Category: Rescue
Stray Cat Survives Barbed Wire Injury, Finds Forever Home

“Ant” needed extensive medical treatment

In May, while many of us were working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department remained busy on the front lines providing a number of services, including the rescue of a two-year-old stray cat in Middleboro that had been severely injured by barbed wire.

Ant had been spotted in a quiet neighborhood, and when ARL arrived on-scene, it was clear that the cat was in a tremendous amount of pain.

He had suffered severe lacerations which were clearly infected, and he needed medical attention immediately. Ant was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for treatment.

Unfortunately the injury to his left hind limb was beyond repair, and needed to be amputated.

Following his surgery by ARL’s shelter medicine staff, Ant was required to go into a state-mandated, four-month quarantine for a wound of unknown origin.

Given he was a stray, Ant showed signs of anxiety around people, and needed plenty of socialization during his recovery and quarantine period.

While Ant was initially hiding and tense, shelter staff and volunteers began spending time with Ant, approaching slowly, and using purr machines, soft music and even reading aloud to get him to relax.

Over time Ant’s body language improved, he was hiding less and was even allowing brushing, full-body pets, and chin scratches!

Finding a Forever Home

Ant’s tremendous progress over a four-month period made him an easy decision for his adopter, who fell in love at first sight!

Ant is settling in to his new home well and is sure to give plenty of love and purrs for years to come.

You Make These Outcomes Possible

While it is difficult to predict the on-going impacts of this global crisis, one thing remains constant – animals in our communities are still in need.

And with a great need for these ongoing and expanding community services, Champions Circle members are there to answer the call for help.

Thanks to you, Ant was able to not only be rescued from the streets, but received the extensive medical care he needed in order to have a second chance.

Champions Circle members provide steady support that sustains life-saving measures and second chances for homeless and at-risk animals all year long.

During unprecedented times like these when fundraising events have been cancelled or modified, monthly gifts are crucial to providing life-saving care and assistance to animals when they need it most.

By becoming a Champions Circle member today, you are ensuring that animals in need will the care they deserve, even during crisis.

Why does monthly giving matter?

  • Spreading out your donation in increments throughout the year makes your giving budget work harder and creates an even bigger impact for animals.
  • Monthly giving is a convenient, affordable, and efficient way to make a difference in the lives of animals in our community.
  • 60% of ARL’s funding comes in during the last quarter of the year- and most of it during the last 2 weeks in December – yet animals need help every day. Monthly support from Champions Circle donors provides animals with care and assistance when they need it most.

Use this secure link to join now, or call Derek at (617) 426-9170 x162.

Join by September 30th, and receive a special 2021 wall calendar!

Lil’ Dumplin’ Ready to give a Lil’ Lovin’!

Former stray’s Quarantine Period Ends

In April, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) received a call from a concerned United States Postal Service mail carrier regarding a friendly stray in the Dorchester neighborhood they serve.

The mail carrier had been feeding the cat, and upon receiving the call, ARL’s Field Services Department were dispatched to pick up the animal and bring her to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Lil’ Dumplin’ enjoying the feline suite.

Despite spending time on the streets, the 3-year-old female cat was incredibly friendly. Overall she was healthy, however a wound on her neck was discovered and classified as a “wound of unknown origin.”

With this type of wound, the state mandates a four-month quarantine period, just in case the cat had come in contact and was wounded by a rabid animal.

Lil’ Dumplin’ has spent the last four months in a special feline suite, providing her with a large space away from the shelter environment, and she has had plenty of visitors and attention during her quarantine period.

Quarantine Period Used to Be Longer

In 2016, ARL encouraged Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to make some changes to shelter regulations, including reducing the rabies quarantine period from six months to four.

Governor Charlie Baker

Gov. Baker discusses shelter regulations at ARL in 2016.

The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians recommended the reduction due to evidence that showed that animals in isolation for an extended period of six months could become stressed and depressed, even with regular human socialization.

