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Category: Rescue
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.

Intake

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.


Press Release: Week-Old Kitten Abandoned in Dorchester – ARL Law Enforcement Investigating Incident

Disclaimer: This news release contains details about an alleged instance of animal cruelty that may be upsetting to some readers. 

This past weekend, a concerned citizen helped rescue an abandoned kitten who was found in a residential neighborhood in Dorchester.

Unfortunately the kitten was unable to survive.

The male kitten, estimated to be just 1-2 weeks old, was found with a plastic bag covering his head and cinched around his neck, and the resident who found him needed a knife to cut the bag in order to free the kitten.

The resident contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department, who immediately responded to the area on Norfolk St.

Sadly, just days after being rescued, the kitten developed Fading Kitten Syndrome, and did not survive.

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is investigating the matter as an act of animal cruelty and abandonment, as it’s believed the bag was placed over the kitten’s head intentionally.

This action is also believed to have directly contributed to the animal’s decline and untimely death.

“This is a sad day at ARL, however we remain steadfast and committed to discovering who may have committed this act of cruelty on a defenseless kitten,” said ARL President Dr. Edward Schettino. “If anyone has any information, we plead for you to reach out so we may give this kitten some peace and perhaps save the lives of more vulnerable animals.”

Animal cruelty is a felony in Massachusetts, punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Anyone with information on this act of animal cruelty is urged to contact ARL Law Enforcement at 617-426-9170, or via email cruelty@arlboston.org.


ARL Conducts National Animal Cruelty Conversation

Dr. Edward Schettino Presents During AAWA Webinar

While many things in our daily lives have been altered, suspended, or cancelled, the battle to end animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse continues unabated.

This past week, Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, presented a webinar hosted by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA) to discuss the importance of professionals having the tools to not only recognize animal abuse, but who to report it to.

The webinar was attended by more than 100 animal welfare and veterinary professionals from across the country.

Currently, only 16 states, including Massachusetts, categorize veterinarians as mandated reporters of animal cruelty and abuse, while just six states mandate non-veterinarians (typically Animal Control Officers) to report – again, Massachusetts is one of these states.

The information discussed during the webinar will hopefully bring new ideas and action to regions of the country that do not mandate reporting of suspected animal cruelty.

Cruelty Manual

In 2018, a collaborative effort between ARL, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and Animal Folks (MN) resulted in the creation of Reporting Animal Cruelty the Role of the Veterinarian: Establishing Protocols to Identify and Report Suspected Animal Cruelty in Massachusetts.

This manual was at the center of Dr. Schettino’s presentation.

“The manual provides guidance for veterinarians to establish protocols at clinics and practices, and help them really understand why it’s so important to report animal cruelty – even though it’s already mandated in Massachusetts,” said Dr. Schettino during the webinar presentation.

Veterinarians are at the forefront of every day animal care, and the manual covers all aspects of animal cruelty including: veterinarian’s roles and responsibilities and documentation and reporting procedures; overviews of the “link” between animal abuse and human abuse, and current Massachusetts law.

In 2019, ARL also partnered with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) Division of Professional Licensure, to include the information during the mandated annual license renewal process for every veterinarian in the Commonwealth.

A Leader in Training

Dr. Schettino’s webinar is just the latest in ARL’s efforts to train those who are in the greatest position to identify and take proper actions to ensure both the safety of the animal and perhaps other members of the household who may also be subjected to violence and abuse.

Over the past year, ARL has conducted training sessions with the Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, dozens of local Animal Control Officers, and the Massachusetts Disabilities Commission.

ARL is often the first to respond in instances of animal cruelty or abuse, but we cannot do it alone. Ongoing training for those in law enforcement and other disciplines are vital to combat abuse and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.


ARL Assists Winchendon ACO Reunite 22-Year-Old Cat with Owners

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department had the pleasure of assisting Winchendon, MA, Animal Control in a heart-warming reunion between a curious 22-year-old cat, and her family.

This reunion may not have been possible if the family had not filed a missing pet report.

Earlier in the week, the cat, named Tips, was found along a main road in the town that borders New Hampshire, and taken into the care of Winchendon Animal Control Officer Suzie Kowaleski, who then contacted ARL for assistance.

ARL brought Tips to its Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, where the cat received a thorough veterinary exam, blood work, as well as some medication and ointments.

Other than typical signs of advanced age, Tips had no injuries, was in good spirits, friendly, and was clearly being missed by someone.

Tips wasn’t microchipped, however, her family had fortunately filed a lost report, making this reunion possible.

Welcome Home

Cats, no matter their age, are naturally curious and it seemed that Tips simply slipped out the door and was on her own for several days.

Tips’ family had actually seen her born and had cared for her ever since and was understandably worried that the 22-year-old cat was out in the world on her own.

Her family was absolutely thrilled to have her home, and ARL is proud to have played a small role in caring for the animal and reuniting Tips with her family.

ARL thanks Winchendon ACO Suzie Kowaleski and everyone involved for making this happy ending possible!

If A Pet Goes Missing

The American Humane Association estimates that 1 out of every 3 pets will go missing at some point in their lifetime.

A shocking statistic for sure, but remember, if your animal has gone missing, there are many resources available, including ARL, to help locate your beloved pet.

Filing a lost report with your local animal control, ARL, and other animal welfare organizations is a critical first step.

For other tips on how to handle a missing pet situation, click here.


Rescued Golden Pheasant Finally Finds a Home

“Buckbeak” spent 272 days at ARL

In September 2019, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department seized two dozen animals from horrific, unsanitary conditions at a Middleboro commercial breeding facility.

“Buckbeak”, a young golden pheasant, was rescued from the same property several months earlier.

