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ARL President Testifies at State House in Support of Animal Protection Legislation

Proposed Legislation Would Have Wide-Ranging Impacts

This week Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) President Mary Nee and Law Enforcement Lead Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal appeared in front of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government at the Massachusetts State House, urging further discussion and ultimate passage of several important pieces of animal protection legislation.

The Bills

S. 1159 and H. 2419 — An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II), builds upon the original PAWS Act of 2014, and incorporates a number of recommendations made by the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force — which was born out of the PAWS Act.

PAWS II has many elements, from prohibiting discrimination against dog breeds, to mandating cross-reporting between human and animal service agencies. President Nee emphasized the latter to the committee.

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ARL President Mary Nee addresses Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.

“I believe this bill is an important tool for human service investigators,” Nee said. “Often victims are reluctant to speak about abuse directed at them but are more comfortable talking about their pets. In this way, it may facilitate the discussion about the larger violence or exploitation happening. Animal abuse is often the red flag warning sign of concurrent and future violence and the earlier professionals can intervene, the higher the rate of success for both the victims and the animals.”

To read President Nee’s entire statement click here.

S. 1145 and H. 416 — An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals, expands current law against cruel conditions to include farm animals. This proposal stems directly from the 2016 Westport animal cruelty case, which involved 1,400 animals. ARL was at the forefront of the coordinated rescue effort and law enforcement investigation.

“S. 1145 and H. 416 allows humane law enforcement to tackle misconceptions head-on by giving them and animal control officers an additional tool, and the people who own the animals a possible solution,” Nee said.

To read President Nee’s entire statement click here.

S. 1155 and H. 1080 — An Act relating to puppies & kittens also received a large amount of attention during this week’s hearing, and the bill would protect puppies, kittens, and consumers in a number of ways:

  1. Prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age;
  2. Improve the “puppy lemon law” to better protect and provide recourse for families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy or kitten;
  3. Require the promulgation of rules and regulations for certain Massachusetts breeders;
  4. Ensure that Massachusetts pets at pet shops only sell puppies and kittens from breeders who adhere to minimum animal health and welfare standards.

The Importance of Advocacy

Part of being a Champion for Animals means being a voice for animals. ARL will continue to support legislation that improves the protection, safety, and well-being of animals, and oppose reforms that will endanger the welfare of animals in Massachusetts. Check back often for updates on the legislative process!


Thank You Thursday: From Stray, to Surgery, to Adopted!

ARL’s Cape Cod Branch Gets Helping Hand from Veterinary Partner

In late August, “Gus” was transferred to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center from Friends of Carver Animals. It’s estimated that Gus had been dumped into a feral colony about 10 years ago, and when he was recently trapped and neutered, because he was so friendly, it was decided he should be placed into a loving home, not returned to the colony.

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Gus following cleft palate repair.

When examined by ARL veterinary staff, it was noted that Gus had a cleft palate that was likely the result of an old injury rather than congenital, as well as a fractured upper canine tooth. A cleft palate for a cat can cause problems eating and swallowing, as well as respiratory complications.

 

Needing surgery, ARL teamed with Eastham Veterinary Hospital, with Dr. John Kelly performing the cleft palate repair, while extracting five teeth as well. Gus was returned to ARL to recover and was fed canned cat food diluted with water, and treated with antibiotics to prevent infection. Gus recovered quickly, and has since been adopted!

In one month, Gus went from a stray, to a rescue, to a patient, and finally to adopted! ARL wants to thank Eastham Veterinary Hospital for its partnership, and for giving Gus the chance to find a forever home.


Adopt a Shelter Dog Month: Why Adopt?

Special Study Highlights Why People Adopt Rescue Animals

It goes without saying, but we at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) love each and every rescue animal that comes through our doors. But what motivates the general public to adopt shelter animals, and why would they recommend adoption to others? A recently published study sheds some light on those questions.

The survey study of 1,400 people was conducted by the Shelter Pet Project, an Ad Council public service advertising campaign promoting pet adoption; and was funded by Maddie’s Fund and ARL national partner the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

That face and a handshake, how could you say no? Apollo was adopted this past spring.

That face and a handshake, how could you say no? Apollo was adopted this past spring.

 

So what motivates an adopter?

  •         Adopting a rescue animal is the right thing to do. According to this study, adopters feel good about saving a life and finding a companion in the process. A number of respondents also said adopting a rescue animal “saved them.”
  •         Joining a special group. One-third of respondents loved the idea of joining the passionate and special community of shelter-pet adopters.
  •         Great experience. This is something we hear a lot of at ARL. Survey respondents felt the adoption process was smooth, things were organized, and staff was knowledgeable. One-third said the process was fun!

