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Committee Hearings Continue on Beacon Hill

This past week the Joint Committees on the Judiciary and Financial Services both convened to hear testimony on more than 40 bills, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was present for both sessions to advocate on behalf of animals throughout the Commonwealth.

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony regarding S. 989: An Act Enhancing the Issuance of Citations for Cruel Conditions for Animals, a piece of legislation that ARL is actively supporting.

ARL President Mary Nee addresses the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

This bill would allow law enforcement to issue citations for animals kept in “cruel conditions” which would include exposure to excessive waste, non-potable water, noxious odors that post a health risk to animals or people, among others.

Right now, the only tool law enforcement has to address animal cruelty is a felony cruelty charge. If passed, this bill would provide an additional resource to address cruelty and would act as a deterrent, rather than a form of punishment.

The Joint Committee on Financial Services heard testimony from ARL regarding three bills – S. 595/H. 1037: An Act Concerning the Use of Certain Insurance Underwriting Guidelines Pertaining to Dogs Harbored Upon the Insured Property.

Simply put, this bill would prohibit homeowners or renters insurance from refusing to issue or renew, cancel or charge an increased rate on a specific breed(s) of dog on the property.

The Committee also heard testimony on H. 1038: An Act to Prohibit Housing Discrimination Against Responsible Dog Owners.

This bill would prohibit condo associations from banning certain types of dogs based on breed/weight/size. Further it would prohibit similar bans on any lease/rental agreements.

Additionally, it would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to establish and maintain a program of pet ownership for those residing in state-aided public housing.

ARL’s testimony highlighted that breed specific legislation and insurance prohibitions are not supported by science – breed bias are often assumptions based on physical characteristics.

Breed has no bearing on individual animal behavior – the most accurate predictor of animal behavior is an individual assessment of the animal, including a check into the pet’s background with training, behavior and social abilities.

ARL believes that like people, dogs are individuals no matter what breed they happen to be, and hopes this important piece of legislation moves favorably out of committee.

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.


ARL Recognized by Boston City Council

On Wednesday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the organization’s 120th anniversary and brief Boston City Councilors about the direct impact ARL is having on their respective districts.

For an hour before the council’s scheduled session, councilors and staff received an overview of ARL by watching a special 120th anniversary video, followed by a presentation with ARL President Mary Nee.

The presentation informed those in the audience about ARL’s programs, especially those that bring services directly to neighborhoods including Field Services and ARL’s Pet Wellness Clinics.

For more than a century ARL has provided service in the Metro Boston region, and continues to be a vital resource for the region.

When the council session was brought to order, City Council President Andrea Campbell again recognized ARL, and allowed Nee to address the entire council and those in attendance on the on-going work ARL is doing to help animals in need and keeping people and pets together.

ARL would like to thank the entire council, particularly District 4 and City Council President Andrea Campbell, and District 6 councilor Matt O’Malley for their steadfast commitment to helping animals in need.


Welcoming Your Adopted Dog into Your Home

Congratulations! You’ve adopted a dog and it’s going home with you this afternoon, so what’s next? After dog-proofing your house and gathering the necessary supplies (collar, ID tag, water bowl, crate, food, toys, and cleaning products), you’ll need to think about how to acclimate your pup the moment his paws walk through your front door.

Follow these tips to help your furry family member settle into their new house:

The first day

  • Bring your dog straight home and do not stop for errands along the way.
  • Calmly introduce to your pup to your family members outside, one at a time.
  • Limit visitors to prevent your dog from getting overwhelmed.
  • Keep your pup leashed, and lead them into the house for a tour of each room.
  • Stay close to home and do not go out on any major excursions.
  • Take your dog outside often for bathroom breaks, even if they were housetrained previously.
  • Give your pup ample quiet time to acclimate to their new surroundings.

Daily routines

  • Place your dog’s crate or bed in the room where you would like them to sleep, not in an uninhibited area, such as the garage or basement.
  • Offer your pup 2-3 meals per day; do not leave a full bowl of food out for them all day.
  • Use chew toys and interactive toys to keep your dog physically and mentally busy.
  • Keep walks to 5-10 minutes until you get to know your dog’s behavior and response to stimuli, such as cars, unfamiliar people, and squirrels.
    Prevent anxiety with being left alone by not making a fuss over your comings and goings. Practice leaving your pup in the crate and/or with chew toy for short periods several times per day.

Relationship building

  • Stimulate your dog physically and mentally with training. At ARL, we believe that positive reinforcement, reward-based training methods are the best course of action, especially when teaching dogs new things or desensitizing fearful dogs to new experiences.
  • Play the “name game” by periodically calling your dog’s name when they look at you and rewarding them with a piece of kibble as a treat. (See Pg. 8 for more on this training method.)

