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.

Lobbying for PAWS II Passage

ARL Co-Hosts Event at Massachusetts State House

On Wednesday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined legislators, animal advocates and other animal organizations for a special event at the Massachusetts State House, to directly lobby law makers for the passage of S. 2347: An Act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns (PAWS II).

PAWS II recently passed in the Massachusetts Senate and will soon be addressed in the House.

Nearly 100 constituents and animal advocates were on hand to learn specific aspects of the omnibus bill, lobbying strategies, and finally to meet face to face with legislators.


On the heels of the horrific discovery of Puppy Doe and ensuing investigation in 2013, the original PAWS Act was passed in 2014, which strengthened animal cruelty penalties in Massachusetts, and also created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force, of which ARL was a member.

PAWS II derives from recommendations made by the task force and would protect animals in the Commonwealth in a multitude of ways.

If passed, the bill would:

  • Require the cross-reporting of animal abuse;
  • Prohibit the drowning of animals;
  • Prohibit the automatic killing of animal fighting victims;
  • Prohibit discrimination against dog breeds;
  • Require property owners to look for animals when property is vacated and notify the police or an animal control officer if an animal is found; and
  • Prohibit sexual contact with an animal or forcing a child to engage in sexual contact with an animal.

ARL thanks Senators Mark Montigny, Bruce Tarr, and Karen Spilka for their continued efforts to fight animal cruelty and abuse in the Commonwealth. ARL would also like to thank our colleagues at the MSPCA, HSUS for collaborative advocacy efforts.

PAWS II is just one of several bills that is a part of ARL’s Legislative Agenda. With your help, we can further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth!


PAWS II Lobby Day: Protect Animal Welfare and Safety

On Wednesday, May 9, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) will join the Animal Cruelty Task Force, Massachusetts legislators, and other organizations for a special lobbying event to advance S.2347: An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II).

PAWS II Lobby Day will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Room 428 at the Massachusetts State House.

Legislative Action

The discovery of Puppy Doe in 2013, and the subsequent investigation that followed inspired legislative action to protect animals. As a result, in 2014, the original PAWS Act was passed and strengthened penalties against animal abuse. It also created the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force.

Puppy Doe.

Massachusetts can continue to strengthen animal protection laws by passing PAWS II (S.2347: An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns). The bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House.

PAWS II includes several provisions, some of which are included below. PAWS II would:

– Require the cross-reporting of animal abuse;
– Prohibit the drowning of animals;
– Prohibit the automatic killing of animal fighting victims;
– Prohibit discrimination against dog breeds;
– Require property owners to look for animals when property is vacated and notify the police or an animal control officer if an animal is found; and
– Prohibit sexual contact with an animal or forcing a child to engage in sexual contact with an animal.

PAWS II is just one of several bills that is a part of ARL’s Legislative Agenda. With your help, we can further protect animals throughout the Commonwealth!


Maddie’s Fund® Honors ARL’s Lt. Alan Borgal

Hero Award Recognizes Excellence and Dedication

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is proud to announce that Law Enforcement Director Lt. Alan Borgal has received the prestigious Maddie’s Fund® Hero Award – one of just 10 recipients in the United States.

Maddie’s Fund, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, established the Hero Award to honor those who are leading the way in animal welfare with innovative ideas, progressive thinking and lifesaving actions. Award winners also exemplify Maddie’s Fund’s core values of honesty, integrity and mutual respect.

In addition to the award, Maddie’s Fund is also bestowing a generous $10,000 grant to ARL in Lt. Borgal’s name.

Lt. Borgal has been employed by ARL for 42 years, and has been a Massachusetts Special State Police Officer since 1981. With his extensive experience and knowledge he is considered by many in the Commonwealth to be the foremost expert in his field.

“Lt. Borgal is an inspiration to all and this honor could not be more deserving,” ARL President Mary Nee said. “His contributions to protecting the safety and well-being of animals throughout the Commonwealth simply cannot be measured.”

Today, Lt. Borgal continues to be a key member of ARL’s Law Enforcement Department. He also assists ARL’s Rescue Services, and loves the hands-on work of rescuing animals in difficult circumstances. Perhaps Lt. Borgal’s most notable rescue was in 1986, when he saved ‘Ruthy’ the Asian Elephant while issuing a search warrant in Essex, MA. ‘Ruthy’ is still alive today and living out her life at the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, MA. After all these years, Lt. Borgal still visits her to this day.

Congratulations to Lt. Alan Borgal for this well-deserved award!

Making a Difference

In 2017, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department investigated cruelty and neglect cases which involved nearly 3,000 animals and resulted in 84 law enforcement prosecutions. If you suspect or witness animal cruelty or neglect, contact ARL Law Enforcement at (617) 226-5610.