Recommending adoption to others

  •         71 percent of respondents passionately recommend shelter/rescue animals — compared to 41 percent of those acquiring an animal from a breeder, and 21 percent acquiring from a pet store.
  •         Respondents felt adoption evokes a strong sense of pride, kindness and social responsibility to a degree not displayed among the breeder and pet store segments.

The complete study can be read here.

Saving Lives

When you adopt, you are giving your new companion a second chance, and are saving two lives — the animal you adopt, and the one that takes its place in our shelter. Create your own success story and visit ARL’s Boston, Brewster, or Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers today!


How Maybelle the Pot-Bellied Pig Got Her Groove Back

A Much-Anticipated Weigh-In

You may remember Maybelle. The obese one-year-old pot-bellied pig has been in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) since May and the main goal for her rehabilitation has been simple — to lose weight. Maybelle has made tremendous progress during the summer months, and this week ARL staff decided it was time to get her on a scale to really see how much weight she has lost.

Maybelle came to ARL weighing 196 pounds, but is now down to about 175!

Twenty pounds may not seem like a lot, but for Maybelle’s overall status, losing 20 pounds has been transformative.

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A tale of two pigs.

Strutting Her Stuff

Pigs are highly intelligent animals, and when Maybelle arrived at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, she was very depressed. Her depression stemmed from not only her obesity, but her lack of mobility and extreme discomfort. However over the last few months, and particularly in the past few weeks, we have seen a remarkable change.

Maybelle has made ARL’s iconic Dedham barn into her own personal walking track. She’s moving freely and on the day she was weighed, she put on quite a show for staff, volunteers, and media members in attendance. While showing off her mobility, she was playful, happy, and interactive, which is a great sign moving forward. Click here to see video of Maybelle strutting her stuff!

While continuing her weight-loss program, Maybelle is currently up for adoption, however any potential adopter would have to be able to provide a sufficient environment to house a pig, and be committed to her continued rehabilitation.

Long-Term Commitment

Despite the weight-loss, Maybelle still has a ways to go. She should weigh somewhere between 120-130 pounds, so her diet of six small meals a day will continue, and ARL staff and volunteers will give this famous pig all the support and encouragement she needs until the goal is reached. ARL’s veterinary team estimated that Maybelle’s weight-loss will take nine months to a year to complete, so stay tuned for updates on her progress!


A-List Vote Proclaims ARL as Best Local Charity — Again!

ARL Claims Top Spot for Fourth Time

The Boston A-List, presented by WGBH, represents the best that the City of Boston can offer in 189 different categories, and once again the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has been chosen as Best Local Charity!

ARL also claimed the title of Best Local Charity in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Nearly 32,700 online votes were tabulated to determine the winners, and for ARL, the A-List acknowledgement is a tribute to the important work that’s being done every day by ARL’s staff and volunteers to help animals in need.

“I am very proud of all the volunteers and staff whose compassionate care of animals was recognized by the Boston A-List,” said ARL President Mary Nee. “Their efforts, along with the thousands of donors who make this work possible, reached nearly 18,000 animals in 2016. We are all, animals and the people that love then, a better community because of this.”

Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), the clinic with a mission, claimed the number two spot in the Best Veterinarians category for the 2017 Boston A-List, this after being named number one in 2014 and 2016.

To everyone who voted to support ARL and its mission, we THANK YOU!


ARL Transports 60 Kittens from Overcrowded Florida Rescue Organization

“Sunshine Kitties” Travel in Style

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) rescued 60 kittens from a Palm Beach, Florida rescue organization, an operation that had been several months in the making.

What made this transport unique? Besides the sheer number of kittens, these felines traveled in style — aboard a Falcon 900 private jet! It’s the third Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League to the Northeast since June, and the flights have been made possible through that organization’s donors.

ARL joined other organizations at Logan International Airport to pick up the jet-setting kitties, and begin finding them loving homes. Click here to see video of the transport!

Why Transport?

Across the Commonwealth there’s an estimated 700,000 cats that are roaming free, 70,000 in Boston alone. ARL is the first animal welfare organization in Massachusetts to hire a dedicated rescue agent to work specifically with community cats. Deploying a trap-neuter-return (TNR) strategy, ARL is working to decrease the numbers of homeless cats, and to date the program has rescued more than 250 kittens and cats.

Despite these ongoing efforts, there is still a high demand for kittens, due to the success and availability of affordable spay and neuter programs, such as ARL’s Spay Waggin’. Other areas of the country, including Palm Beach, FL, are inundated with animals and need to transport to organizations like ARL to reduce their numbers and allow them to help more animals in need.