Adopting a dog from the South? “They may need additional time to adjust to their new environment,” explains ARL’s Animal Behavior Manager, Laney Nee. “Southern dogs have likely never been exposed to city noises, loud trucks, or lots of people, including men and children. Any aggressive behavior that they exhibit is simply a reaction to their fear and discomfort and should not be misconstrued as ‘bad’ behavior.” Adopters will need to exercise patience to help their new pup acclimate to simple things, such as living indoors, being confined to a leash, and being the only dog around for the first time. “It’s important to pair the thing that they are afraid of with delicious high-value food so that they build a more positive association to the new thing they are fearful of,” says Laney.

If you have basic behavioral questions about your pet, contact ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org. A representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


Press Release: Emaciated Puppy Could Be Facing Extensive Surgery

Puppy lost for a month, surrendered to ARL

Charlotte, an 8-month-old mixed-breed puppy, has experienced a lot in her young life, including surviving on her own for a month. Although she’s now in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), Charlotte is not only fighting to regain her total trust with humans, but is also grossly underweight and facing fracture repair surgery.

Despite being incredibly sweet, Charlotte has a long road ahead of her. ARL is dedicated to doing everything possible to get her healthy and into a forever home, however, the cost of Charlotte’s care is already in the thousands and ARL is asking for the public’s assistance.

Charlotte came to ARL via Belmont’s Animal Control Officer after she had been lost for approximately a month – it’s miraculous she even survived.

She was only 23 pounds upon her arrival, about half of what she should weigh and is still extremely skittish.

X-rays have indicated a fracture in the balled-end of the femur which connects to the hip joint. She will at least need surgery to remove the fractured part of the bone to alleviate the pain and discomfort – but there are risks involved given that she’s a growing puppy and ARL Shelter Medicine staff do not want this issue to be on-going.

Once a medical plan is established and she undergoes surgery, Charlotte will be recovering for approximately two months and will be constantly monitored and rechecked to avoid any complications.

With a clean bill of health, Charlotte will hopefully be in a new home just in time for the holidays.

Banning Roadside Sales

Charlotte was originally transported from a rescue group in Alabama, but her former owner picked her up at a parking lot in Connecticut just over the Massachusetts border – she was lost just 4 hours after being adopted.

State law mandates a 48-hour quarantine for animals brought over the state line (this was completed when Charlotte arrived at ARL) to properly assess their health and wellbeing. These types of parking lot pickups side-step the mandate and if the animal is ill, threaten harm to other animals they may come in contact with.

When you adopt from a reputable organization like ARL, animals are properly quarantined, medically checked, vaccinated and spayed/neutered before they are adopted. This typically is not the case when an animal is purchased during a roadside sale which also includes ads in the paper, Craigslist, illegal breeders, among others.

Roadside sales are a dangerous practice as the person who buys the animal does not have a clear picture of exactly what they’re getting – and should an issue pop up, the adopter has no recourse for reimbursement to cover medical costs.

S.114, H.1774: An Act Protecting the Health and Safety of Puppies and Kittens in Cities and Towns is currently in committee at the Massachusetts State House, and if passed would ban these types of animal sales.

ARL strongly supports this bill, and urges anyone interested in furthering animal protection law in Massachusetts to contact their elected officials to voice support.

Help Charlotte and Others Like Her

ARL Shelter Medicine provides all levels of high-quality care – from wellness exams to complex surgeries. Our goal is to ensure that animals are healthy and happy, and it’s because of the support from caring and compassionate people like you who make this possible. Please consider a donation to ARL today to help Charlotte and other animals like her.

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ARL Brewster Takes in Senior Cat When He was Surrendered to Local Vet Office

Annual exams, medications – these are costs that any pet owner can expect over the duration of an animal’s life. However, when an underlying disease or sudden injury needs attention and treatment, these costs can unfortunately be out of reach for some.

This was the case for Clyde, a 13-year-old handsome cat, who was brought to Barnstable Animal Hospital just a few weeks ago.

As with many animals in advancing years, Clyde was starting to show signs of age, confirmed with diagnostic testing, which revealed that Clyde is in the early stages of renal disease. His examination also discovered a low-grade heart murmur.

Renal disease is common in middle to older age cats and is associated with a gradual loss of kidney function. There is no cure as the kidney cannot regenerate, however the disease is manageable and Clyde is expected to sustain a high quality of life for the foreseeable future.

Clyde undergoes exam at ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Due to the cost of testing and the need for ongoing treatment, Clyde was surrendered to the animal hospital – but of course a veterinary office is not a shelter and Clyde needed a place to stay while waiting for the opportunity to find a new home.

Despite there being a number of options in the surrounding area, the staff at Barnstable Animal Hospital decided to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center – located approximately 20 miles away.

Why?