Buckbeak quickly made himself at home in ARL’s iconic barn, located at the Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, and over a series of weeks was tested for several avian diseases, and was banded for identification purposes.

While extremely beautiful, golden pheasants are not native to Massachusetts.

They can however be kept as pets – but only by obtaining a permit from the MA Department of Fisheries and Wildlife which is required to be renewed annually.

Along with a permit, potential adopters also needed a secure enclosure, as Buckbeak is able to fly.

Unfortunately, these circumstances kept the golden pheasant at ARL for nearly nine months.

 A Perfect Match

This past week, ARL received an inquiry from a person who not only had a permit and a perfect setup, but was also caring for another pheasant!

After 272 days in the care of ARL, Buckbeak is now in the company of a female pheasant and enjoying his forever home!

Caring for Livestock

ARL’s livestock population is constantly changing.

From goats, pigs, horses, to roosters, pigeons and of course pheasants, ARL provides more than a temporary shelter for these animals – ARL gives these animals another chance at life.

We encourage anyone with the passion and capacity to care for livestock to check our website often to find your next barnyard friend!


Press Release: ARL Assists in Wellesley Beaver Rescue

Beaver spotted in same position along the Charles River for 4 days

Shortly after noon today, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services assisted Wellesley Animal Control in rescuing a distressed beaver at the Cordingly Dam Fish Passage along the Charles River.

The beaver had reportedly been seen in the same spot below a footbridge over the dam since Sunday, and Wellesley Animal Control had received countless calls from concerned residents.

For video of this rescue click here!

With the animal right at the edge of the rushing water and approximately 15 feet below a ridge, it was a precarious and potentially dangerous position to be in for both the beaver and ARL’s Field Services team.

With a throng of onlookers watching from the footbridge above, agents, armed with two nets, were able to corral the beaver into one net while covering him with the other, and then slowly raised the animal to the surface of the ledge.

Beavers typically are not very cooperative in rescue situations, however, once the beaver was on the surface, ARL’s team was able to coax the beaver into a carrier and then transport him to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

The animal did not appear to be injured in any way, however he’s likely malnourished given the fact that he remained in the same spot for several days and was seemingly too weak to swim.

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 in cases like the beaver, will actively assist in rescue; 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.


An Amazing Transformation

Olive, seized in law enforcement investigation, finds her forever home

When we first met Olive in September 2019, she had just been rescued along with 18 other Cane Corsos as the result of an Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) law enforcement case.

Back then she was known only as MD46.

Like the majority of the animals seized from the unsanitary conditions at the Middleboro, MA breeding kennel, Olive was terrified at the world beyond her kennel and it was clear the days and weeks ahead would be challenging.

However, nearly six months later, Olive has continuously shown her resilience, and her amazing transformation has come full circle, as she recently found her forever home!

A Slow Process

For Olive, ARL’s shelter staff and volunteers immediately went to work, providing daily encouragement and enrichment, and slowly began introducing her to new things like outdoor walks and playtime.

At first these activities would be short, and she would quickly retreat to the more familiar and self-imposed sanctuary of her kennel.

But as the days and weeks passed, more and more Olive was enjoying the time spent outdoors (highlighted by sudden bursts of the zoomies in Brewster’s outdoor paddock) and her once sad and sullen expression was replaced with joy and happiness.

Going Home

It did take a bit of time to find the right match for Olive, but when she met her new owner, the connection was instantaneous.

Olive is now enjoying a quiet life in Western Massachusetts and everyone who worked with Olive was thrilled when her adoption was finalized.

The Importance of Enrichment

For Olive and her fellow Cane Corsos, they came to ARL after living sheltered and unhappy lives.

ARL’s behavioral staff was steadfast in ensuring that these animals received the love, attention, and encouragement to help them break free of their previous circumstances in order for them to thrive.

Olive is just one example of the incredible work that goes into helping thousands of animals overcome adversity and find loving homes each and every year.

Congratulations to Olive and her new owner!


Press Release: As Temperatures Drop, Be on Lookout for Homeless Cats

Despite relatively mild daytime temperatures in recent weeks, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has still seen several cases of homeless cats winding up in some curious places while trying to escape the nighttime chill.

With colder air moving in for the upcoming weekend, ARL is reminding residents to keep an eye out for stray animals, particularly community cats, who may be seeking shelter from the storm.

Recent cases include a stray cat worming its way into the basement of a multifamily home in Dorchester, and a mom and kittens found under a house in Roxbury.

Eight-week-old Katrina was found with her mom and litter mates underneath a home in Roxbury.

Along with the aforementioned places, stray cats may find window wells, space underneath porches, backyard woodpiles, sheds, even the engine compartments of vehicles to get out of the cold.

If you spot a stray animal looking for shelter, you’re urged to contact local animal control, or ARL’s Field Services Department for assistance.

DIY Community Cat Shelter

If you live in an area where community cats are prevalent, you can provide temporary shelter by building a DIY community cat shelter. It’s cheap, easy, and could offer an animal a respite from the cold – for directions on how to build click here!

ARL Community Cat Initiative

With approximately 700,000 community cats living throughout Massachusetts, ARL launched its Community Cat Initiative in 2018, and has already helped thousands of these animals in a variety of ways. For more information about the initiative click here.

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’s First Cat in Tree Rescue of 2020

On a raw and blustery day late last week in Dorchester, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department recorded its first cat-in-tree rescue of the New Year.

Midnight had been perched approximately 25 feet up in the tree for four days in her backyard, and with sub-freezing temperatures persisting, immediate action needed to be taken to get the cat safely out of the tree.

Three Field Service agents responded to the scene and after assessing the situation, scaled the tree and successfully rescued Midnight.

Despite being in the tree for four days, Midnight was not harmed and according to his owner Tasha, was thrilled to be on the ground and back indoors.

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.