Category: Rescue
ARL Takes in Dogs Rescued from Alleged South Carolina Dog Fighting Operation

Alleged dog fighting operation housed approximately 275 dogs

Late last week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) received a special transport of three dogs from the national organization the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that were rescued from a large alleged dog fighting operation in South Carolina that was raided by federal officials in September of 2022.

ARL is privileged to welcome these dogs and give them the lives and homes they truly deserve.

The female dogs range from 2-3-years-old, and have received thorough medical examinations upon arrival at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Aside from scars that are typical of dogs that have suffered in this type of situation, one dog did need a mass removed, one dog required the extraction of several teeth, and one dog will need ongoing medication for allergies that have caused skin irritation.

The dogs are friendly, but given the circumstances they came from, they are understandably nervous around new people, however, ARL staff and volunteers are continuously working with the animals to increase their confidence and comfort level around people.

With the trauma behind them, ARL is looking forward to finding these resilient dogs the homes they deserve, and encourage potential adopters to learn more about them.

ARL wishes to thank HSUS for their efforts in rescuing these dogs, and for collaborating with ARL to help these dogs into the next phase of their lives.

Case Background

On September 25, 2022, HSUS assisted the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Office of the Inspector General to seize approximately 275 from multiple properties in the Columbia, South Carolina area as part of an ongoing investigation by the USDA, OIG, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The conditions these animals were living in were horrific, with many dogs living in pens or chained to trees with barrels or makeshift shelter serving as their only protection from the elements. The dogs were suffering from a variety of injuries typically found in dog fighting situations including severe scarring, festering open wounds, lacerations, abscesses, and broken bones consistent with multiple bite wounds.

Additionally, many of the dogs were found to be dehydrated, underweight or emaciated, and infested with fleas and other parasites.

Most of the dogs were adults, however, there were multiple nursing litters of puppies removed from the properties as well.

While a portion of the 275 dogs have been surrendered and can now be placed for adoption, many are still receiving care in confidential locations while the court process determines custody.

The Animal Welfare Act makes it a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison to fight dogs or to possess, train, sell, buy, deliver, receive, or transport dogs intended for use in dogfighting.

ARL Seeking Special Home for Playful and Affectionate Abandoned Pig

Young pig surrendered after being abandoned at a Boston-area home

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is looking for a special home for a one-year-old female pig who has a sparkling personality and was illegally transported into the state and abandoned at a Boston-area home.

In late October 2022, Boston Animal Control contacted ARL regarding the pig, now named Clarendon.

It seems the relative of a Boston resident was visiting from Northern New England and had brought Clarendon along.

However, when the relative left, the pig was left behind.

Concerned for the sow’s welfare, the resident contacted Boston Animal Control, who then transported Clarendon to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Because she was illegally transported from out-of-state, she has had to undergo a quarantine period, but has quickly settled into her new surroundings.

She is constantly showing her affectionate and playful side, welcoming anyone who comes to visit, and excitedly running around her pen to the delight of ARL staff and volunteers.

While adorable, Clarendon will need a special home, as she is not the typical kind of pig that ARL routinely finds homes for.

Clarendon is a breed of pig that is typically bred for meat production, meaning when she is full-grown, she will likely weigh several hundred pounds, therefore, her new home will have to be able to accommodate an animal of her size.

Interested adopters can contact ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center by calling (617) 426-9170 x605, or emailing dedham-adoption@arlboston.org.

Watch local news coverage of Clarendon.

Microchip Helps Reunite Owner with Missing Cat

14-Year-old cat missing for three months

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently took in a 14-year-old cat, and as with any cat or dog who comes through ARL’s doors, one of the first tasks for staff to complete is to scan the animal for a microchip. Turns out that the cat was actually a missing cat!

The cat, named Charlie, did have a microchip, and staff immediately took the necessary steps to find and then contact his owner.

Charlie reunited with his owner thanks to his microchip!

When his owner, a Somerville resident, was contacted, he was elated that Charlie was in ARL’s care, and soon made the trip to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center to be reunited with the cat that he had cared for since he was a kitten.

Turns out Charlie had gone missing in October, and while making efforts to find him, the owner had come to the conclusion that Charlie was gone, but remained hopeful.

Upon being reunited with the senior cat, the owner expressed his gratitude and stated that having Charlie microchipped was one of the best decisions he had ever made.

Being an indoor/outdoor cat, Charlie had gone missing before, and the microchip had always led to a reunification with his owner.

ARL is thrilled that Charlie was reunited with his owner, and this tale once again highlights the importance of having your pet microchipped.


A microchip is a computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number unique to your pet.