Because for nearly a century, ARL has had a history of caring on Cape Cod.

Since first establishing a shelter facility on the Cape in 1921, ARL has been the go-to resource for animals in need and today the Brewster location offers much more than adoptable animals.

Community services include spay and neuter resources, pet surrender, pet after-life care, animal cruelty law enforcement investigation, among others. ARL’s staff is also on-hand to answer any animal-related questions or concerns community members may have.

Looking for a Forever Home

Clyde has established himself as an immediate favorite among staff and volunteers, and while he may be comfortable and friendly in the shelter setting, he is still awaiting his perfect forever home.

Ready to Serve

ARL’s reputation as an animal welfare leader is unmatched in Massachusetts, however, your support is critical in order for ARL’s important work to continue. Your support allows ARL to take in and treat more than 17,000 animals in need annually and to deliver services directly to communities who need them most. Please help Clyde and others like him by supporting ARL today!


Kennel Regulations, Increasing MAF Funds, Blue Hills Forest Take Center Stage at State House

ARL Addresses Joint Committee

On Tuesday, the Joint Committee of Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture convened to hear testimony on nearly two dozen bills, many of which were animal-related.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) provided testimony on six separate bills, all of which are a part of the organization’s 2019-2020 Legislative Agenda.

While S. 114/H. 1774: An Act protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns encompasses several elements, including establishing state-wide regulations regarding boarding kennel and daycare facilities; S. 510/H. 3603/H. 812 are all stand-alone bills that specifically address boarding kennel regulations.

The wording of these individual bills may differ slightly, but each aims to establish regulations for boarding kennel and daycare facilities to include staff qualifications and development, provider/dog ratios and interaction, group sizes and supervision, minimum housing and care requirements, indoor and outdoor facility requirements, utilities, dog handling, emergency response protocols and training, insurance, and penalties for violation, among others.

ARL Law Enforcement Director Lt. Alan Borgal shows the committee images of an animal who was mauled at a South Shore boarding facility.

“Right now it is up to the consumer to be their own advocate and to do their own homework,” Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, expressed to the committee. “However, most consumers are unaware of this and trust the facility that they choose to take care of their pet, unknowing of the lack of regulations.”

Earlier this year, ARL launched the Kennel-9 safety campaign, giving pet owners 9 things to consider before boarding their pet in an effort to protect animals and their owners from a potentially dangerous situation.

ARL has unfortunately been involved in numerous incidents at boarding facilities where a lack of oversite, improper facilities or protocols led to injury or even death for animals in their care. Law Enforcement Director Lt. Alan Borgal shared one of these incidents with the panel to show the need for regulations.

The organization feels state-wide regulations are critical to improve safety and quality of care for facilities across the Commonwealth.

Mass Animal Fund

ARL also testified on S.501: An Act to provide additional funding for animal welfare and safety programming.

This measure would provide additional monies to the Mass Animal Fund, an organization which strives to prevent animal homelessness by offsetting costs for vaccination and spay/neuter of homeless dogs and cats, as well as dogs and cats owned by low-income residents, and to assist with training of animal control officers.

ARL is a provider of services for the Mass Animal Fund spay/neuter voucher program and through the Community Surgical Clinic and Spay Waggin’, ARL has provided more than 200 spay/neuter surgeries in the past two years.

If passed, this bill would direct funds collected through administrative fines pursuant to Section 37 of Chapter 129. This would be in addition to donations currently generated through Line 33f on the state income tax form.

Blue Hills Reservation

Finally, ARL also testified on H. 757: An Act to study the health of the Blue Hills Forest and ecology to inform long-term reservation management.

This bill would commission a study and scientific survey on the Blue Hills Reservation to determine why the forest health is in decline.

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.


Massachusetts Animal Control Officer of the Year

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Rescue League of Boston are pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the annual Massachusetts Animal Control Officer (ACO) of the Year award.

The award was established to honor an animal control officer whose efforts in his/her local community throughout the year demonstrate:

  • A dedicated, humane attitude toward the treatment and well-being of all animals
  • Effective enforcement of pet responsibility laws;
  • Commitment to public awareness and humane education programs
  • Cooperative working relationships with other agencies, such as state and local government departments, other ACOs, and animal protection groups.

Nominations should be submitted in writing and may come from government officials, other officers, animal protection organizations, or private citizens.

Submissions should explain how the nominee has met the above criteria and should be sent to both:

Alan Borgal
Animal Rescue League of Boston
10 Chandler Street
Boston, MA 02116
ABorgal@arlboston.org

Kara Holmquist
MSPCA
350 South Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02130
kholmquist@mspca.org

The deadline for nominations is September 24, 2019.


September is Champions Circle Month!

All month long we’re celebrating our Champions

In honor of our monthly donors and their ongoing support, ARL is celebrating our Champions Circle members!

