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Halloween Pet Safety Tips for a Spook-Free Holiday

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) share important tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween season.

Boston Terrier in Halloween costume

Tip: If it’s your pet’s first time wearing a costume this Halloween, spend a few days before the big holiday getting them acclimated to wearing it. Keep in mind, some pets are just not fans of wearing costumes and would much rather wear a festive collar or bandanna instead.

With the month of October almost half over, Halloween 2018 is right around the corner! You may be a fan of the spookiest time of year, but for your pet, this haunting holiday can be truly scary.

Not to worry though, enjoying the festivities and keeping your pets safe is easier than you think – Follow these 3 tips to ensure your pet has a spook-free Halloween this season:

1. Keep your pets inside. The Halloween season often brings out tricksters who might taunt or harm an animal left outdoors. It’s always a good idea to keep pets inside with proper, up-to-date identification. If your pet must be outdoors, be sure to keep them leashed and an eye on them at all times.

2. Stash the sweet treats. Chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Additionally, many candies and gums contain Xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets. Always keep chocolate and candies out of your pet’s reach.

3. Be careful with costumes. If you decide to dress your pet up for this festive holiday, costume safety is key. Keep these costume safety tips in mind:

  • Always supervise your pet while they’re wearing a costume.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits properly and does not restrict their movement.
  • Be cautious of loose or dangling pieces that pets could potentially choke on.
  • Ditch the masks or other accessories that could potentially make it difficult for your pet to breath or obstruct their vision.

No plans for Halloween? Spend the day getting to know some of our adoptable animals.

 


ARL Advocates for Banishment of Retail Sale of Dogs/Cats in Pet Shops

On Monday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined fellow animal welfare organizations to address the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure on two pieces of legislation that ARL is actively supporting.

The hearing chambers were standing room only, indicating the passion behind these bills.

The bills were part of a lengthy agenda at the Massachusetts State House, and address two important issues: the retail sale of animals at pet shops, and the inhumane practice of declawing.

For WFXT’s coverage of the hearing click here!

S.175 and H.800 – An Act Banning the Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Shops aims to cease the operation by pet stores of obtaining animals from “puppy mills” because they allow the cruelty at the mills to remain hidden from consumers.

“Plain and simple, where pet shops acquire their animals are inhumane,” stated Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services. “Although these breeding facilities are inspected by the USDA, the standards are extremely low and continually allow for this inhumane treatment.”

The legislation does not prevent consumers from acquiring a dog, cat, or rabbit from a responsible breeder or shelter or rescue organization. Further, it does not prohibit pet shops from partnering with shelters or rescues to provide animals in their store.

ARL also made public comment on S.169 – An Act Prohibiting Inhumane Feline Declawing.

This proposed bill would prohibit declawing as an elective procedure, simply for the purposes of convenience or to mitigate property destruction.

Under the proposed bill, declawing would only be allowed for “therapeutic purposes”. These would include addressing an existing or recurring infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in the claw that jeopardizes the cat’s health as a medical necessity.

Violations of the proposed bill would include fines upward of $2,500 for repeated offenses and the possibility of forfeiture of the animal as well.

ARL believes that declawing a healthy cat is not only inhumane, but may cause the cat a multitude of long-term medical issues.

“We (ARL) are opposed to these needless, elective surgeries which can and do cause unnecessary pain and discomfort that can affect the cat for its entire life,” Dr. Schettino testified.

Get Involved

Government is of course “of the people, by the people, and for the people” and you can have a direct impact on these important bills moving forward in the legislative process.

If you support these measures, contact your elected officials and urge them to further animal protection law in Massachusetts by supporting the proposed bills.

We encourage you to read ARL’s 2019-2020 legislative agenda. See what bills ARL supports and opposes and what you can do to make sure your voice is heard!


Video: ARL Conducts Recruit Training with Massachusetts State Police

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recently made a trip to the Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree, MA, to conduct Animal Cruelty training for the 171 members of the Massachusetts State Police 84th Recruit Training Troop.

ARL Director Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal and ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services Dr. Edward Schettino instructed these future troopers in a number of facets of animal cruelty.

These included how to recognize signs of animal abuse, existing animal cruelty laws, and how ARL and other animal welfare organizations can assist state and local police in investigating suspected cruelty cases.

“Our goal was to help them understand, first animal cruelty, what it is and how you identify animal cruelty,” said Dr. Schettino. “They are going to be the first responders to many situations.”

“We recognize that laws on the books not only protect people, they protect animals as well,” stated MSP Academy Commandant Det. Lt. Michael Baxter. “We want our troopers to be mindful of those laws, to be able to recognize animal cruelty and abuse.”

