Orphan Ducklings Find New Family

If at first you don’t succeed, ARL Rescue Services tries and tries again

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services rescued nine orphaned ducklings in Hyde Park at the Channing Elementary School. Once safe, the next mission was to find these fragile little ones a new family.

On the day of the initial rescue, ARL rescue agents made several attempts along local waterways to find and introduce the ducklings to duck families, hoping they would be welcomed. Unfortunately they were refused and it was back to the drawing board.

The following day, ARL tried an area at Spy Pond in Arlington, and discovered another duck family who needed help – a family of six (mom and five ducklings) were stuck behind a wall that the ducklings couldn’t navigate around.

Once helping the family around the wall, as they were ambling towards the water, agents slyly added the nine ducklings to the brood – lucky for us mama ducks can’t count! The brood swam off to a papa duck already on the water, and are now one big happy family.

Experience, patience and dedication led to this happy outcome!

A Vital Resource

In 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped nearly 3,000 animals. As the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue department, these services are only possible thanks to your support.


Massachusetts House Passes PAWS II

Historical animal protection legislation closer to becoming state law

This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed H.4565 – An Act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns (PAWS II). The measure passed unanimously 145-0.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston is thrilled with the outcome of this vote and offers heart-felt congratulations to the House of Representatives, particularly Representative Lou Kafka for sponsoring this bill, House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo for their continued efforts to further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth,” said ARL President Mary Nee.

The House and Senate will work together to prepare the bill for Governor Baker’s desk.

PAWS II is a far-reaching piece of animal protection legislation and includes the following provisions:

  • Ensure that property owners check vacant properties for abandoned animals
  • Prevent the automatic euthanasia of animal fighting victims
  • Prohibit the drowning of animals
  • Ensure efficient enforcement of animal control laws
  • Prohibit sexual contact with an animal

PAWS II extends from the original PAWS Act which was passed in 2014 on the heels of the horrific 2013 discovery of a tortured dog in Quincy who would forever be known as Puppy Doe.

Along with increasing cruelty penalties and strengthening Massachusetts law, the original PAWS Act also created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force. The Task Force examined areas of Massachusetts animal law that needed to be updated. PAWS II is the culmination of the task force’s work and recommendations.


Hurricane Season has Officially Begun

Make sure to include animals in any emergency plan

The 2018 hurricane season officially began on June 1, and it’s a perfect time to review and possibly revise the emergency plans for you, your family, and your pets – yes your pets.

Imagine: A storm on the horizon, people are scrambling in grocery stores for food, water and supplies, your neighbors are boarding up windows and making preparations, everyone around you is anxious – this is when your pets need you most and it’s up to you to ensure they’re safe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near-or-above-normal hurricane season that could include 10-16 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes.

The threat is there and here are some things to keep in mind when planning for an emergency:

1. Disaster Kit. Each animal in your household needs their own kit and should include at least a one-week supply of food and water, along with collapsible dishes; a week supply of medication; photographs, tags, and other identification; leash, harness, crate/carrier; toys, blankets and treats; poop bags, litter and litter tray
2. Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers. Many, but not all, evacuation centers allow pets. Check your area for not only evacuation centers, but pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, and even friends or relatives that would allow you and your pets to stay.
3. Make Sure Your Pet is Microchipped. It’s the simplest way to be reunited with your pet should you become separated. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure all contact information is correct and up to date.
4. The Buddy System. Connect with friends and neighbors to ensure that someone is willing to evacuate your pets if you are unable to.

Preparedness is responsible pet ownership! For more useful pet safety advice, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.


Dedication and Love Help Former Stray Find Forever Home

Dean Overcoming Behavioral Challenges

In September 2017, Dean, a two-year-old Pitbull-type mix, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) as a stray who was found in West Bridgewater, MA. This past week Dean found his forever home, and for this energetic boy, it’s been a long road home.

When Dean arrived at ARL, he was a whirlwind of energy and presented with a number of behavioral issues – jumpy/mouthy, severe over-arousal, inability to focus, and resource guarding. While friendly, working on these issues simultaneously was a tremendous challenge.

Over a period of days and weeks, Dean began to bond with staff and volunteers, which helped him find focus. From this foundation, Dean started learning basic commands, making eye contact, focusing on his handler, looking to humans for attention, among other things.

Additionally, because Dean was still having high-arousal issues, he was sent to a train and board facility for two weeks to intensely focus on training.

“When Dean came to ARL he knew nothing,” said ARL Animal Care Manager Carolyn Curran. “We saw the potential in him and knew that with time, dedication and love, we would be able to find him his perfect home.”

