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Category: Rescue
Abandoned Pitbull to Undergo Complex Heart Procedure

Starved, abandoned, and now facing a complex heart procedure.

For Gunner, this nine-month-old Pitbull-type dog has already had to overcome many things in his young life and his upcoming surgery will be his biggest challenge.

Gunner suffers from Pulmonic Stenosis – a genetic heart defect that restricts blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

Since coming to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in September after being found abandoned on a rural road in Bellingham, shelter veterinary staff have conducted exams, diagnostic testing, external consults – all in an effort to decide the best course of action.

ARL believes that every animal deserves the chance to enjoy a happy and healthy life, and for Gunner, that means undergoing a Balloon Valvuloplasty (BV) procedure.

During the BV procedure, a specialized balloon catheter will be placed across the stenotic pulmonic valve and inflated to create a larger opening to allow better blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

Like any surgery there are risks, however with such a severe case of Pulmonic Stenosis, doing nothing is a greater risk.

“Without surgery, Gunner would be at-risk for syncope (fainting due to lack of oxygen and nutrients provided to the brain by blood flow), exercise intolerance, congestive heart failure, and in very rare cases sudden death” said ARL shelter veterinarian Dr. Emily Forline.

Gunner will undergo surgery this week, and after recovering from the procedure, will be available for adoption – just in time for the holidays!

Extraordinary Care

With routine medical care, diagnostic testing, surgery, follow-up-care and rehabilitation, the cost of correcting Gunner’s heart problem is an expensive endeavor. However, Gunner is just one example of the extraordinary care ARL’s shelter medicine staff provides to every animal who comes into our care.

This level of care is not possible without your support. ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals like you to make a difference, and in Gunner’s case – save a life.

Please consider donating today to help Gunner and other animals like him.

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ARL Removes 29 Cats from Overcrowding Situation

A recent welfare check at a Bristol County home by local police led to the removal of 29 cats by the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department.

Due to the high levels of ammonia in the home and safety concerns, local health officials would not allow ARL Law Enforcement and Field Services Departments to enter the dwelling without respirators with the highest-filtration-level charcoal filters to protect on-site workers.

With the help of local animal control officers, the 29 cats were removed from the home in about four hours, and transported to ARL’s Dedham and Boston Animal Care and Adoption Centers for evaluation and treatment.

The local building inspector and board of health condemned the home.

On the Mend

The majority of cats from this situation were socialized and friendly, and some have already found forever homes.

There were however, several animals with medical concerns that are commonly associated with animal overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

A number of cats are suffering from upper respiratory infections, several had fleas and dry skin, and one cat required an eye to be removed.

As the health of these animals improves, they will be available for adoption once they are medically cleared.

ARL is Ready to Help

From rescuing, rehabilitating, and adoption, ARL is always ready to help animals like these 29 cats and to give them a second chance.

However, we cannot do it alone.

ARL receives no government grants or public funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals like you to make our important work possible.

Please join us by supporting ARL’s mission to keep animals safe and healthy in habitats and homes.

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Eversource Assists in Tricky Roslindale Rescue Situation

Cat in tree rescues are like snowflakes – no two are ever the same.

For a cat stuck 30 feet up in a tree in Roslindale this past week, the challenge for the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department was power lines.

ARL responded shortly after a passerby noticed the cat meowing from the tree along Ramsdell Avenue in Roslindale, and while ARL field agents were able to coax the cat down to about 20 feet, the power lines going through the tree from two sides made it unsafe to climb.

Calling on Eversource for assistance, the power company dispatched a bucket truck, which was used to safely and successfully remove the cat from the tree.

Down safely, the cat now named Maple (Maple tree – get it?) was transferred to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for treatment.

The six-month-old cat is healthy and friendly, but did not have a microchip, so at this point it’s unknown if the cat is a stray or a pet that lost its way. ARL is currently coordinating with other organizations and checking lost reports to see if Maple has been reported missing.

ARL wishes to thank Eversource for their quick response and assistance in getting Maple out of his difficult situation!

Click here for tips on what to do should your pet go missing!

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 Caring for Mom and Puppies Involved in Animal Cruelty Investigation

ARL Law Enforcement Working with New Bedford Police

This past week, a video surfaced on social media showing a man in New Bedford allegedly hitting a dog with an unknown object.

New Bedford Police and Animal Control Departments responded and removed a female dog and her three puppies from the home and contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department for assistance.

Female dog from New Bedford settling in at ARL.

ARL Law Enforcement then brought the animals to Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment facility in Walpole for X-rays and forensic exams.

Click here to see local media coverage of this story.

The following day the dogs were transferred to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for on-going care and shelter.

Despite their ordeal, the animals are doing well, but are NOT currently available for adoption and it is unknown when their status will change.

