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

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

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

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

Slow and Steady

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extraordinary Measures

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

Hoarding-Type Situations Increasing

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

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


ARL Assists in Wrangling Dog Missing for a Week

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

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

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

Click here to see a video of the rescue!

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

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

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

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

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

Ready to Respond

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

As in this case, ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies with equipment and training; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.


Abandoned Dog Recovering at ARL

Dog found on Oxford/Dudley line

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

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

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

He is now on a path to recovery.

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

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

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

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

Neglect and Abandonment are Illegal

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

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


A Community Cat’s Incredible Journey Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extraordinary Care

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

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

Ready to Go Home

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

A Cadre of Care

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

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


Good Samaritans Step in to Get Dogs Out of Bad Situation

When an unidentified woman was wandering around the Lynnway Mart recently trying to sell a pair of Shih Tzus for cheap, two Good Samaritans stepped in to get the dogs to safety.

For local news coverage of this story click here!

The dogs were purchased separately for $40 and $50 – the woman with the dogs allegedly told one buyer that if she couldn’t sell the dog she was going to “get rid of it one way or another.”

The animals were filthy, unkempt and underweight. Both dogs were brought to Ocean View Kennels in Revere, where kennel owner Lisa Cutting contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department.

Aside from their outward appearance, the two-year-old (Chanel) and six-year-old (Tiffany) dogs both needed surgical hernia repairs, which was performed by ARL shelter medicine staff. The pair have also been spayed, vaccinated, and microchipped.

Selling animals at flea markets is not prohibited in Massachusetts, however, this woman did not have a vendor booth or a license to sell animals and unfortunately there is no surveillance footage available at the market.

The Good Samaritans were focused on the welfare of the animals and were unable to give a detailed description.

Despite the lack of a description, anyone who has any information on who this person may be is asked to contact ARL’s Law Enforcement Department at 617-426-9170.

In the wake of this incident, staff at the Lynnway Mart will be on the lookout and will contact local police if the woman returns.


Boston Duck Tours Discovers Cat Family at Dorchester Facility

Mom and five kittens rescued off the streets

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is commending Boston Duck Tours for their compassion and care for animals in our communities, as workers at the company’s maintenance facility in Dorchester recently alerted ARL to the presence of a family of stray cats.

The female and male cats were thought to be living in an unused DUCK boat outside the facility, but had the litter elsewhere. Employees at the garage facility were feeding the cats daily and were keeping a close eye on them, but knew they needed to get off the streets.

Once contacted, an ARL Field Services agent responded to the facility, located at 11 Sturtevant St. in Dorchester, and was able to rescue the mother cat (appropriately named “Sturtevant”) and her five kittens who are estimated to be about 4-6 weeks old.

Sturtevant remains at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center to receive medical care and socialization, while her kittens are in foster care.

Sturtevant has a ways to go behaviorally, and ARL volunteers and staff are working with her everyday to increase her trust and reduce her fear. The kittens, while starting off hissy, are now showcasing their personalities and will be sure to make wonderful pets.

Exchanging Quacks for Meows

Showing their soft side, several employees at the Boston Duck Boats facility have asked ARL to adopt the kittens once they are available for adoption. Sturtevant will also be made available for adoption, however, she is still frightened and when she is made available will be up to her.

Make the Call

With approximately 700,000 community roaming the streets throughout Massachusetts, Boston Duck Tours did the right thing by contacting ARL to rescue these cats. ARL’s Community Cat Initiative aims to get as many off these animals off the streets and into loving home as possible and asks that anyone noticing stray cats, or any homeless domesticated animal around their home or neighborhood to contact ARL Field Services at 617-426-9170.


Press Release: ARL Caring for Abandoned Chihuahua

A two-year-old Chihuahua is settling in at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center – this after being abandoned on an enormous property in Southbridge that was once an American icon.

Bailey was recently discovered wandering among the dozens of abandoned buildings of the former American Optical property. Because the area’s gated, Southbridge Animal Control Officer Katelyn Spencer told ARL that no one enters the property by mistake and that it’s become a common animal dumping ground.

The dog is healthy, adorable, and friendly, but is also shy and easily frightened. Since arriving at ARL, Bailey has been vaccinated, spayed and microchipped and is currently available for adoption.

ARL once again reminds the public that abandoning an animal is NEVER an option. It constitutes animal cruelty, which is a felony crime in Massachusetts. If you are unable or unwilling to properly care for an animal, there are resources available to ensure the animal is taken care of and rehomed.