It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required.

A microchip greatly increases the likelihood of being reunited with a lost pet – an AVMA study shows 52 percent of dogs with microchips are reunited with owners, versus just 21 percent with dogs with no microchip.

Owner return rates for cats with a microchip is 38 percent versus just 1.8 percent for cats without the chip.

If you adopt a dog or cat from ARL, the animal will go home with a microchip, and ARL recommends all dog and cat owners have their pets microchipped, and to make sure that if you move or relocate to keep the contact information up to date.

Lost Pet?

There isn’t a more sinking feeling than when you realize that your furry or feathered companion might have gone missing.

Whether it’s a door left ajar, a booming thunderstorm, or slipped harness during a walk, our pets can all too quickly slip away from our sight.

Should your pet go missing, it’s important to take immediate action by following these 5 steps to increase the likelihood of a happy reunion with your pet:

    • Call the local Animal Control Officer of the town where you live, and of the town that your pet went missing in. List of Massachusetts Animal Control Officers.
    • File a lost report with ARL either in person, over the phone at (617) 426-9170, or online. This lost report is seen by all three ARL locations. The staff will ask you to provide a photo of your pet.
    • Contact your pet’s microchip company if your pet has one, to notify them that your pet is lost. Be sure to confirm that your contact information is current.
    • File a lost report with every shelter within a 60-mile radius of where your pet went missing. Oftentimes, concerned citizens will pick up a stray pet they see on the side of the road and bring it to a shelter that is close to their destination instead of close to where they found the animal. Visit the shelters closest to you as often as possible to check for new incoming lost pets.
    • Don’t give up! Many pets go missing for months before being reunited with their owners. You will have the best chance of finding your missing pet if you utilize all of the provided tips and continue to search for them as long as you can.

Stray Cat Rescued and Eventually Adopted by BU PhD Student

Stray cat was found on construction site along a busy Boston street

A stray cat in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) had her story come full circle this past week, after she was adopted by one of her finders.

The cat, named Dr. Stumps, was discovered on scaffolding in a construction site along Commonwealth Avenue on the expansive campus of Boston University.

Dr. Stumps after being adopted.

A PhD student at the university noticed the cat in the precarious position and decided to take action.

The student removed the cat from the scaffolding, and brought her into the office where other students were working in.

She was sweet, curious and social with all who interacted with her and because of her tendency to tread over the student’s computers who were working on their doctorates, they decided that the studious cat had already earned her doctorate from BU and aptly named her Dr. Stumps.

After spending some time with the cat and noticing her outward behavior towards people, the students thought she possibly may have been an owned cat and brought her to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The cat was not microchipped, and received a thorough medical exam and spay surgery.

She was a little underweight but did not have any injuries or illness as a result of spending time on the streets fending for herself.

The students kept tabs on her progress, and when her stray wait period ended and she was made available for adoption, one student jumped at the chance of giving her a permanent home.

The adopter tells ARL that when Dr. Stumps got home, she ate and slept in abundance, while also cuddling with her new family.

She has adapted to the home quickly and has become more playful as she’s gotten more comfortable in her new surroundings and is now thriving!

ARL Takes in More Than 75 Cats from Overcrowding Situations

Overcrowding cats undergoing medical care, should be available for adoption soon

This past week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) took in more than 75 cats from two separate overcrowding situations and reminds the public that should they or anyone they know be in a situation where they are unable to care for their animals to reach out to ARL for assistance.

The animals are being cared for at ARL’s Boston and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers, and at this time are not available for adoption.

ARL Responds

Early last week ARL’s Field Services Department assisted a resident in Norfolk County to nearly 50 cats from the residence.

The person in need had inherited the animals from a close relative, and because of the urgency of the situation, ARL was able to respond the same day the resident reached out for assistance.

The cats involved were intact and breeding, and most of the animals from this situation are under a year old.

Once transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, the animals received veterinary care, and many, particularly the litters of kittens, have been placed into ARL’s vast foster care network, where they will stay until they are ready to find new homes.

The cats remaining at ARL’s Boston location will continue to receive medical and behavioral care until they are ready to find new homes.

Through ARL’s Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program, one cat was neutered and returned, as he holds a special place in the hearts of the family involved.

The second overcrowding situation involved ARL removing nearly two dozen cats from a home in Bristol County.

ARL had been working with a resident who was looking to rehome some of the cats from the home for several months, but unfortunately, the resident recently passed away and the family requested that all the cats be removed from the home.

The family had been working with animal control in their town, so while many of the animals had been spayed or neutered, some are older and will need further medical and behavioral evaluations before being made available for adoption.