As weeks turned into months at the shelter, Dean persevered and continued to learn — staff’s hopes for him never wavered and knew the right situation for him would present itself eventually.

It took nearly eight months, but Dean has met his perfect match and is now enjoying his forever home!

Catering to Individual Needs

Every animal that comes to ARL receives not only a medical evaluation, but a behavioral evaluation as well — it’s through this process that an individualized plan is developed based on that animal’s specific needs. Dean is just one of the thousands of success stories ARL sees annually, and we cannot do our important work without your support!


Memorial Day Weekend Travel Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool and Calm

Things to keep in mind if you’re bringing your furry friend along for the ride

Memorial Day Weekend is here, and for many of us it means three things — Honoring our service men and women; spending time with friends and family and; travelling!

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to remind you that busy holiday weekends can be stressful and dangerous for your pup.

While temperatures during Memorial Day Weekend are expected to be seasonal, even when the outside temperature is 70 degrees, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes — even with the windows left partially opened! That’s why leaving your pet inside of a hot car is the most common cause of deadly heat stroke — it’s just TOO HOT FOR SPOT! Remember, pets don’t sweat like humans do and cannot cool their bodies efficiently in hot temperatures.

If you plan on taking your best friend along for the ride this weekend, here are some tips to help keep your dog safe:

  1. Never leave your pup alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. Not only are hot cars the most common cause for heat stroke, but leaving an animal inside a parked car is ILLEGAL in Massachusetts.
  2. Just like us, dogs need bathroom breaks! When driving long distances, be sure to periodically find a safe area to pull over to allow your pup to do their business, and get a little fresh water and perhaps some food.
  3. Always keep your canine on a leash or in a carrier if they must be outside. Find a shady spot with plenty of air flow and lots of fresh water.
  4. Keep them away from dangerous objects. Secure your pet a good distance from sparklers, BBQs, and pools. Additionally, there are many plants and flowers that can be toxic to dogs, so make sure your pet is under constant supervision while outdoors.
  5. Loud noises can be spooky! Things like fireworks and other loud noises can make a dog “fearfully aggressive,” so monitor your dog and keep them calm, especially around children.
  6. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals during holidays due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Make sure your contact information is current and always on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they be separated from you.

Prevention is responsible pet ownership. When in doubt, leave your pet at home in a quiet, cool room. Turn on a TV or radio to help distract from outside noises and leave them free to roam around so they don’t feel too confined.


In a Tree to Underground – An Afternoon Rescue Adventure

When the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services responded to a quiet neighborhood in Plymouth this week, Minerva, an indoor/outdoor cat, had been about four stories up in an evergreen tree for four days. Aside from her owners worrying, the cat was scared, hungry, and needed to get back on solid ground.

ARL rescues approximately 200 cats out of trees annually, and each rescue presents unique challenges. This rescue was no different.

With nets, rigging and other climbing gear ready to go, rescue agents ascended the tree to get the nervous but friendly cat safely back to the ground. The climb was smooth, and Minerva came willingly to be rescued. Smooth sailing – until Minerva got closer to the ground.

Not ready for her rescue to be over, Minerva wriggled out of the carrier bag she was in and bolted into a wooded area at the front of the residence. The woods were dense, and the cat had plenty of places to hide.

Minerva’s owner and rescue agents walked through the woods with food and shaking bags of treats, but the cat would not show herself. Adding to the cat’s anxiety were the sounds of a landscaping crew working nearby.

During a final pass through the woods, a rescue agent noticed a hole in the ground at the base of a tree that was about the size of a bowling ball. Fixated on the hole, there was movement, and two green eyes suddenly appeared. Minerva had gone from in a tree to underground!

Calling her name gently, Minerva emerged from her hiding place, took a few nibbles of food and was again placed in a portable carrier. From there she was brought out of the woods to her owner, who gratefully took her inside.

A Vital Resource

In 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped nearly 3,000 animals. As the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue department, these services are only possible thanks to your support.


ARL Rescues Geese Family Atop WBGH Building – Again

Fourth straight year geese have nested on rooftop

It’s becoming a spring tradition, as for a fourth year in a row, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services Department was called upon this week to rescue a family of geese from the roof of the WGBH building in Brighton, MA.

For a video recap click here!

The rooftop is a seemingly perfect place to nest for these geese. There’s a garden, grass, and the birds are safe from other predators. However the danger lies in the fact that goslings can’t fly – there’s 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.

On this day, ARL rescue agents quickly corralled the female goose and her five goslings, but while it took several attempts to reel in the male, the family was soon ready to be relocated to a more suitable location.