Not only is the reduced quarantine period beneficial for the overall health and wellbeing of the animals involved, it also allows organizations like ARL to help more animals and to ease financial constraints.

Ready to Go Home

**Update: Lil Dumplin’ has been adopted!**

With Lil’ Dumplin’s quarantine period over, she is now ready to find her forever home!

If you are interested in meeting Lil’ Dumplin’ and believe she may be a perfect fit for you and your family, contact ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center at (617) 426-9170 x604. ARL staff will be happy to conduct an adoption interview via phone and arrange a meeting, if both parties think it’s a good match.

Please note:

  • With the exception of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York or New Jersey, we are unable to conduct out-of-state adoptions at this time.
  • The public will not be permitted in the shelter or lobby waiting areas without an appointment and will be asked to limit the number of visitors.
  • Everyone must wear a protective face covering or mask that covers both the nose and mouth while at ARL facilities by order of the State of Massachusetts.
    • Please alert our staff if you need to request accommodation due to a medical condition by calling: (617) 426 – 9170 and dialing the appropriate extension: Boston press “0”, Dedham x605, or Brewster x305;
    • For more information on these safety requirements, visit mass.gov.

FedEx Driver Spots Stray Bearded Dragon After Rain Storm

Earlier this month when the Metro Boston area was inundated by a period of afternoon thunderstorm activity, an astute FedEx driver wound up making more than deliveries.

On the lawn of a small apartment complex in Dorchester, the delivery driver noticed a bearded dragon lying in the grass.

Concerned for the animal’s welfare, the driver contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department to respond and care for the bearded dragon.

Ballou being rescued.

Upon arrival, Field Services agents noted that the bearded dragon was soaked from the rain and very cold.

Bearded dragons thrive in relatively low humidity environments (between 20 and 30 percent humidity), so given that the animal was caught in a torrential downpour and high humidity was concerning.

Field Services transported the one-year-old bearded dragon, now named Ballou, to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for a medical exam and treatment.

Ballou has done well since being in Dedham and is now looking for his forever home!

Caring for a Bearded Dragon

You may not know it from a bearded dragon’s stern expression, but these animals are in fact very docile and affectionate with humans!

Unlike many other lizards, bearded dragons are not nocturnal and are active during the day – perfect for forming a bond with your new companion.

Caring for a bearded dragon is fairly simple and here are a few things you’ll need to keep him health and happy in his new environment:

  • A larger capacity glass tank (40 gallons or more) and a secure screen lid
  • Sand, as well as obstacles like a rock or branches that your bearded dragon can climb on or hide behind
  • A heating lamp so your bearded dragon can spend plenty of time basking in the sun
  • A mister to keep your bearded dragon comfortable – a once-a-day spritzing is all that’s needed
  • Bearded dragons are omnivores, so be sure to have a balanced diet of insects, fruits, vegetables, reptile feed, and always keep water at the ready

Ready to Adopt?

Due to COVID-19, adoption services are by appointment only.

If you are interested in talking with an ARL Animal Care Associate about Ballou, you can contact ARL’s Dedham location by calling (617) 426-9170 x605 to set up an appointment.

To ensure Ballou will have an adequate environment in which to thrive, you will also need to provide a picture of the enclosure you plan on keeping him in.

Former Injured Stray Ready to Find Forever Home

Nikki suffered from embedded collar injury

**Update 7/27/20: Nikki has been adopted!**

For Nikki, since being found as a part of a stray cat colony, the last five months have been a long, arduous journey.

When she was found, Nikki was suffering from wounds caused by an embedded collar, a not uncommon injury where a cat tries to remove a collar and it typically gets caught around the animal’s armpit.

Nikki receives treatment for injuries caused by an embedded collar.

If not treated immediately the collar can dig into the skin, causing severe irritation and a high risk of infection. If Nikki had not been rescued, her injuries may very well have been fatal.

After being rescued from the streets, Nikki was brought to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for medical treatment.