While these cats are currently unavailable for adoption, ARL hopes to have these cats ready to find new homes soon, but there is no timeline on when this may happen.

If You Need Assistance

ARL reminds the public that If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by having too many animals in their home, there is help available.

You can contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

ARL approaches every overcrowding situation with respect, compassion, and a staunch commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the animals involved, as well as their caretakers.

How You Can Help

The sudden arrival of nearly this many cats and kittens from three overcrowding situations means we urgently need your help!

Your emergency gift today can provide the cats and animals like them with everything they need including medical care to treat their health issues; spay and neuter surgery to stop the cycle of pet overpopulation; and adoption services to ensure they find loving homes.

Abandoned Cat Found in a Box Finds Her Home for the Holidays

Abandoned cat showed off sweet side upon being rescued

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) takes in animals from a variety of situations, and recently took in a five-year-old female cat that had been found abandoned in an open box and was in need of some TLC before finding her Home for the Holidays.

When the cat was found, she was taken to Boston Animal Control, who then reached out to ARL for assistance.

Gravy was found abandoned in a box.

She was brought to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center where she underwent a thorough veterinary exam and was also assessed behaviorally.

Despite some matted fur, dirty ears and moderate dental disease, the cat, now named Gravy, was in good health.

Although a little frightened upon intake, Gravy soon opened up to ARL shelter staff and volunteers – especially when introducing her to yummy cat treats!

She was soon showcasing her personality, her love of playtime and treats as well as her selective interest for other cats, and after several days in the care of ARL, she was ready to find a loving home for the holidays and beyond.

Just days before Christmas, she was made available for adoption, and quickly found her new home where she is thriving and ready to live the life she deserves!

How You Can Help Animals Like Gravy

For all of us, and especially for animals in need, this has been a trying time. Soaring inflation has made our work much more difficult and strained our limited resources.

ARL cannot respond in times of crisis without you – and the need has never been greater.

Your generous year-end gift will ensure that animals in need can get the care they count on including, food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger. Make a donation today.


Press Release: ARL Law Enforcement Removes 18 Dogs from Unsanitary Conditions

Majority of the dogs living in unsanitary conditions emaciated, animal cruelty charges filed

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, with assistance from Malden Police and Animal Control recently executed a search warrant at a Malden residence to remove 18 dogs, a number of which are emaciated, that were living in unsanitary conditions.

The operation to remove the animals from the home in Malden took place on Friday, December 2, and involved ARL Law Enforcement, Malden Police and Animal Control; the Malden Fire Department was also on-scene for a brief time.

Once removed from the home, the majority of the dogs were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, while several needed additional care and were taken to an emergency animal facility to receive 24-hour care.

Those dogs have since been transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center and are receiving ongoing treatment.

Along with living in unsanitary conditions, nearly half the animals are considered emaciated, and the majority of the dogs are extremely undergroomed, with overgrown nails, matted fur, fur loss, and moderate to severe dental disease.

The underweight animals are now on refeeding plans to ensure they gain weight slowly and safely.

While recovering, the majority of the animals will spend time in foster care where they will have a quiet and comforting environment to recover.

ARL Law Enforcement has filed 18 counts of animal cruelty (M.G.L. ch.272, s.77), along with 18 counts of violation of the state’s tethering and confinement statute (M.G.L. ch.140, s.174E) against Jennifer Ahn, of Malden.

ARL wishes to thank Malden Police and Animal Control, along with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance with this situation.

This work cannot be done alone and animals urgently need your help now.

Your emergency gift today can support:

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

Make a donation today.

Home for the Holidays: Buzz Lightyear Finds a Perfect Landing Spot

Cat was found in Fall River with a glass jar stuck on her head

You may recall the story of Buzz Lightyear, back in October, the six-month-old kitten was spotted on the streets of Fall River in a precarious situation – she had a glass jar stuck on her head!

Fall River Animal Control contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department for assistance, and because ARL’s Community Cat Program is extremely active in the city, an agent was already in Fall River and was able to respond to the situation quickly.

Upon arrival, the kitten was seen wandering along the roadway, and while it took a bit of time, Buzz Lightyear was eventually captured by use of a drop trap.

Although she could not smell with the jar on her head, the agent used food to lure two of Buzz’s siblings into the trap and out of curiosity, she followed.

Once secured, ARL’s Field Services agent was able to handle the kitten and remove the glass jar, and then transported Buzz to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Preparing For a New Home

While Buzz Lightyear settled into her temporary surroundings at ARL quickly, she was unaccustomed to being cared for by humans and needed some time to undergo socialization with staff and volunteers.

