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ARL Partners with ABCD in Pet Wellness Program Expansion

Clinics being held in Dorchester, Roxbury, and soon Mattapan/Hyde Park

On Wednesday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) announced a groundbreaking partnership with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), to bring pet wellness services directly to four Boston communities where they’re needed most.

The organizations hosted a special event at ABCD’s Roxbury location to mark the occasion and included a number of comments from stake holders and clients, as well as a ribbon-cutting.

Click here to see WBZ’s coverage of the event!

ABCD helps Greater Boston’s most vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Every year, the agency serves more than 100,000 individuals, families and the elderly.

The Need to Expand

In 2018, ARL’s 38 Pet Wellness Clinics in Dorchester’s Codman Square were an enormous success, serving 431 pets. The success, combined with the need for veterinary services, supported the fundraising to expand these clinics and in addition to the Dorchester and Roxbury clinics, an additional clinic will soon be added to serve Mattapan and Hyde Park. Clinics are held outside ABCD locations.

During ARL’s pilot program in Codman Square which began in 2017, the organization received direct feedback from the community on what barriers existed concerning pet ownership. Top responses included a lack of affordable care and access to services. ARL’s Pet Wellness Clinics drastically reduces these barriers.

For just $10, pets receive a physical exam; rabies and distemper vaccines; flea treatment and microchip. These services would normally cost upwards of $300 in a traditional veterinary clinic setting.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston of course cares for animals in need, but also helps the people who love them,” said ARL President Mary Nee. “Cost or accessibility to care should never be a barrier to having a healthy and happy animal in the home and we are thrilled to be partnering with ABCD to bring these vital services where they’re needed most to help eliminate these barriers.”

“Making veterinary care accessible and affordable for everyone regardless of where they live or what their income is, is important,” said Sharon Scott-Chandler, Executive Vice President/COO of ABCD.

“Communities are stronger when pets are in them and what we see with ARL and ABCD is a shining example we hope others will emulate,” said Deborah Tucott, Acting President and COO of PetSmart Charities.

Keeping Pets Healthy in Loving Homes

The partnership between animal and human service organizations creates a larger reach to help those in need, and the end goal of ARL’s Pet Wellness Clinics are to keep animals healthy and in loving homes where they belong.

“I found out about this service at ABCD’s food pantry,” said Wellness Waggin’ client Iris Z. “(Today) is my second visit to ARL’s Wellness Waggin’; I really think it’s something we needed in the community and it’s been a wonderful experience for myself and my pets.”

“I absolutely love this service,” said Wellness Waggin’ client Sequoia J. “It’s a really good service to have for locals at an affordable price.”

Thank You

ARL wishes to express its extreme gratitude to ABCD for its partnership, and is also grateful to generous grants from PetSmart Charities and the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, who made it possible for ARL to purchase and outfit its brand-new Wellness Waggin’. The vehicle is state-of-the-art, and features a separate exam and surgical area.

Wellness Waggin’

The Wellness Waggin’ makes weekly stops in Roxbury, Dorchester, and starting August 30 in Mattapan. Click here to schedule an appointment and to find out about these high-quality, low-cost services!


Keep Your Pet Safe This Fourth of July

Some things to keep in mind while celebrating

This year, the Fourth of July holiday falls in the middle of the week – and in the middle of a string of hot and humid weather. It’s a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to remember that the sun, crowds, and loud noises can lead to over-stimulation, fear, and a potentially harmful situation for your pets.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) asks that you keep these five simple, but important tips to create a safe environment for your dog if they must be with you.

  1. Keep your dog away from potentially hazardous objects. BBQ’s are a source of tempting smells, and obvious danger. Fireworks – a sudden bang and a flash of light: these are ingredients for striking fear into your dog and could also illicit “fearfully aggressive” behavior. Keep your animal away from fireworks or even sparklers.
  2. There’s no place like home. Who doesn’t enjoy the comforts of home? And during the Fourth of July holiday, it may just be the perfect place for your pup. Turning a TV or radio on at low volume can distract your dog from all the outside noise, and they can also be in a cool, temperature and humidity controlled environment with access to water to keep them comfortable.
  3. If they must be outside, keep your dog in a carrier or on a leash. While outdoors, set your dog up in style, with shade, ample air-flow, and plenty of cold water.
  4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. When the temperature rises it’s Too Hot for Spot®! Animals don’t sweat like we do and can overheat easily. Even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, the inside of a car can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, which can lead to deadly heat stroke. Massachusetts law also prohibits leaving an animal in a parked car; owners can face fines or even forfeiture of the animal.
  5. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report an uptick of stray animals after July 4th due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Be sure your contact information is correct and up to date, and always have your information on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they become separated from you.

Play it Safe

ARL wants you to enjoy the holiday as we celebrate the birth of our nation, and remember that prevention is always the best course of action for you and your pet. When possible, leave your pet at home to avoid a possible dangerous and stressful situation!


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.


