Category: Rescue
Former Emaciated Stray Now Living His Best Life

This past August, Sigma, a six-year-old male cat, was brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center as an emaciated stray, by a resident who was concerned for the cat’s well-being.

Sigma’s finder believed he had been owned and then abandoned by a former neighbor and had kept an eye on him over the past year and feeding him from time to time as well.

Sigma, while friendly, was in rough shape.

He weighed just 6 pounds, and as a comparison, when he was adopted from ARL in 2017 as a kitten, he went home weighing 9 pounds. Along with being extremely emaciated, he was also dehydrated, and unable to stand or walk on his own.

Additionally, his right eye was foggy and he was also tremoring, a sign of possible neurological deficits.

Making Strides

Sigma, a former emaciated stray, transformed after several weeks on a refeeding plan.

ARL’s shelter medicine team quickly went to work, running diagnostic tests and placing Sigma on a refeeding plan to ensure he would put on weight safely and slowly.

The lameness in his hind limbs was due to severe muscle wasting, a likely byproduct of being abandoned and inability to find a sustainable food source. Thankfully, Sigma began to strengthen as he started putting on weight, and was soon able to display vastly improved mobility.

Sigma needed some time to recover, and was placed into a foster home, where he thrived!

Many former strays can be scared of new people and surroundings, however, Sigma was the complete opposite. He loved being around his foster family, especially a young child in the home.

Going Home

After several weeks in foster care, Sigma had put back on the weight that he had lost, and was healthy, happy, and strong.

About one month after arriving at ARL, Sigma was made available for adoption, and almost immediately found his perfect family, and is thriving in his new home.

A black cat laying on a cat scratch pad

“Sigma loves to explore our home room by room. He enjoys playing with his new toys and napping! He has a great appetite and lots of energy.” Deng L., Sigma’s adopter

September is Champions Circle Month!

Sigma received the care that he needed all thanks to supporters like you.

If you’ve ever considered supporting ARL throughout the calendar year, now is a perfect time to do so!

ARL’s Champions Circle members provide reliable support in the form of monthly gifts. With their recurring contributions, members give animals like Sigma the critical support they need now, and dependable support that ARL can count on, ALL YEAR LONG. Become a Champions Circle member today!

ARL Rescues Cat Trapped in Drain in Roxbury

ARL caring for cat after drain ordeal, seeking a possible owner

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently caring for a cat who needed to be rescued after becoming trapped in a drain outside of an apartment building in Roxbury.

The cat has shown signs of possible ownership, and ARL is actively looking to see if the animal has gone missing from a nearby residence.

On the afternoon of Thursday, September 15, ARL’s Field Services hotline received a call that a cat had been discovered trapped in a drain along 12 Cleaves St. in Roxbury, and was unable to free itself from the predicament.

An ARL Field Services agent responded immediately to the scene, and upon arrival could hear the cat meowing loudly from the drain.

The agent was able to remove the grate from the drain, and when reaching in to wrangle the cat, he seemingly knew that help had arrived and allowed himself to be handled and removed from the situation.

Once the cat was removed from the drain and safely secured, he was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center to undergo a veterinary exam and settle into his new, and hopefully temporary surroundings.

The approximately 5-year-old cat, dubbed “Louie”, was found to be in good health and was not wearing a collar and is not microchipped.

Given his friendliness, ARL is concerned that he may be missing from his home and is asking anyone who may recognize him to contact ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center at 617-426-9170 x605.

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 Opens Doors to 25 Beagles from the Envigo Facility in Cumberland, Virginia

ARL assists in the Humane Society of the United States’ work to find placement for approximately 4,000 beagles

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has brought 25 beagles to its Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center as part of the first group of beagles to be removed from a mass-breeding facility riddled with animal welfare concerns.

The Humane Society of the United States is coordinating the removal of approximately 4,000 beagles housed at an Envigo RMS LLC facility in Cumberland, VA which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation.

The transfer plan was submitted by the Department of Justice and Envigo RMS LLC, with the agreement of the Humane Society of the United States to assume the responsibility of coordinating placement.

The transfer will take place in stages over the next 60 days, and the dogs will be up for adoption via ARL and other shelters and rescues.

ARL understands the interest by those looking to adopt one of these special animals, however to manage the high volume of request and reduce the impact on ARL’s normal operations, these animals will be adopted through a special adoption process.

Please note: due to the amount of inquiries for these beagles, ARL is no longer accepting applications for these special adoptions. 

