Category: Rescue
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


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.

Please note: Due to the sensitive nature of this situation, ARL is not releasing the city/town where this incident occurred or the parties involved.

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. 

ARL Takes in 27 Cats from Overcrowding Situation

One cat diagnosed with rare congenital condition

In early February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) worked with local animal control to take in in 27 cats from a home in Worcester County due to overcrowding.

The caretaker had simply become overwhelmed by the number of cats in the home, and requested surrender of the majority of the animals.

These types of situations can be extremely delicate and more often than not, this case included, the animals are truly loved, however, due to the sheer number of animals, the caretaker was unable to provide proper care.

Once removed from the residence, the cats were transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The animals underwent thorough veterinary exams, and along with signs of ear mites and fleas, a number of the cats were also treated for upper respiratory infections, which is a common byproduct of overcrowding.

ARL’s shelter medicine team also spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped all of the cats.

After a time of recuperation, many of the cats were placed up for adoption and found loving homes.

Additionally, local animal control and town health officials continue working with the caretaker to improve the living situation, and because tremendous progress has been made, three of the cats have been returned to the home.

Cat Diagnosed with Rare Congenital Condition

A few of the cats remain in the care of ARL, including a 3-year-old male cat named Chubbins, who was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism, a rare condition for cats.

Thyroid hormones are critical for the development of the nervous and skeletal systems, and an underactive thyroid can create a number of symptoms including lethargy, mental dullness, cold intolerance, loss of fur, among others.

The condition can also cause smaller than normal proportions, which is the case for Chubbins.

While 3-years-old, Chubbins has the body frame of a 8-10-month-old kitten and weighs just 5 pounds – a typical cat this age should weight around 11 pounds.

Chubbins is receiving thyroid hormone replacement therapy, and while responding well to the medication, he will need to spend some time in foster care before being made available for adoption.

ARL Here to Help

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.

Overcrowding can lead to serious health concerns not only for the animals, but for people living among them as well.

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.

Click here to make a donation today. 

Cat Living on Streets for 10 Years Finds Home for Retirement

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Community Cat Program was launched in 2017 to address the estimated 700,000 community cats, 70,000 in Boston alone, living in the harsh condition of the streets.

ARL helps these animals by working with a number of sources, including animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth, as well as local residents who monitor and feed community cats.

It was the latter that led to the recent rescue of a 10-year-old female cat that had been living in a Brighton neighborhood for a decade.

The Rescue

Thelma’s feeder contacted ARL, saying they could no longer monitor the cat.

ARL headed to the neighborhood and trapped the feisty female, transporting her to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Thelma was ear-tipped, meaning she had been spayed in the past and returned to the field, and had been living on her street longer than most of its residents.

Community cats like Thelma are incredibly resilient, surviving the harsh seasonal conditions New England has to offer, and avoiding predators and scrums with other community cats.

While having a feeder, Thelma did not have regular veterinary care, and it showed.

Along with the visible signs of a cat living on her own for a decade, she was a little underweight, and had advanced dental disease.

ARL’s shelter medicine team provided Thelma with a thorough veterinary exam, dental care, which included several tooth extractions, and vaccines.

Coming Out of Her Shell

Of course, Thelma wasn’t used to being indoors, and like any community cat, was keenly aware of her surroundings and on guard.

While initially showing a tough exterior when interacting with ARL staff and volunteers, the toughness faded after a few minutes of petting with a rolling purr and even a little drool!

With her tough exterior and heart of gold, it was clear that Thelma would thrive in a home.

Thelma spent a few weeks in foster care to allow her time to get used to being indoors, and she was soon ready to find her retirement home.

Going Home

Thelma became available for adoption just this week, and to nobody’s surprise she found her perfect match quickly!

Every animal deserves the opportunity to be in a loving home, and Thelma is a shining example of ARL’s commitment to helping community cats living in our communities.

Click here to search adoptable animals. 

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

Community cats face many challenges living outdoors.

Without proper shelter and care, they are at risk of illness and injury.

Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters and continue the cycle of large colonies of unowned cats.

As an unwavering champion for animals in need, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) believes that the challenges that face community cats require our attention and action.

Click here for more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program and how you can help.

Cat Rescued from Tree Ready for Adoption

There is no such thing as a routine rescue of a cat stuck in a tree, it’s always a precarious situation, and presents safety concerns for both the humans and animals involved.

In late January, the Animal of Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department was contacted by animal control in Mansfield, MA, to assist with a cat that had been stuck at the very top of a tree for more than 12 hours.

The four-year-old cat, later named Henry, was approximately 30 feet from the ground, and once on scene, ARL’s Field Services agent and Mansfield Animal Control deployed nets around the tree and began to assess the situation – however, Henry didn’t want to wait.