Good Samaritans Step in to Get Dogs Out of Bad Situation

When an unidentified woman was wandering around the Lynnway Mart recently trying to sell a pair of Shih Tzus for cheap, two Good Samaritans stepped in to get the dogs to safety.

For local news coverage of this story click here!

The dogs were purchased separately for $40 and $50 – the woman with the dogs allegedly told one buyer that if she couldn’t sell the dog she was going to “get rid of it one way or another.”

The animals were filthy, unkempt and underweight. Both dogs were brought to Ocean View Kennels in Revere, where kennel owner Lisa Cutting contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department.

Aside from their outward appearance, the two-year-old (Chanel) and six-year-old (Tiffany) dogs both needed surgical hernia repairs, which was performed by ARL shelter medicine staff. The pair have also been spayed, vaccinated, and microchipped.

Selling animals at flea markets is not prohibited in Massachusetts, however, this woman did not have a vendor booth or a license to sell animals and unfortunately there is no surveillance footage available at the market.

The Good Samaritans were focused on the welfare of the animals and were unable to give a detailed description.

Despite the lack of a description, anyone who has any information on who this person may be is asked to contact ARL’s Law Enforcement Department at 617-426-9170.

In the wake of this incident, staff at the Lynnway Mart will be on the lookout and will contact local police if the woman returns.


Boston Duck Tours Discovers Cat Family at Dorchester Facility

Mom and five kittens rescued off the streets

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is commending Boston Duck Tours for their compassion and care for animals in our communities, as workers at the company’s maintenance facility in Dorchester recently alerted ARL to the presence of a family of stray cats.

The female and male cats were thought to be living in an unused DUCK boat outside the facility, but had the litter elsewhere. Employees at the garage facility were feeding the cats daily and were keeping a close eye on them, but knew they needed to get off the streets.

Once contacted, an ARL Field Services agent responded to the facility, located at 11 Sturtevant St. in Dorchester, and was able to rescue the mother cat (appropriately named “Sturtevant”) and her five kittens who are estimated to be about 4-6 weeks old.

Sturtevant remains at ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center to receive medical care and socialization, while her kittens are in foster care.

Sturtevant has a ways to go behaviorally, and ARL volunteers and staff are working with her everyday to increase her trust and reduce her fear. The kittens, while starting off hissy, are now showcasing their personalities and will be sure to make wonderful pets.

Exchanging Quacks for Meows

Showing their soft side, several employees at the Boston Duck Boats facility have asked ARL to adopt the kittens once they are available for adoption. Sturtevant will also be made available for adoption, however, she is still frightened and when she is made available will be up to her.

Make the Call

With approximately 700,000 community roaming the streets throughout Massachusetts, Boston Duck Tours did the right thing by contacting ARL to rescue these cats. ARL’s Community Cat Initiative aims to get as many off these animals off the streets and into loving home as possible and asks that anyone noticing stray cats, or any homeless domesticated animal around their home or neighborhood to contact ARL Field Services at 617-426-9170.


ARL Participates in Community Celebrations

Parades bring out the best in communities.

Pride, joy, unity, among others. For the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), whether it be Boston’s South End, Dedham, or Brewster, we are more than a service agency for animals – we are a part of the communities in which we reside and are honored to participate in celebrations that bring these communities together.

This past Friday, Dedham hosted its 52nd annual Flag Day Parade, and ARL was once again honored to march in this grand, patriotic event.

Flag day of course marks the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by the Second Continental Congress and Dedham’s parade is one not to miss!

With thousands of onlookers, ARL was in the midst of more than a dozen marching bands, drum and bugle corps, jazz bands, bagpipers, and hundreds of marchers, floats and flag bearers.

This is an event that ARL is proud to be a part of year after year and is already looking forward to 2020!

Over in the South End, ARL marched in the 49th annual Boston Pride Parade, which attracts thousands every year to celebrate equality, unity and community.

The massive parade route cuts through the heart of downtown Boston, ending at City Hall Plaza. The theme for this year’s parade was “looking back, loving forward,” honoring the 50-year anniversary of the famous Stonewall Riots, which paved the way for the Pride Movement.

ARL was ecstatic for the opportunity to take part in this important annual event to celebrate with our friends, neighbors and community.

To everyone who participated in these special events – THANK YOU!


Press Release: ARL Caring for Abandoned Chihuahua

A two-year-old Chihuahua is settling in at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center – this after being abandoned on an enormous property in Southbridge that was once an American icon.

Bailey was recently discovered wandering among the dozens of abandoned buildings of the former American Optical property. Because the area’s gated, Southbridge Animal Control Officer Katelyn Spencer told ARL that no one enters the property by mistake and that it’s become a common animal dumping ground.

The dog is healthy, adorable, and friendly, but is also shy and easily frightened. Since arriving at ARL, Bailey has been vaccinated, spayed and microchipped and is currently available for adoption.