The Champions Circle is a special group of friends who support animals as recurring donors. Though we are celebrating them this month, our community of monthly givers provide the critical support needed to keep animals safe and healthy all year long.

Thank you to all our Champions Circle members for your loyal support!

Not yet a member? Now is the perfect time to join! 

Monthly giving is a convenient, affordable, and efficient way to provide help where it’s most needed.

When you join, your gift each month will provide animals with:

Champions Circle - membership perks

In exchange for your generosity, you can expect:

Champions Circle Membership Perks

There are many way to join…

Use our secure online form by clicking here

Or call Derek at (617) 426-9170 x162 to set up your monthly gift over the phone

Join the Champions Circle before September 30 and receive a special 2020 Champions Circle calendar!

*Please allow 4 weeks for delivery

 


ARL Field Services Conducts Rappelling Training

Rescue Situation Simulated in Quincy Quarries

For any technical rescue situation, two things are paramount to success – teamwork and safety.

For these reasons, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Field Services Department has been conducting weekly training for several months, and this past week the team tackled rappelling at a historic site just on the outskirts of Boston.

The Quincy Quarries, once the most prominent source of granite in the country and even providing stone for the Bunker Hill Monument, offers the perfect terrain and surroundings for training; with uneven hiking trails, thick woods and plenty of rock faces for rappelling.

Once the team hiked into the woods carrying heavy equipment, it was time to put teamwork and safety to the test.

Before scaling the 35-foot rock face, ARL’s most experienced Field Services agent led the team in an extensive session of getting familiar with climbing gear, knowing what individual responsibilities would be for every climbing line, learning to work in unison, and participating in a 35-foot confidence rappel.

Once this was completed, the team simulated a rescue situation where participation from every team member was essential.

The exercise involved hauling a team member (in this case an 80-pound dog mannequin named Fetch) from the quarry floor back to the top. One team member manned the belay line, another on the haul line, and two members on a pulley system to bring the mannequin up quickly.

While team members were excited to experience rappelling, everyone involved understood that in a real-world situation, the rescuer scaling down would be hauling a carrier, equipment and a distressed or injured animal.

In order to get the rescuer back to safety and the animal the help it needs, teamwork is crucial to ensuring a successful rescue.

With this exercise successfully completed, Field Services will continue its training to be able to assist in endless scenarios where technical rescue skills can mean the difference between life and death for an animal in need.

ARL Field Services

ARL Field Services provides technical and non-technical rescue operations for injured or lost domestic animals, livestock, and raptors (turkey vultures, osprey, hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls).

ARL Field Services also assists governmental agencies with equipment and training; and plays an essential role in assisting ARL Law Enforcement in cases of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

If you need assistance, call (617) 426-9170 to reach ARL Field Services dispatch, which operates from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.


Update: All Cats Removed from April Hoarding-Type Situation Adopted

When the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department removed 50 cats from a home in the Metro Boston area during Easter weekend, it was immediately clear that many of the animals had a long road ahead of them – given their lack of meaningful interaction with humans.

Aside from a host of medical concerns, the majority of the cats were extremely under-socialized and at times standoffish with staff and volunteers.

However, thanks to an amazing and collective effort by ARL staff and volunteers, over time the walls of mistrust were razed and nearly three months later, the last two cats (Clarence and Moe) have found their forever homes!

Slow and Steady

The socialization process was extraordinarily slow. With many of these animals, volunteers and staff would begin by just talking softly to the cat. From there it would escalate to making eye contact, offering treats, and when a small semblance of trust was established, the cat would sniff the hand and eventually accept pets.

Clarence, an 8-year-old cat, came to ARL obese and in need of medical care and diagnostics. Unlike many of the other cats from this hoarding-type situation, he was friendly right from the start, but was shy and lacked confidence.

Clarence had advanced dental and was already missing 10 teeth. Unfortunately 8 additional teeth needed to be extracted.

Through diagnostic testing, the tough 8-year-old also showed early signs of renal disease.

Moe, a 4-year-old cat, was thin, scared and spent much of his time hiding upon arrival at ARL. Moe weighed just 6 pounds, had urine-stained paws and dirt was embedded around his nose.

The cat needed time to settle in to his new surroundings, and seemed to do best when paired with another cat from his previous situation – in Moe’s case he was paired with Clarence.

The two spent time as office fosters, which offers a more real-life experience and is less stressful than being in a kennel full time.

The pair came out of their shells and didn’t just find a forever home, they found a forever home together!

Extraordinary Measures

Before arriving at ARL, these animals suffered an enormous amount of physical and mental trauma. ARL was able to remove these cats from a difficult situation, provide much needed medical care, and socialize and recondition these animals to become the loving pets they are today!

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.

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.