The New Bedford Police Department has filed animal cruelty charges against the suspect in the video and are continuing to investigate the matter. ARL Law Enforcement has also made itself available to assist in the investigative process in any way needed.

Witness Animal Cruelty? Dial 9-1-1 Immediately

ARL Law Enforcement encourages anyone who suspects animal cruelty, neglect, or abuse to contact ARL at (617) 426-9170 or cruelty@arlboston.org to file a report. However, in an emergency situation, anyone who witnesses these unspeakable acts against an animal should dial 9-1-1 immediately.


ARL, Middleboro Police Seize Animals at Kennel Facility

Animals found living in inhumane, unsanitary conditions

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, in conjunction with Middleboro Police and Animal Control Departments, recently executed a search warrant at a commercial kennel facility to inspect and seize animals from the property.

Most of the 24 animals removed were young adult Cane Corso and Dogo Argentino dogs, however, a peacock, donkey, ducks and a chicken were seized as well.

The animals were found living in poorly ventilated, unsanitary, cruel and dangerous conditions. They have been transported to ARL’s Dedham, Boston and Brewster, as well as municipal facilities in Middleboro, Auburn, Mansfield, Norton, and Framingham. The animals are friendly and will undergo ongoing medical care and behavioral evaluations before being made available for adoption.

The entire operation took approximately 12 hours, and ARL would like to thank the Middleboro Police, Animal Control and our partner shelters who assisted in rescuing these animals from their cycle of neglect.

Your 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

Click here to make a life-saving gift today. 

This is an on-going investigation, however, potential charges may be pending at the conclusion of the investigative process.

This story will be updated as further details emerge.


Press Release: Good Samaritan Helps ARL Save Feline’s Life

‘Space Ghost’ likely hit by car, found unresponsive

This past week, a facilities worker in Jamaica Plain made a phone call to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) that literally saved a cat’s life.

The Good Samaritan found the 2-year-old Snowshoe cat named Space Ghost, by an outdoor staircase, lying unresponsive in a pool of blood. Several onlookers stated that the cat had been hit by a car.

The facilities worker called ARL Field Services, who immediately responded to the scene and were able coax the hurting, but hungry, cat into a carrier with food. Space Ghost was then transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for emergency medical treatment.

Space Ghost is happy, playful and comfortable since his emergency procedure at ARL.

The cat was thin, dehydrated, severely muscle wasted, and quiet. He also had outward physical injuries including scabbing, several broken toenails, and a fractured tooth. However, it was his internal injuries that were concerning.

X-rays revealed foreign matter in his stomach and colon, bruised lungs and severe pneumothorax (air in the chest outside the lungs).

Throughout an entire day, ARL shelter medicine staff tapped Space Ghost’s chest to remove more than 100mL of air, which in turn made the cat much more comfortable. Since this procedure, Space Ghost has made remarkable strides.

ARL is thankful to the Good Samaritan for their quick actions to save the life of this animal. ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts able to respond to this type of emergency situation in the field, and the organization looks forward to getting Space Ghost healthy and into a loving home.

**Update 10/9/19 at 3:00 PM: Space Ghost has been adopted!**

Ready to Respond

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).

In 2018, Field Services assisted 1,503 animals.

To reach ARL Field Services, call (617) 426-9170 and press option 1.


ARL Field Services Conducts Rappelling Training

Rescue Situation Simulated in Quincy Quarries

For any technical rescue situation, two things are paramount to success – teamwork and safety.

For these reasons, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department has been conducting weekly training for several months, and this past week the team tackled rappelling at a historic site just on the outskirts of Boston.

The Quincy Quarries, once the most prominent source of granite in the country and even providing stone for the Bunker Hill Monument, offers the perfect terrain and surroundings for training; with uneven hiking trails, thick woods and plenty of rock faces for rappelling.

Once the team hiked into the woods carrying heavy equipment, it was time to put teamwork and safety to the test.

Before scaling the 35-foot rock face, ARL’s most experienced Field Services agent led the team in an extensive session of getting familiar with climbing gear, knowing what individual responsibilities would be for every climbing line, learning to work in unison, and participating in a 35-foot confidence rappel.

Once this was completed, the team simulated a rescue situation where participation from every team member was essential.

The exercise involved hauling a team member (in this case an 80-pound dog mannequin named Fetch) from the quarry floor back to the top. One team member manned the belay line, another on the haul line, and two members on a pulley system to bring the mannequin up quickly.

While team members were excited to experience rappelling, everyone involved understood that in a real-world situation, the rescuer scaling down would be hauling a carrier, equipment and a distressed or injured animal.

In order to get the rescuer back to safety and the animal the help it needs, teamwork is crucial to ensuring a successful rescue.

With this exercise successfully completed, Field Services will continue its training to be able to assist in endless scenarios where technical rescue skills can mean the difference between life and death for an animal in need.

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.


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.