After getting up-to-date on vaccines and undergoing spay surgery, she was placed in ARL’s cat colony room in Dedham, which included a couple of her siblings, to help her feel more comfortable and allow staff and volunteers to gain her trust and help her learn how to interact with people.

Going Home

It wasn’t long before Buzz Lightyear was showing off her friendly and playful side, and she was made available for adoption.

She was adopted almost immediately upon being made available, and is looking forward to spending her first holiday season in her new home where she is thriving with her new family and feline companion!

Making a Difference

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Buzz Lightyear get everything they deserve this holiday season.

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes.

From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues, to veterinary care, enrichment and behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible.

2,285+ animals in need have already found homes this year. Will you make a year-end gift to help one more?


Home for the Holidays: Former Community Cat Overcomes Obstacles to Find Loving Home

Community cat received extensive treatment while in care of ARL

Animals are amazing in so many ways, but the resilience of animals seen every day at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is awe-inspiring, and a 7-month-old former community cat who has found his Home for the Holidays exemplifies resilience.

Yogurt came into the care of ARL in July from a colony in Fall River, an area of the state that ARL’s Community Cat Program is extremely active.

In Desperate Need of Care

The kitten was in rough shape upon arrival at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center: his abdomen was distended, he was very underweight, was infested with fleas and additionally, he had a fractured leg and a severe wound on his tail.

ARL’s shelter medicine team amputated part of his tail, and because the injury was a wound of unknown origin, Yogurt was placed into the state-mandated four-month quarantine protocol.

The hope was the fracture would heal with rest and constant monitoring, but over time the leg did not improve, and for his health and well-being, the leg was amputated.

Despite enduring so much at such a young age, Yogurt was resilient through it all.

Gaining Confidence

Because he previously lived outdoors, he needed plenty of socialization to become used to being cared for by humans, and that’s where ARL’s behavioral team came in.

Using clicker training that positively reinforces good behaviors, Yogurt took to his training well and soon became comfortable with those around him.

Yogurt transformed from a shy kitten, to a kitten that would quickly interact with anyone willing, purr loudly, and more than just a lap cat, he has been known to actually fall asleep in people’s arms!

Ready to Go Home

As Yogurt steadily progressed, he became an office foster so he could have constant interaction with people, and once his four-month quarantine had lapsed, he was ready to go into a new home.

Unsurprisingly, Yogurt was adopted quickly, finding a new home with an ARL employee, and he is now Home for the Holidays with his new family, happy, healthy, and thriving!

Make a Difference Today

For a homeless animal or at-risk pet like Yogurt, your kindness can change their whole life.

Your support is a powerful source of hope for the animals we serve, as it will ensure that we are able to provide all animals in our care with the level of compassion and love they deserve.

Will you make a gift to help animals experience kindness and joy this holiday season?

Join ARL today, and thank you for being a Champion for Animals!

ARL Rescues Community Kitten with Glass Jar Stuck on its Head

Community Kitten rescue collaborative effort with ARL and Fall River Animal Control

 This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department assisted Fall River Animal Control to rescue a community kitten in the precarious position of having what appeared to be a glass bowl or light fixture cover stuck on its head.

The six-month-old kitten, now named Buzz Lightyear, was spotted along the 200 block of Danforth Street by a nearby resident who has been monitoring and feeding cats in the area, who then contacted Fall River Animal Control.

Because ARL’s Field Services agents work frequently in the Fall River area to help tackle the enormous numbers of community kittens and cats living on the streets, ARL was contacted and dispatched to the scene.

Upon arrival, the kitten was seen wandering along the roadway, and while it took a bit of time, Buzz was eventually captured by use of a drop trap.

Although she could not smell with the jar on her head, the agent used food to lure two of Buzz’s siblings into the trap and out of curiosity, she followed.

Once secured, ARL’s Field Services agent was able to handle the kitten and remove the glass jar, and then transported Buzz to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Although the kitten was a bit dirty from living on the streets, ARL’s shelter medicine determined she was in good health, and proceeded to provide the kitten with vaccines and spay surgery.

Buzz has settled into her new surroundings, however, because she is still learning to trust humans, she will need time for ARL staff and volunteers to help socialize the young cat, and she is not yet available for adoption.

Additionally, while rescuing the kitten, ARL was able to identify a previously unknown cat colony, and will begin trapping the other cats in the colony to provide medical treatment, spay/neuter surgery, and assess behavior to possibly place other cats from the colony into loving homes.

ARL wishes to thank Fall River Animal Control for the continued collaboration to care for the large community kitten and cat population in the city.

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.