The one-year-old cat’s injuries from the embedded collar were extensive, and surgery was needed to remove the collar and to stitch up the open wound. From there Nikki began the slow process of recovery.

The next five months for Nikki consisted of antibiotics, a number of rounds of wound debridement, rebandaging, and constant monitoring.

But despite her injuries and slow recovery, Nikki has shown all who have come into contact with her that she has nothing but love to give, and after months of medical treatment, she is now ready to find her forever home.

Interested in Adoption?

While Nikki’s wounds have healed nicely, her new family will need to continue her wound treatment and should establish a plan with her new veterinarian.

If you are interested in meeting Nikki and believe she may be a perfect fit for you and your family, contact ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center at (617) 426-9170 x604. ARL staff will be happy to conduct an adoption interview via phone and arrange a meeting, if both parties think it’s a good match.

Please note:

  • With the exception of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York or New Jersey, we are unable to conduct out-of-state adoptions at this time.
  • The public will not be permitted in the shelter or lobby waiting areas without an appointment and will be asked to limit the number of visitors.
  • Everyone must wear a protective face covering or mask that covers both the nose and mouth while at ARL facilities by order of the State of Massachusetts.
    • Please alert our staff if you need to request accommodation due to a medical condition by calling: (617) 426 – 9170 and dialing the appropriate extension: Boston press “0”, Dedham x605, or Brewster x305;
    • For more information on these safety requirements, visit mass.gov.

ARL Caring for Lost Puggle and Puppies

This past week a two-year-old puggle and her five puppies were discovered in a wooded area along Route 3A in Weymouth, MA, this after the mom had been missing for some time.

Since going missing the puggle had been spotted a number of times, but remained elusive.

While difficult to survive on her own in the wild, the puggle was resourceful and had been living in an area close to a fast food restaurant so she would have an ample food supply.

Weymouth Animal Control Officer Mike Parker was able to trap the mom, and after her owner relinquished custody of the dog and puppies, they were brought the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Robin and her puppies

Robin's Puppies

Despite some scratches, scrapes and a number of insect bites from living in the wild, the mom and her four-week-old puppies are in good health.

Given the age of the puppies, the family will be placed into foster care until the pups and mom are ready to find their loving forever homes.

How You Can Help

A gift to ARL today ensures this puggle family and others like them receive the care and support they need to be healthy, happy and to find their forever homes!

To support the care of these animals click here, and thank you for being a Champion for Animals!

Updated: ARL Caring for 80 Cats from Edgartown Law Enforcement Case

Breeder facing animal cruelty charges

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, along with Edgartown (Martha’s Vineyard) Police and Animal Control and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) personnel, executed a search warrant at an Edgartown home and removed 65 cats from the property.

The cats were transferred to ARL’s care for veterinary care and will likely need weeks of treatment.

Update: Two litters of kittens have been born and ARL is now caring for approximately 80 cats and kittens.

The cat breeder, Jennifer Winsper, 48, will be charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty (MGL.272/77/B: Animal Cruelty by a Custodian).

ARL Law Enforcement inspected the property in 2019 following complaints of sick cats being sold off island. A similar complaint was lodged with Edgartown Animal Control in late June 2020. Edgartown Animal Control Officer Betsy Buck and MDAR personnel inspected the property following the complaint and determined the conditions were detrimental and dangerous for the animals.

ARL Law Enforcement sought and was then granted a search warrant for the property to take custody of the cats.

With the help of Edgartown Police and Animal Control and MDAR, 65 cats were safely removed from the property. Conditions inside the building where the cats were being kept had poor air quality, an overwhelming odor of animal waste, and was incredibly hot.

“We are very appreciative of the strong partnership we have with the Animal Rescue League of Boston,” said Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee. “Their resources and expertise are invaluable to a small police department, especially one out here on Martha’s Vineyard, in cases like these.”

ARL wishes to thank Edgartown Police and Animal Control and MDAR for their assistance and resolve in rescuing these animals from difficult circumstances.