ARL is extremely honored to have had this incredible opportunity to instruct the next generation of MSP Troopers.


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.


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.


Boston Globe Subscribers – YOU Can Help ARL!

Vote for ARL as Your Favorite Non-profit

The GRANT allows Globe subscribers to show their support for non-profits by choosing which organizations get free advertising space in The Boston Globe. In February, subscribers began receiving their silver envelopes in the mail, and have until April 30 to either return the voucher, or submit their GRANT dollars online.

 

Maggie the pup

Submitting your GRANT voucher is an easy way to help animals like Maggie find their forever home!

 

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ARL does not receive any government or public funding and relies solely on the generosity of compassionate individuals to carry out our important work to help animals and communities in need. Free ad space in The Boston Globe would allow ARL to reach even more people about the mission, values, programs and services that make ARL an unwavering champion for animals in need.

If you haven’t sent in your voucher, you have until April 30 to do so, please remember to write in the “Animal Rescue League of Boston” as your non-profit choice and spread the word to your fellow Boston Globe subscribers. 


Home for the Holidays: Cuddy’s Story

In early November, Cuddy, a vocal and fluffy 13-year-old cat, was transferred to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center from Boston Animal Control.

For many senior animals, initially entering a shelter environment can be an overwhelming, fear-inducing experience – but for Cuddy, he was already familiar with ARL.

Originally adopted from ARL in 2010, Cuddy returned a little older, and a little wiser. Additionally, like many senior animals, Cuddy had advanced dental disease and had put on a few pounds.

While the majority of senior animals are surrendered due to an owner’s declining health or unfortunate passing, some, like Cuddy, are the victims of circumstance. Cuddy was surrendered to Boston Animal Control due to an eviction.

In a shelter environment, puppies and kittens typically get top billing because let’s face it – they’re adorable! The unfortunate reality is that sometimes senior animals can be overlooked simply based on their age.

At ARL, our Adoption Forward philosophy aims to match the adopter with the perfect animal – and for some senior animals better fit the person’s lifestyle or needs as their personalities are fully formed, they will be housebroken more often than not, and tend to be less active.

Cuddy Finds His Forever Home

Cuddy’s return stay at ARL was brief, as he was adopted in less than 3 weeks! His outgoing but relaxed personality was the perfect fit for his new owner, his adopter tells us, “Cuddy is a such a good boy – I awakened the morning after his very first night here to find him deep under the covers of my bed, nestled against my feet!” We’re beyond happy that Cuddy will be spending the holidays in his new forever home!

Help Even More Animals in 2019

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes – and our work is not possible without YOUR support! ARL does not receive any government grants or public funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals to support our shelter, rescue, law enforcement and community programs.

As we look ahead to 2019, ARL will continue to be at the forefront of confronting the root causes of cruelty and abuse, and to help animals in need throughout Massachusetts.

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You Saved over 700 Animals From Deplorable Conditions, Help Us Continue this Life-saving Work!

This summer, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department assisted in the rescue of over 700 cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and rodents involved in animal hoarding-type situations in the towns of Norwood, Whitman, Hingham, Taunton, Plymouth, and New Bedford.

Animal hoarding is a serious community problem that can also place children, the elderly, dependent adults, property, and public health at risk. These types of cases are complex and put an immense strain on our resources.

ARL is only able to answer the call for help because of YOU. And these animals like Bella the Bulldog, pictured above, desperately need you now.

I WILL SUPPORT THIS LIFE-SAVING WORK

Animals rescued from cases of extreme neglect face a number of behavioral challenged and health concerns, including respiratory distress, malnutrition, parasites, and other illness.

I urge you to consider joining the Champions Circle today and provide the critical support needed to respond to emergencies like these and provide the critical support needed to keep animals safe and healthy all year long.

Your gift each month will:

    • Support our special investigations and on-going rescue efforts
    • Treat the sudden influx of animals with the extensive medical care they urgently need
    • Help these animals heal from the trauma of neglect and help them find forever homes

Monthly support from Champions Circle donors provides animals with care and assistance when they need it most. Join before September 30 and receive a special Champions Circle Calendar*!

*Please allow 4 weeks for delivery


Guilty Verdict for New York Man Accused of Killing Two Puppies

Verdict marks third high-profile case in 2018 involving ARL to be closed

In November 2014, the bodies of two 20-week-old puppies were found in a dumpster at a gas station in Revere. The puppies had been placed in a black garbage bag and thrown away like common house trash.

Nearly 4 years later, Dominick Donovan, the man charged with killing the puppies has been found guilty of 6 counts of animal cruelty and was sentenced to four years in jail. A co-defendant in the case previously pleaded guilty and testified against Donovan. He will be sentenced in late August.