This year alone, ARL will transport an estimated 400-500 animals!

Ready to go Home

Per state mandate, the kittens were placed in isolation for 48 hours, were evaluated medically, and are now available for adoption! The kittens will be divided between ARL’s Boston, Brewster and Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers. Stop by today, or check our adoption page to find your perfect match!


Animal Hoarding: 10 Days, 80 Animals

Please Consider Helping Animals in Need

In the past two weeks, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has rescued 80 cats and dogs from hoarding situations in the central and southern parts of Massachusetts.

ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, and we have the expertise needed to address the complexities of animal hoarding BUT we are only able to answer the call for help because of YOU.

And these animals desperately need you now.

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Just two of the nearly 50 cats removed from a recent hoarding situation.

Animals removed from hoarding situations face a number of challenges, including severe health and behavioral issues. By donating today you will help:

  • Support our special investigations and on-going rescue efforts
  • Provide sanctuary for the sudden influx of animals
  • Provide much needed medical care (wellness exams, treatment for respiratory infections and zoonotic disease, dental procedures)
  • Help rehabilitate and prepare these animals for adoption

Please consider making a gift today to support these animals and the on-going work that’s being done by ARL to combat animal hoarding and rescue animals from unhealthy and hazardous conditions.

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is here to help, and if you know of or suspect a hoarding situation you can call 617-226-5610 or email cruelty@arlboston.org.

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Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) Removes 25 Dogs from Hoarding Situation

Animal abuse is cruel – but it is not always intentional – It can be a sign or product of Human illness

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is committed to preventing animal cruelty, neglect and suffering in Massachusetts. This is achieved in numerous forms: from citations and filing animal cruelty charges, to working with, and educating pet owners. The latter played a large role during a recent hoarding incident.

Assisting local officials, ARL Law Enforcement recently removed 25 dogs from a Central Massachusetts property, which are now in the care of ARL. DUE TO THE SENSITIVE NATURE OF THE CASE, ARL WILL NOT BE RELEASING THE LOCATION OR NAMES OF THE PARTIES INVOLVED.

In this particular case, there were no signs of intentional or egregious levels of neglect or abuse; due to extenuating circumstances the animal owners were simply overwhelmed.

Hoarding situations are delicate, and ARL’s law enforcement officers recognize that compassion must be given to both the animal and human players involved.

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One of 25 dogs removed from hoarding situation.

“Any time we have a hoarding case, we are cognizant to both the animal concentration and the owner awareness,” said Darleen Wood, ARL’s Associate Director of Law Enforcement. “As much as we consider the mental and emotional state of each animal, we duplicate this concern for the animal owner. We do not approach any of these cases with judgement or insolence and each case is unique and each animal owner requires individualistic services which could include elderly, veterans or addiction services.”

Along with contacting human service agencies, ARL Law Enforcement has also coordinated an effort to help the animal owners clean up their property in order to retain ownership of several dogs.

Animal Hoarding Explained

Animal hoarding is a serious, yet under-recognized community issue in Massachusetts that is responsible for extensive animal suffering. It can often be associated with adult self-neglect and/or mental illness, and animal hoarding can also put children, the elderly, dependent adults, property, and public health at risk. Unfortunately, the hoarding situations that ARL encounters are becoming more frequent, and increasingly complex.

Animal hoarders typically fall into one of the three following groups:

  1. Overwhelmed caregivers are often well-intentioned in their behavior and experience a steady decline in animal caretaking ability due to changes in financial or medical circumstances.
  2. Rescue hoarders are those who acquire animals due to their strong sense of mission to save animals from death or other circumstance and will not seek the assistance of animal welfare agencies or authorities.
  3. Exploiter hoarders acquire animals to serve their own needs and lack guilt and remorse for the harm that their actions may cause animals or other humans.

The four main characteristics of animal hoarding are:

  1. Failure to provide minimal standards of sanitation, space, nutrition, and veterinary care for animals.
  2. Inability to recognize the effects of this failure on the welfare of the animals, humans in the household, and environment.
  3. Obsessive attempts to accumulate/maintain a collection of animals in the face of progressively deteriorating conditions.
  4. Denial or minimization of problems and living conditions for people and animals.

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is here to help, and if you know of or suspect a hoarding situation you can call 617-226-5610 or email cruelty@arlboston.org.

Support ARL’s Law Enforcement Efforts

In 2016, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department inspected nearly 2,300 kennels, farms and pet shops; assisted 151 local police and state agencies; prosecuted 68 individuals involved or accused of animal cruelty/neglect; and was the lead agency on the Northeast’s largest animal cruelty case in Westport, MA, which involved more than 1,400 animals.