With the Charles River close by, ARL rescue brought the family to the shore line right at the base of the Eliot Bridge and the family was reunited in the cool waters of Boston’s iconic river.

This type of rescue is common during the spring. Just this past weekend ARL Rescue Services relocated another family of geese in Brighton from a seven-story building – as with the WGBH geese, the geese were removed safely, the goslings were protected and are now living in their natural environment.

At the Ready

In 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped nearly 3,000 animals. As the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue department, these services are only possible thanks to your support.


Whiskers and Wine 2018

Because of our supporters, ARL’s mission and vision are possible

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) hosted its 4th Annual Whiskers and Wine at the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza. The emcee for the evening was NBC Boston Correspondent and iHeart Radio Host, Colton Bradford. Turtle, a former bait dog turned therapy dog, also made a cameo appearance!

Click here for event photos.

ARL Board Chair, Malcolm McDonald, acknowledged our incredible 568 volunteers for their compassion and dedication; and ARL Director of Law Enforcement, Lt. Alan Borgal, for being a 2018 Maddie’s Fund Awardee. He also gave special thanks to our departing four Board Members for their combined 58 years of dedicated service to ARL: Barbara Burg, Lee Ann Leahy, Chuck Joyce, and Dr. Holly Kelsey.

Event guests were given a look back at how supporters positively impacted the lives of over 18,000 animals in 2017.

Click here to watch the video.

ARL President Mary Nee, also discussed our vision for 2018 and beyond. In our work to address the root causes of problems facing animals, it has become increasingly clear that ARL’s program model must shift away from shelter-based services and more towards preventative, community-based solutions. As a result of this shift, ARL plans to focus its growth on its Community Medicine, Community Cat, and Law Enforcement programs.

VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our 2018 Whiskers & Wine sponsors, who made the evening’s festivities possible:



PRESS RELEASE: Stolen Dog Returned to Animal Rescue League of Boston

Nick returned unharmed and in good spirits

The three-year-old Pitbull-type dog stolen from the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Adoption Center more than a month ago has been returned safe and sound.

Nick is safe, healthy and in great spirits!

Late Tuesday evening, a concerned citizen contacted the MSPCA call center with a tip about Nick and his location. MSPCA immediately notified ARL, who picked up Nick and transported him safely back to ARL’s Boston Animal Care & Adoption Center.

Shelter staff confirmed this morning that the animal is indeed Nick.

Over the past six weeks the search for Nick has been priority number one. ARL’s Law Enforcement Department has worked closely with the Boston Police Department to ensure Nick’s safe return.

ARL is overwhelmed with joy to have Nick back with the organization, he is healthy and doing great. Nick will be undergoing a medical and behavioral evaluation and is currently NOT available for adoption.

ARL would like to thank the Boston Police Department for their tireless efforts, the MSPCA for their quick response, and members of the media for getting Nick’s story to the masses.


Our Trash: Tantalizing and Dangerous

Skunk Rescue Just One Example of a Disturbing Trend

Recently, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services responded to a call in Melrose to help a skunk in distress. A plastic cup ring had become lodged around its neck, forcing the skunk to walk on its hind legs.

ARL Rescue Services was able to cut the ring from its neck, freeing the skunk and allowing it to continue on with the day. Unfortunately these types of rescues are becoming more common.

ARL spoke with the Washington Post recently, and the ensuing article described similar examples from around the nation, Canada and Great Britain. Drawn to the lure of meaty morsels or sugary sweetness, our trash is causing harm to wildlife — but it doesn’t have to.

Simple Solutions

We’re taught at a young age not to litter, and that’s a perfect place to start. Trash along our roadways isn’t only an eyesore and harmful to the environment, it’s also a perfect hunting ground for wildlife to sift through for sweet treats. Keep a bag for your auto-trash, and discard at home.

Before throwing away plastic or paper containers (yogurt, the dish your ice cream came in etc..) give them a rinse before discarding – and if it’s something an animal may get stuck in, crush or cut up the container.

Back in November 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped a poor raccoon that had its head stuck in what appeared to be a peanut butter jar. To avoid these situations, similar jars should also be rinsed, then tightly sealed before being thrown away.

When it comes to trash containers, make sure they’re shut tightly. Raccoons and other animals can show extreme determination if they smell something good inside, so using bungee cords can serve as a great deterrent.

At Your Service

ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with technical rescue capabilities, and rescued nearly 2,000 animals in 2017. Should you see an animal in distress, please contact ARL Rescue Services at (617) 426-9170.