More Than a Century of Assistance

ARL has great relationships with municipalities throughout the Commonwealth and are always ready to assist – in this case, ARL worked with the Southbridge Animal Control Officer and travelled more than 60 miles one-way to take custody of Bailey.

A simple phone call to a local ACO or visit to a local shelter can get the process started for surrendering an animal and there are never judgements or shaming – anyone involved in animal welfare simply wants what’s best for the animal.


Kitten Season is in Full Swing

A pair of kittens rescued along the busy American Legion Highway in Roslindale this past week capped a busy month for the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services.

From Metro Boston, Metro West, to the South Shore and points in-between, the department rescued 40 kittens during the month of May alone, and June is shaping up to be another busy month. Over the past 16 weeks, ARL Field Services has rescued about 80 kittens total!

The aforementioned kittens were noticed by a passing driver wandering along a rock retaining wall and contacted ARL Field Services for assistance. The feisty six-week-old kittens were brought to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center and will be placed into foster care until they are ready to find permanent homes.

This is the height of kitten season, as warmer temperatures lead to increased mating and an explosion of newborn kittens.

These new cat families can be found almost anywhere – under your porch, in a backyard woodpile and anywhere that can provide safety and privacy for the mother cat and her offspring. Kittens have also been discovered in industrial and busy shopping areas – and they need our help.

Unfortunately, ARL has seen a number of instances where the mother cat may have been injured while out looking for food, or simply left offspring to fend for themselves. This creates a dangerous situation for the kittens who are far too young to be able to care for themselves.

Keeping an Eye Out

With an estimated 700,000 community cats living on the streets throughout Massachusetts, ARL believes getting these kittens and mama cats off the streets and into loving homes is imperative. ARL urges anyone who notices kittens in their yard, neighborhood or even out running errands to contact ARL Field Services at 617-226-9170 for assistance.


Cat Family Rescued in Mattapan

For several weeks, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services had been tracking a stray mama cat on the streets of Mattapan. She was clearly nursing, but her litter was nowhere to be found.

After numerous visits to the residence to check her status, this week ARL was finally able to bring the mom and baby to safety – thanks to perseverance, the resident taking action, and a little bit of luck.

The resident at the home where the mama cat had been hanging around was in the midst of moving this week, and when ARL arrived on-scene, the friendly one-year-old came up for a visit, and with only one breast carrying milk, it was clear there was only one kitten to be found.

During the visit professional movers were going in and out of the home, and ARL agents were scouring the property trying to locate the kitten. Suddenly, a mover ran out and exclaimed “I found the kitten!”

Sure enough, the four-week-old kitten was tucked away behind a bookshelf, which then begged the question – how did it get there?

The mama cat (now named Fremont), had not been inside the home previously, but must have taken advantage of the traffic going in and out of the home and at some point dashed inside to bring her little one to a safe place.

Reunited, the Fremont Family was moved to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center to be medically evaluated and placed into foster care until they are ready to find a loving forever home.

YOU Can be a Champion for Community Cats

The Mattapan resident was a tremendous help to ARL, as she not only fed Fremont, but was constantly monitoring her as well. If you spot a possible stray around your property or in your neighborhood, please contact ARL’s Field Services. Your action can help get these animals off the streets and into a loving home.


Update: 50 Cats Removed from Metro Boston Home Easter Weekend

Cats are slowly gaining trust and settling in

During the Easter holiday weekend, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department was busy removing 50 cats from a Metro Boston home, which has since been condemned due to deplorable and uninhabitable conditions.

We’re made aware when these animals are removed from these difficult situations, but what happens then?

These animals have needed extensive medical treatment over the last three weeks, but perhaps more importantly, the majority of these cats are traumatized and shut down emotionally.

This unfortunately is a common byproduct of animal hoarding and one ARL sees too often.

The cats need constant interaction with humans to break free of the trauma, learn to trust, and to take the next step – which is finding a forever home.

ARL volunteers and staff have taken extraordinary measures to get these cats to break free of their fear by talking softly with encouragement, offering treats, using backscratchers to simulate petting, playing purring sounds – and finally when the cat is ready to move on to the next step, a reassuring hand is slowly extended towards the animal.

To see local media coverage of this story click here!

These measures are used to break through the wall of fear, but it’s done on the cat’s own terms.

It’s a painstaking process where there is no timeline on when a break-through may occur. ARL is committed to making these animals whole, and to give them the second chance they deserve.

So far one of these cats has been adopted, while another is waiting to find their forever home, sure signs that these animals are progressing with each passing day.

Hoarding-Type Situations Increasing

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

As spring melts into summer, warm temperatures bring a surge in the animal population and ARL expects to respond to more hoarding-type incidents over the next few months.

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