How You Can Help

An influx of this many animals causes a strain on ARL’s resources, and an emergency gift today can support:

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

Thank you for supporting ARL’s ongoing efforts to combat animals suffering cruelty, neglect and abuse.

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    Press Release: Rescued Mini Donkeys Seek New Home

    Bonded pair seized from hoarding-type situation

    A pair of mini donkeys who have come from previously traumatic situation were recently transferred from foster care to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, and are now searching for a new home.

    The donkeys, Brownie and Marshmallow, were seized from a hoarding-type situation in Plymouth County in late 2019 and were two of approximately 50 animals taken from the unsanitary conditions on the property.

    The former owner is facing animal cruelty charges, and the property has since been condemned.

    Twenty-year-old Brownie, and 13-year-old Marshmallow are neutered males, and because of their bond, ARL is seeking to adopt the donkeys as a pair.

    While initially shy and despite the terrible conditions they were previously living in, they are extremely friendly, comfortable around people of all ages, including children, and have outgoing personalities.

    With many livestock owners on Cape Cod, ARL is hopeful that Brownie and Marshmallow will find the type of loving home they deserve quickly, and reminds the public that all animal adoptions are currently by appointment only.

    Interested parties should call (617) 426-9170 x305 to schedule an appointment, and will also be required to show a photo of the enclosure the donkeys would be living in to ensure it’s appropriate.

    ARL Assists Woburn ACO in Swan Rescue

    Swan injured by fishing hook; reunited with family quickly

    On Wednesday afternoon, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department assisted Woburn Animal Control in capturing a swan on Horn Pond, who had been suffering for a number of days.

    The male swan was injured by a small fish hook caught in his right foot which was also wrapped in fishing line.

    A local favorite among those who frequent Horn Pond, the male and his mate are caring for their offspring, and both are protective and leery of unknown humans – this added an additional challenge to the rescue effort despite being close to the shore line.

    With a number of bystanders looking on, ARL’s Field Services agent carefully snared the swan with a humane net, pulled him to shore and, with the help of Woburn Animal Control and a bystander who has an affinity for the swan family, able to safely place the injured animal into a crate for transport.

    The swan was taken to New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth, and after a quick treatment of removing the hook, cleaning the wound and administering antibiotics and pain medication, ARL returned to Horn Pond to reunite the swan with his family just a few hours later.

    Given that swans are territorial, ARL believes this is not the first time this swan has needed assistance, as Field Services rescued a swan in the same area several years ago.

    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.

    ARL relies on the generosity of compassionate individuals (like you!) to carry out our important work to help animals and communities in need — please help us continue this lifesaving work by making a donation.

    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 Continues its Mission During Shutdown

    When the impacts of COVID-19 began to be severely felt in Massachusetts, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) did what so many other organizations and businesses did across the state – altered day-to-day operations for the health and safety of staff, volunteers, clients and the animals we care for.

    While ARL placed more than 200 animals into foster care in mid-March and suspended adoption services, as an organization ARL was extremely active in helping animals in need and caring for the communities we serve.

    Placing animals in foster care had multiple benefits.

    First, it allowed the animals to be removed from the shelter environment, which can be stressful for some, and into a home setting.

    A home setting is not only less stressful, but it also gives ARL’s Animal Care Associates a better understanding on what these animals are like in a home, making it easier to find their perfect match.

    Another benefit was creating open kennel space at ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers, in the event that emergency animal intakes became necessary for pet owners.


    From March 16 to May 31, ARL did see a surge in intake, as 286 animals came through ARL’s doors – 134 in Boston alone.

    These animals came to ARL in a variety of ways – emergency owner surrenders primarily due to COVID-19-related hardship, adopted animals returned, law enforcement cases, transport from other municipalities, among others.

    The majority of the animals were cats, with 180 felines coming into ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

    There were 72 dogs that came through intake, the remaining 34 animals were small animals and livestock.