ARL once again reminds the public that abandoning an animal is NEVER an option. It constitutes animal cruelty, which is a felony crime in Massachusetts. If you are unable or unwilling to properly care for an animal, there are resources available to ensure the animal is taken care of and rehomed.

More Than a Century of Assistance

ARL has great relationships with municipalities throughout the Commonwealth and are always ready to assist – in this case, ARL worked with the Southbridge Animal Control Officer and travelled more than 60 miles one-way to take custody of Bailey.

A simple phone call to a local ACO or visit to a local shelter can get the process started for surrendering an animal and there are never judgements or shaming – anyone involved in animal welfare simply wants what’s best for the animal.


Kitten Season is in Full Swing

A pair of kittens rescued along the busy American Legion Highway in Roslindale this past week capped a busy month for the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services.

From Metro Boston, Metro West, to the South Shore and points in-between, the department rescued 40 kittens during the month of May alone, and June is shaping up to be another busy month. Over the past 16 weeks, ARL Field Services has rescued about 80 kittens total!

The aforementioned kittens were noticed by a passing driver wandering along a rock retaining wall and contacted ARL Field Services for assistance. The feisty six-week-old kittens were brought to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center and will be placed into foster care until they are ready to find permanent homes.

This is the height of kitten season, as warmer temperatures lead to increased mating and an explosion of newborn kittens.

These new cat families can be found almost anywhere – under your porch, in a backyard woodpile and anywhere that can provide safety and privacy for the mother cat and her offspring. Kittens have also been discovered in industrial and busy shopping areas – and they need our help.

Unfortunately, ARL has seen a number of instances where the mother cat may have been injured while out looking for food, or simply left offspring to fend for themselves. This creates a dangerous situation for the kittens who are far too young to be able to care for themselves.

Keeping an Eye Out

With an estimated 700,000 community cats living on the streets throughout Massachusetts, ARL believes getting these kittens and mama cats off the streets and into loving homes is imperative. ARL urges anyone who notices kittens in their yard, neighborhood or even out running errands to contact ARL Field Services at 617-226-9170 for assistance.


ARL Advocates Animal Protection Bills at State House

On Tuesday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) travelled to the Massachusetts State House to provide testimony on two animal protection bills for the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.

Committee hearings are an important step for proposed legislation – if the bill is reported favorably by the committee, it will then move on in the legislative process. Click here to see how a bill becomes a law in Massachusetts.

ARL’s first round of testimony focused on S.114/H.1774 – An Act Protecting the Health and Safety of Puppies and Kittens in Cities and Towns. This bill has several components including:

  • Prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age;
  • Update laws relating to kennel licensing;
  • End the roadside sale of animals; and
  • Require the establishment of state-wide rules and regulations used for boarding and daycare facilities.

Currently there are no state-wide regulations that govern boarding kennels and animal daycare facilities in Massachusetts, and ARL believes this bill is vital to help keep our pets safe when left in someone else’s hands.

ARL also recently launched The Kennel 9, a new animal safety campaign giving pet owners nine things to consider before boarding their pet.

Testifying in favor of the bill were ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare & Veterinary Services Dr. Edward Schettino and ARL Director of Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal.

Also joining the panel were Auburn Animal Control Officer Aimee Contois, Auburn Director of Development and Inspectional Services Darlene Coyle – Auburn officials worked jointly with ARL in 2018 to remove 61 animals from a hoarding situation in the town.

Lastly, Scituate resident Tracey Siciliano provided testimony pertaining to the need of boarding kennel regulations.

In 2016, Siciliano’s three-year-old Golden Doodle “Ben” suffered fatal injuries after being attacked by a dog belonging to the owner of a Hanover kennel facility, which has since closed. In addition to the dozens of attack wounds, Ben was also suffering from heat stroke. The owner was found “not-guilty” for negligence, due in part to a lack of regulations.

“I believe that regulations and enforcement might have prevented Ben’s death or, at a minimum, regulations could have persuaded a jury to hold the kennel owner responsible for his actions,” Siciliano said. “I urge the legislature to enact this law so that no other family ever has to experience the pain my family has endured from having lost our beloved Ben.”

Cruel Conditions

ARL President Mary Nee and Lt. Borgal testified in favor of S.989, H.1822 – An Act Enhancing the issuance of Citations for Cruel Conditions for Animals. This bill amends MA General Law Ch. 140 Section 174E to include all domestic animals. Currently the law only allows citations for dogs.

This amendment would allow an effective response to problematic and escalating issues including animal hoarding, and farm animal cruelty situations i.e. the 2016 Westport cruelty case.

Citations provide officers a tool to achieve corrective action before a situation rises to a violation of the animal cruelty statute.

Be an Advocate for Animals

With more than 90 animal-related bills filed for this legislative session, this hearing was critical to help move these important animal protection bills forward in the legislative process. But we can’t do it alone. Your elected officials work for you, so please take a look at ARL’s 2019-2020 legislative agenda, and contact your representatives to show your support for improving laws to protect animals in Massachusetts.