in case animals needed to be transported or there was a call for assistance in the area. The day was a great success and our portion of the exercise was very well received by MEMA and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), who was grading the exercise.  A 2nd drill will be held in June so that FEMA can evaluate some areas that were not graded in the 1st exercise. The ARL of Boston will be present at this drill as well.

Special Boston Veterinary Care Event

In celebration of Adopt-A-Cat Month at The Animal Rescue League, Boston Veterinary Care is pleased to host a free Soft Paws clinic on Sunday, June 15th from 1 4 pm.  Bring your cat or cats and we will trim their nails and apply Soft Paws nail caps at no charge.  All cats must have a current rabies vaccine to be eligible.  See you there!

High Angle Rescue Training

Rescue specialists at the ARL of Boston receive special training that enables them to perform ice rescues, high angle climbing, technical rope work for cats in trees, swift water rescues, large animal rescues, disaster response and chemical capture. Our rescue specialists are supported by fully-equipped, state-of-the-art animal rescue vehicles and trailers containing nets, catch poles, snares, remote-controlled drop nets, humane traps, kayaks and ice boats.

Below are some photographs from our High Angle Technical Animal Rescue training.