Henry was dangling from a branch, and was also frightened and exhausted. As he was trying to get his footing he lost his balance, and tumbled towards the ground.

The nets did their job, providing a soft landing for the cat, and while frightened, he was able to be safely secured, and was then rushed to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for triage and veterinary care.

ARL’s shelter medicine staff gave Henry a thorough exam, and along with finding a heart murmur, Henry also had a number of abrasions from his experience in the tree.

Henry was overcome with fatigue following his harrowing ordeal, but knew he was in a caring and nurturing environment, and once settled in, he ate heartily and began the healing process.

Ready to Go Home

Thanks to have a quiet place to rest and recuperate, Henry quickly began to showcase his personality.

The handsome cat would welcome anyone who would come and visit, headbutting hands, purring loudly, and curling up in the laps of staff and volunteers.

With his tree ordeal behind him, Henry is now ready to find his perfect match!

To see Henry’s profile, click here.

ARL Field Services

As part of its Community Outreach programs, ARL’s Field Services provides technical (tree climbing and swift/ice water) and non-technical rescues for injured domestic animals – including community cats, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, ospreys, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

For more information about ARL’s Field Services click here!

Community Cat Found Living in Storm Drain Seeking New Home

Community cats are incredibly adept when it comes to finding a warm, safe place to escape the elements.

While Bagel, a 3-year-old now former community cat, had found the comfort and safety of a storm drain in Fall River, it was the compassion of his feeder who took it upon themselves to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department – just days before a historic blizzard descended upon the region.

Bagel upon arrival in Boston.

During his time living in the storm drain, he was constantly monitored and fed by a Good Samaritan while he was roaming a nearby grocery store parking lot. Upon arrival at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, Bagel made up for lost time, eating everything in sight and relaxing in his nice, warm bedding.

Bagel began interacting with ARL staff and volunteers fairly quickly, meowing for attention, purring, and accepting pets and treats, making it clear that he was friendly and would thrive if given the chance to find and family and a home of his own.

Despite his friendly demeanor, Bagel did have signs of living on his own for a period of time and was also involved in an altercation or two with another cat at some point.

Along with dental disease, Bagel had several teeth that were fractured and needed to be extracted.

Additionally, he had conjunctivitis, and also tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which is spread by bite wounds between cats, but cannot be transmitted to people.

Ready to Go Home

**Update 2/2/22: Bagel has been adopted!**

After extensive dental work and being neutered, Bagel has recovered and is now looking for his new home!

For more information about Bagel and how to inquire about adoption, click here!

ARL’s Community Cat Program

It is estimated that there are more than 700,000 community cats throughout Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone.

Community cats face many challenges living outdoors. Without proper shelter and care, they are at risk of illness and injury.

Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters and continue the cycle of large colonies of unowned cats.

ARL’s Community Cat Program tackles this issue by working with individuals who take it upon themselves to feed and monitor these animals, as well as animal control officers to assess a colony and formulate a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) plan.

Spay and neuter surgeries are low risk and proven to improve the safety and health of these cats as well as the community as a whole. The plan also includes vaccines, and whether each cat will be returned to the colony, returned to their owner if microchipped, or admitted to an ARL shelter to be put up for adoption if they are friendly, just like Bagel.

For more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program, click here!

ARL Receives Transport of Dogs Removed from Kentucky Region Recovering from December Tornadoes

This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA), received a transport of dogs removed from an area in Kentucky devastated by a series of tornadoes in December of 2021.

In the wake of the tornadoes, the ASPCA was immediately dispatched to assist shelters in Kentucky, relocating dogs and cats in order to free up space for owned animals impacted by the storm.

The animals ARL received are among the dozens of homeless dogs moved to a facility outside of the impacted areas, who have been receiving care by the national organization since late December.

ARL was honored to become a part of the ASPCA Relocation Program in 2021, and is thrilled to be able to assist in the on-going disaster relief efforts by taking in these animals in need and finding them loving homes.

“By evacuating these homeless animals displaced by the devastating tornadoes in Kentucky, the ASPCA was able to free up critical resources for organizations in impacted communities to help save more animal lives,” said Lou Guyton, Vice President of the ASPCA Relocation and Placement team. “The ASPCA is grateful to partner with organizations such as ARL who have kindly opened their doors to find adoptive homes for these animals.”

“The ASPCA has done a tremendous job in its disaster relief efforts in Kentucky, and ARL is happy to be able to lend a hand in the effort by taking in these wonderful dogs and finding them loving homes here in Massachusetts,” stated ARL President and CEO Dr. Edward Schettino.

The dogs were transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and have received thorough veterinary exams, are vaccinated, spayed/neutered, microchipped, and are now ready to find their new families.