ARL does receive any government funding and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to continue our important work. Please donate today to help animals in need!


ARL Receives Second Puerto Rico Puppy Transport

“Satos” in Need of Good Homes

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) received its second transport of puppies from All Sato Rescue, a Puerto Rico-based rescue organization.

Ten adorable and energetic mixed-breed pups are now in the process of being evaluated medically, and will soon be available for adoption.

“Sato” is a Puerto Rican slang term for a mixed-breed dog — or mutt. Puerto Rico has an immense population of homeless dogs, nearly 100,000 according to some estimates, and All Sato Rescue is dedicated to getting these dogs off the streets and into loving homes. A lack of spay and neuter programs and economic hardship are just some of the reasons that account for the staggering number of homeless animals on the island. The 10 puppies which arrived this week are sure to be adopted quickly, and are sure to make wonderful pets.

Why Transport?

In the Northeast, affordable spay and neuter services, like ARL’s Spay Waggin’, are readily available, and animal welfare organizations like ARL have educated the public about the importance of having animals spayed or neutered. Given those efforts, there is a large demand for puppies. What makes transport programs like this so impactful is that it allows ARL to broaden its reach in helping animals in need, helps fill the demand for puppies, and allows organizations like All Sato Rescue to continue their important work.

Additionally, ARL also transports puppies from the Southern region of the United States, where there are also high numbers of homeless animals. This year alone ARL anticipates that more than 400 dogs will be transported to our shelters!

Saving Lives

The Animal Rescue League of Boston is an unwavering champion for animals in need, and remember that when you adopt you save not one but two lives — the animal you adopt, and the animal that can take its place. Whether it’s a puppy, adult dog, kitten, adult cat or small animal, ARL’s staff and volunteers at its Boston, Brewster or Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers are there to answer your questions to ensure that the life you save is the right animal for you and your family.

 


Spay Waggin’ Making a Difference on the South Coast

New Bedford Cat Organization Utilizing ARL Community-Based Services

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ made its usual monthly stop in New Bedford, setting up shop in front of Habitats for Cats. The nonprofit is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and has been utilizing ARL’s Spay Waggin’ for nearly a decade.

On this day upwards of 36 cats were spayed or neutered, some of which will be returned to feral colonies, while others will be put up for adoption. For the organization who specializes in trap-neuter-return or TNR, the Spay Waggin’, which offers low-cost spay and neuter services, has helped the organization tremendously in shrinking feral cat colonies and finding adoptable cats good homes.

“Without the Spay Waggin’ we couldn’t do what we do,” said Ginny McMahon-Higgins, a member of Habitat for Cats’ board. “Having ARL come to the site is a huge help, otherwise we’d have to transport our cats, and cost-wise it’s something we wouldn’t be able to do.”

“I find it very rewarding to be working with an animal welfare organization located in an area with a large population of community cats in need,” said Dr. Kate Gollon, ARL Shelter Veterinarian.  “Community cats — both feral and stray — are the primary contributors of kitten intakes into shelters. Having ongoing, active TNR programs in neighborhoods with large populations of community cats is essential in reducing shelter populations and improve individual cat welfare. ARL’s Spay Waggin’ working with Habitat for Cats has allowed these efforts to continue.”

Along with utilizing the Spay Waggin’, Habitat for Cats has also been promoting Healthy Moms, Happy Litters, a new community-based program which provides complimentary assistance to local families and their pets to help prevent animal homelessness, suffering, and neglect.

“They (ARL) are out in the community, providing services that more people should be taking advantage of,” McMahon-Higgins said. “The more people who know these services exist, the less animals there are on the streets, and that’s the goal.”

The vision of ARL is that animals are healthy in the communities where they live. Having active programs like the Spay Waggin’ and Healthy Moms, Happy Litters, gets ARL out into the communities we serve, and are certainly generating results.

“New Bedford is a working class area, and because of financial constraints, we have historically seen a drastic number of homeless animals,” McMahon-Higgins said. “Community cats are still an issue, however with the help of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, we have made significant progress in this area.”

Here to Help

If getting your animal spayed or neutered is cost-prohibitive, ARL is here to help. The Spay Waggin’ provides low cost, high-quality spay/neuter services along the South Shore, South Coast, and Cape Cod. Services also include a brief veterinary exam, vaccinations, treatment for fleas, ear mites and intestinal parasites, and a nail trim. Click here to see a complete list of services, costs, scheduled stops, and to make an appointment.