ARL asks interested adopters who have submitted applications for their patience.

The beagles need time to heal and ARL is unable to anticipate a timeline for when they will be ready to go to their new homes. Interested adopters are asked not to call or email ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers. Calls, emails, or messages to our social media accounts will not be considered completed applications.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston is honored to be a part of such a massive rescue effort,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino. “ARL commends HSUS for its effort and commitment to these resilient animals, as well as our animal welfare partners around the country who have made special accommodations to ensure that these dogs are cared for and find the homes they so richly deserve.”

The transfer plan comes as a result of a lawsuit filed against Envigo by the Department of Justice in May, alleging Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility.

Repeated federal inspections have resulted in dozens of violations, including findings that some dogs had been “euthanized” without first receiving anesthesia, that dogs had received inadequate veterinary care and insufficient food, and that they were living in unsanitary conditions.

“It takes a massive network of compassionate, expert shelters and rescues to make an operation of this scale possible,” said Lindsay Hamrick, shelter outreach and engagement director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are deeply grateful to each organization that is stepping up to find these dogs the loving homes they so deserve.”

The Humane Society of the United States is maintaining a list of partners accepting animals into their adoption program will be here.

It’s National ‘Check the Chip’ Day!

Sharon resident reunited with cat thanks to microchip

Today is National ‘Check the Chip’ Day, a day to remind pet owners of the importance of not only having a microchip implanted, but to make sure that all contact information is up to date. While not replacing a collar and tags, a microchip drastically improves the chances of being reunited with a pet should they become lost.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a dog with a microchip is twice as likely to be returned to their owners, while a cat with a microchip is 20 times more likely to be returned.

Microchip Success Story

In February, Sharon resident Tyler Martin’s four-year-old brown tabby Bailey went missing. Bailey’s owner posted flyers around his neighborhood, but as the days and weeks passed, the hope for a reunion dwindled and the belief was that Bailey was gone for good.

Fast forward six months to August – the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services team received a call from a resident in Norwood about a possible stray cat in their yard. Field Services agents responded to the scene and were able to corral the friendly cat, transporting the animal to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bailey was scanned for a microchip and the information led ARL to Martin. When contacted, he was emotional and ecstatic to hear the news, but shocked that Bailey had been found on the other side of Route 95 in another town! He left work and was in Dedham in less than 30 minutes.

At ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center, Bailey was shy and wasn’t looking to interact with anyone, however when his owner arrived, a quick sniff of the hand created an instant reconnection, and the reunion was complete.

A happy reunion to say the least, and if Bailey had not been microchipped, it’s unlikely this reunion would’ve happened.

How the Microchip Works

A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number that is unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required. The microchip is injected with a needle beneath the skin between the shoulder blades and is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it.

Your pet’s identification number is entered into a national microchip registry, and you can think of the microchip as a permanent ID tag for your pet – but if you move or change phone numbers it’s important to make sure that your contact information is updated to increase the chances of a reunion.

When you adopt a dog or cat from ARL, along with being vaccinated, spayed or neutered, medically and behaviorally evaluated, the animal will also have a microchip implanted before you take them home.

Press Release: ARL Law Enforcement, Malden Police Jointly Investigating Abandoned Dog Case

Two-pound, emaciated and ill Chihuahua abandoned near Malden Police Department

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department is jointly investigating a disturbing case of animal cruelty and abandonment with the Malden Police Department, after an abandoned dog was discovered in terrible condition in a popular recreation area in Malden.

On Monday, July 25, the one-year-old Chihuahua, named Bailey by his Good Samaritan finder, was discovered huddling in some bushes along the East Coast Greenway bike trail in the area of Dell and Branch Streets.

The finder carefully wrapped the animal in a blanket and brought him to the nearby Malden Police Department.

The dog was initially treated at an animal hospital in Charlestown and then transferred to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bailey is emaciated, weighing just 2.7 pounds and scoring a 2 out of 9 on the body condition score index.

He also suffered severe fur loss and his body is covered in scabs.

Additionally, he tested positive and is being treated for Giardia, a parasitic illness that may be a further indicator that Bailey was previously living in unsanitary conditions — when presented for medical treatment, the animal was described as “malodorous” (filthy).

Bailey is receiving ongoing veterinary care including medicated baths and a refeeding plan to ensure he gains weight slowly and safely.

Please note: Bailey is not currently available for adoption. There is no timeline for when this may happen, the animal has suffered greatly and will take some time to get healthy and be ready to find a new home.