The verdict and sentencing was the end of a long, multi-jurisdictional and collaborative investigation, and is the third high-profile animal cruelty case that has come to a conclusion this year. All three cases have two things in common — a commitment for justice from prosecutors and law enforcement against those who abuse animals; and the assistance of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department.

For the Donovan case, ARL Law Enforcement Director Lt. Alan Borgal was vital in the inspection and shut down of the co-defendant’s unlicensed kennel in Lynn. With 40-plus years of experience in animal welfare, Lt. Borgal also extended assistance and advice when needed during all phases of the investigation, filing of charges and prosecution of this case.

ARL President Mary Nee and Director of Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal address the media following Radoslaw Czerkawski sentencing.

The first of 2018’s triad of victories was the now infamous Puppy Doe case. In late March, 35-year-old Radoslaw Czerkawski was found guilty of 12 counts of animal cruelty for the vicious cycle of torture and pain inflicted upon Puppy Doe, who needed to be humanely euthanized due to the extent of her injuries. Czerkawski will serve 8-10 years in prison for his crimes.

Also in March, a 33-year-old Salem man pleaded guilty to pending animal cruelty charges, during jury deliberations on a separate case. In January 2017, ARL Law Enforcement seized Luke, the defendant’s 11-month-old Pitbull, and the defendant was charged with animal cruelty for several documented instances of abuse. Luke needed extensive training and care and was with ARL for more than 500 days until he was adopted.

On the Front Lines

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department investigates crimes against animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect. We employ Special State Police Officers, with the authority to enforce animal protection laws; these dedicated officers work closely with local, state and federal agencies, prosecutors and animal control officers throughout the Commonwealth.

In 2017, ARL investigated cruelty and neglect cases involving 2,966 animals, resulting in 84 law enforcement prosecutions. DONATE NOW

 


Governor Baker and MSP Join ARL for Too Hot for Spot Demonstration

ARL’s fifth annual public awareness campaign

This past Friday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was joined by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, legislators, and the Massachusetts State Police Major Richard Ball to once again remind pet owners of the dangers of heat stroke for pets, particularly in hot cars.

It is the fifth year ARL has imparted the “Too Hot for Spot” summer pet safety message throughout the Commonwealth. ARL is spreading this message through social media, flyers, car magnets, media partnerships, and digital billboards throughout the state thanks to billboard space generously donated by MassDOT and IBEW Local 103.

The event took place in front of the Massachusetts State House, and included a demonstration with ARL’s stuffed dog “Spot” to show how quickly the inside of a car can heat up – even with seemingly mild temperatures and the windows cracked.

It was a perfect summer day with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees. In just 10 minutes the temperature inside ARL’s Rescue Services vehicle rose to well over 120 degrees. It’s important to remember that animals do not sweat like humans do, and cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature in an environment such as a hot car.

Massachusetts General Law Ch. 140, Section 174f was signed by Governor Baker in 2016, and prohibits confining an animal “in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme or cold”. The law also allows first responders and ordinary citizens to enter a vehicle to remove an animal if it’s deemed that its life is in imminent danger.

“While our hope is that no one ever has to rescue an animal from a hot car, we understand those situations unfortunately do arise and lives can depend on a quick response,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Educating the public on the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars and the measures they can take to rescue an animal in need is a key prevention tool, and I thank the ARL for once again launching this important campaign.”

“Our pets provide limitless love and companionship, and we must do everything to protect them from neglectful owners who time and time again have shown a cruel disregard for their welfare,” said State Senator Mark Montigny, lead sponsor of the 2016 law penalizing the leaving of pets in hot cars.

Despite having a law on the books in Massachusetts, unfortunately Animal Control Officers and law enforcement are still seeing a high number of incidents where animals are left in hot vehicle and enduring needless suffering.

“The Massachusetts State Police and all law enforcement agencies consider animal cruelty and neglect to be serious crimes and assist animal rights organizations in investigating such crimes aggressively,” said Major Richard Ball, commander of MSP Troop H. “We urge the public to be familiar with the law that allows them to take action to rescue an animal confined in a hot car, and to tell law enforcement about any type of animal abuse they see or suspect. If you see something, say something.”

“The ‘dog days’ of summer are the perfect time to keep the safety of our pets in mind,” said State Representative Lori Ehrlich. “I hope this law never has to be used, but everyone should know the dangers of a hot car and what to do if you see an animal in danger. Prevention is best so I’m grateful to the Animal Rescue League of Boston for raising awareness.”

Prevention is Key

ARL’s “Too Hot for Spot” campaign is focused on reminding the public that prevention is always the best solution. When temperatures rise, ARL urges pet owners to leave their animals at home.