    Law Enforcement

    While adoption services were suspended, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department remained busy during the past two-and-a-half months.

    From January 1, 2020 through May 15, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department had 128 new cases reported, involving 600 animals.

    However, over the past two months alone, ARL Law Enforcement opened 56 new cases, involving 189 animals.

    During the past two months, ARL Law Enforcement has responded to hoarding-type situations, a number of animal cruelty situations including a cat in Framingham that was shot with a high-powered pellet gun, several instances of animal abandonment, and also assisted in a number of non-cruelty cases including the return of a geriatric stray cat to its family in Winchendon.

    Serving Communities in Need

    Along with suspending adoption services, an additional byproduct of COVID-19 was the suspension of ARL community services, primarily the Wellness Waggin’ and Spay Waggin’ – two programs that bring veterinary services directly into the communities ARL serves.

    The question was how can we still serve our communities in spite of stay at home orders and the growing impacts of COVID-19?

    The answer came in the form of ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Supporting Animals Facing Emergencies) Program.

    The program, initially funded by a $30,000 grant through PetSmart Charities®, has allowed ARL to support community partners Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and Boston Senior Home Care (BSHC), by providing their clients with pet food and supplies and other urgent assistance.

    Clients of ARL’s Wellness Waggin’ are also eligible for assistance.

    ARL has provided the following services to clients who qualify for the program:

    • Deliver pet food and other essential pet supplies to clients’ homes and partner-supported community housing;
    • Pick up pets to provide critical veterinary care and return them to their owner;
    • Provide temporary emergency shelter for pets and offer pick up and return of the pet to their owner or a designated caregiver;
    • Arrange for emergency and essential surrender of pets with pick up service.

    To date, the Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program has received more than 300 requests for assistance, secured more than 75,000 individual healthy meals for pets, delivered essential supplies and pet food to more than 160 clients, and provided telemedicine or critical veterinary care to more than two dozen clients.

    While Massachusetts slowly reopens, the need remains, and ARL is committed to keep this program running for as long as it’s needed to assist the communities we serve in the Greater Boston area.

    For more information on ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. Program, and to see if you qualify, log onto arlboston.org/safe.

    Thank you!

    This important work is made possible by the generosity of people like you.

    While it is difficult to predict the long-term impact of this global crisis, one thing remains constant—animals are still in need.

    By lending your support, you ensure that animals in Massachusetts can get the care they count on including food, sanctuary, medical care, love, and emergency rescue if they are in danger.

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    Press Release: ARL Field Services Rescues Cat Caught in Fence

    ‘Margot’ safe and sound and will be available for adoption soon

    This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department came to the aid of a friendly neighborhood stray cat in Dorchester, who found itself stuck in a chain-link fence.

    A resident who regularly feeds the cat, named Margot, went into her backyard and discovered Margot stuck in the fence and crying.

    She called ARL, and once agents Mike Brammer and Paul Luongo arrived on-scene, one agent held the cat still, while the other cut away a piece of the fence to free the cat. Not only was the cat uninjured, but surprisingly she was also thankful and wanted to be petted by her rescuers.

    Although sad to see Margot go, the resident asked the agents if ARL would take Margot and find her a permanent home.

    Margot was transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for evaluation and the four-year-old cat will be made available for adoption after putting on a little weight and being spayed.

    Clearly having an attachment to Margot, once she was freed from the fence the resident and her family spent some time with a friendly stray before saying goodbye.

    “Huge thanks to ARL for saving Margot,” the resident wrote in a social media post. “She was stuck with the fence piercing her neck and I tried tirelessly to cut the fence with no luck (and) tears streaming down my face. We called ARL and received the best support! The team rushed out and saved her in minutes…we can’t thank you enough the boys were so happy!”

    ARL will reopen for appointment-only adoption services beginning June 1. ARL Field Services has also remained busy during the pandemic, delivering food and supplies to pet owners in the Greater Boston area, as well as transporting animals in need of veterinary attention.