How You Can Help

Bailey still has a long road to health and our work is far from over.

We need you now to help him heal and find those responsible for his neglect.

Here are two ways you can help Bailey and animals like him:

  1. Make a life-saving donation in Bailey’s honor
    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 like Bailey are in dire need

Report Animal Cruelty
Too often, animal cruelty is not identified. By many estimates, 4 out of 5 cases remain hidden, leaving animals to suffer.

If you suspect animal cruelty, please call your local authorities or ARL’s confidential Law Enforcement line at (617) 426-9170 X110, or email cruelty@arlboston.org so we can investigate.

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.

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 Receives Transport of Dogs Rescued from Cruelty and Neglect by the ASPCA 

Transport marks growing partnership with national organization

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continued its growing partnership with the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) receiving a transport of dogs who were removed from animal cruelty and neglect situations and are now looking for loving homes.

The dogs came from two separate cruelty investigations through ASPCA’s partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and presented with various medical needs.

Meet the Pups in Need

**Update: all dogs have been adopted!**


Waggington, a three-year-old pup, came to the ASPCA through its partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in February of 2022 as part of a criminal investigation with a suspected knife wound to one of his hind legs.

While in the ASPCA’s care, Waggington had his wound repaired and was treated for an ear infection and upper respiratory infection.

He is a very social dog who is loved by everyone who meets him and he is ready to find his safe, loving home.

Fern, Lavender, and Link

Fern, Lavender and Link also came to the ASPCA through its partnership with the NYPD in January of 2022 as part of a criminal investigation.

Fern is an energetic two-year-old lady who steals the hearts of everyone she meets. While in the ASPCA’s care, Fern was treated for a skin infection which has healed beautifully.

Lavender is a sweet and social girl who is a little older than a year. She was mildly fearful when she first arrived at the ASPCA but has since become quite the social butterfly.

Link, an approximately five-year-old pup, is a social and confident dog who had a sparse hair coat and dental disease when he first arrived at the ASPCA’s Animal Recovery Center in New York City. Now that his hair coat is filling in and his teeth have been freshly cleaned and treated, he is ready to find a safe, loving home.

Upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, ARL’s shelter medicine team continued care, giving each animal a thorough veterinary exam; the dogs have also received behavioral evaluations as well.

“I am extremely pleased that ARL is able to assist the ASPCA, a wonderful partner organization, with these animals who came from difficult situations,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL President and CEO. “Through this collaborative effort, these dogs will be able to find loving homes where they can thrive for years to come.”

A Growing Partnership

In 2021, ARL officially became a part of the ASPCA’s Relocation Program, which relocates dogs from shelters in areas with high homeless pet populations to “destination” shelters like ARL, where adoptable animals are in high demand.

Additionally, in early 2022, ARL received several dogs rescued by the ASPCA from a tornado-ravaged area in Kentucky and placed them into loving homes.

ARL Assists in Second Large-Scale Overcrowding Situation This Month   

For a second time in February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is lending a hand to local animal control for a large-scale cat overcrowding situation – this time involving more than 90 cats in Middlesex County.

The situation unfolded earlier this week and involved local animal control and three other local humane organizations, and to date, ARL has taken in 22 cats, with more possibly on the way.

The cats range in ages from 9-months-old to 5-years-old and were transported from the residence to ARL’s Boston and Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

ARL’s shelter medicine team continues to examine the cats, and to this point, the bulk of the cats have been diagnosed with upper respiratory infections, a common by-product of overcrowding, ear mites, and advanced dental disease.

One of the cats also needed an emergency enucleation of an eye due to severe infection.

The cats are frightened, but continue to settle into their new surroundings, and ARL staff and volunteers are also working with the cats to assess their behavior.

It’s likely that once ARL’s shelter medicine team concludes medical treatment, including dental procedures, the cats will spend some time in ARL’s vast network of foster homes to heal and prepare for life in new, loving homes.

How You Can Help

ARL wishes to thank all the organizations and local animal control officers involved for their commitment and dedication to these animals in need, and while the cats have been surrendered, they still have a long road ahead.

It will take lots of time, medical treatment, and expert care to help these cats.

When you donate to ARL today, you will ensure they, and other animals like them, will get everything the need to heal and be adopted into loving homes.

We cannot do this work alone – ARL relies solely on the generosity of individuals to help animals in need.

Thank you for your compassion and for being a Champion for Animals in need!

Click here to make a donation today.