We Love our Volunteers!

Volunteer Appreciation Week 2018

Every April, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) dedicates a week to thank each and every one of the 568 volunteers who make our mission and vision possible.

From walking dogs, socializing cats, gathering laundry, cleaning kennels, assisting in shelter operations, even bathing ringworm-infected cats – the tasks our volunteers do impacts the entire spectrum of ARL’s daily operations.

Recognizing Excellence and Dedication

To show our appreciation, celebrations were held in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham; and included staff-choice awards to individual volunteers.

Those who were honored this year include:

  • Best of Boston – Tori Reilly
  • Cape’d Crusader – Graham and Nicki Hird
  • Dedham’s Most Dignified – Elizabeth Schneider and Natalie Gesin
  • Mobile’s Most Marvelous – Andrew Verbitzki and Stacey Coyne
  • ARL’s Unsung Hero – Scott Kreiger and Elain Heilemann
  • Admin’s Above and Beyond – Marna Terry
  • Our Four Footed Friends Favorite Foster Parent – Judy Komarow

Congratulations to all, and thank you for all you do for animals in need!

Additionally, each award ceremony now includes a volunteer’s choice award for a stand-out staff member:

  • Boston – Caitlin Phillips
  • Brewster – Veronica Sarmento
  • Dedham – Jenna Illingworth

Volunteer Opportunities

ARL is always looking for those willing to lend their hands and hearts for animals in need. If interested, please visit our volunteer page to see what opportunities are available!

A Life-Saving Phone Call

ARL Recognizes Eversource Employee

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) welcomed a “hero among us” to its Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center, for life-saving actions taken this past winter.

In late February, Eversource employee Susan Sweeney was in Rochester, MA on a routine service call, but her day turned out to be anything but routine.

Posting a notice on the door of the home, she heard barking and when she looked inside she saw two dogs living in deplorable conditions and in desperate need of help. Taking decisive action, Sweeney contacted the Rochester Police Department.

“I’m a dog lover, I’ve always had a dog,” Sweeney said. “But anyone in that situation would have done the same thing once they saw those dogs.

Rochester police and Animal Control responded to the residence, and immediately removed the dogs, who were then transferred to ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bentley, a two-year-old Pit Bull-type dog, was severely dehydrated and emaciated, weighing in just a shade over 20 pounds. Nine-year-old Astro fared slightly better, while showing signs of malnourishment, his weight and body condition was close to normal.

Over a period of weeks, the animals slowly and safely put the weight back on and were soon made available for adoption. To no one’s surprise, both Astro and Bentley quickly found their forever homes and are now thriving.

This positive outcome would not have been possible without Susan Sweeney’s actions.

“She did what we hope everyone would do in that circumstance,” ARL President Mary Nee said. “She saw unacceptable conditions and contacted police immediately – these animals survived because of her actions.”

Report Cruelty and Abuse

While ARL has been combatting animal cruelty and neglect for 119 years, the case of Astro and Bentley shows that unfortunately there’s still work to be done. In 2017, ARL Law Enforcement investigated nearly 350 cases, and 316 animals involved in animal neglect and cruelty situations were confiscated or surrendered to ARL. If you witness or suspect animal cruelty or neglect, contact local law enforcement immediately. Your actions may just save a life.

April 8-14 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Education, Awareness are Keys to Prevention

There are an estimated 70 million dogs in the United States, and every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites are reported – 20 percent of which require medical attention.

The CDC goes on to estimate that at least half of dog bite victims are children.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to take this opportunity during National Dog Bite Prevention Week to remind dog owners that learning behavioral signs and properly training and socializing your animal can go a long way in drastically reducing these statistics.

When it comes to behavior, it’s important to recognize when a dog is becoming uncomfortable. Some of the signs include:

  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Cowering
  • Holding its breath
  • Flattening its ears
  • Growling
  • Snapping
  • Curling upper lip

When a dog gives these cues, it’s important to back off immediately. Too often these signs are ignored and result in a bite.

Teaching Children

It’s important to teach children not to approach a strange dog; however, it should be noted that not only strange dogs bite. Even a family pet can bite if it feels frightened, threatened, or is in pain. Parents should consider supervising a child’s interactions with dogs, while teaching the aforementioned behavioral cues.

Training and Socialization

Training and socializing with people and other animals is vital to having a puppy become a well-mannered adult dog. Have questions? You can always contact ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666.

ARL also offers a number of training courses covering a variety of areas including basic manners, commands, social skills and mental enrichment exercises. Courses are offered at ARL’s Boston location, and reduced rates are offered (first-time only!) to dogs adopted from ARL within the previous six months, and for Boston Veterinary Care clients.