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ARL Provides Cat with Severely Fractured Leg Emergency Surgery

Cat surrendered due to cost of care for fractured leg

A 10-month-old female Ragdoll cat is recovering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after receiving an emergency amputation surgery due to a severely fractured leg.

The cat, named Winter, was recently surrendered to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center after breaking the leg in a fall in her former home, and unfortunately, the financial estimates to treat the injury were too great for her former family.

Upon intake at ARL, the cat underwent a thorough veterinary exam, including x-rays.

The images revealed a significant femoral fracture, and the damage was too extensive to save the leg.

Along with amputating the fractured leg, ARL veterinarians also spayed the animal, which revealed another issue for the young cat.

Winter was born with a partially formed uterus and was also missing a kidney.

The partially formed uterus and associated ovary were removed during the spay and will not have any impact on her future health.

ARL suggests that Winter’s new family consult with her primary veterinarian regarding living with one kidney, so her kidney function can be monitored as she ages – but it is expected that Winter will enjoy a normal quality of life.

Winter is not only a beautiful cat, but has also displayed a friendly, loving and playful personality, becoming an instant favorite among ARL staff and volunteers — she will certainly make a wonderful pet once she finds her new home.

The cat continues to recover in foster care and is not currently available for adoption, but it’s expected that she will become available in the coming weeks.

ARL understands the cost of veterinary care, particularly in an emergency situation can be shockingly expensive, and suggests any pet owner facing financial difficulties due to pet care to contact ARL.


Supporter Spotlight: Steve Chapman

When you think of volunteering at an animal shelter, your first thought may be of all the adorable puppies and kittens you’ll meet, and the animals you’ll fall in love with. But Brewster volunteer Steve Chapman can tell you there is so much more to volunteering at ARL than what meets the eye. 

After 26 years in high-level Law Enforcement, Steve Chapman and his wife Gail relocated to The Cape in 2006. After a few years of planting their roots in their new home, Steve and Gail decided they were ready to add a four-legged friend to their family. “There is nothing better than seeing that happy face in the window when you come home to a dog,” Steve says. So, they came to the ARL’s Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, where they met and adopted a sweet Labrador Retriever, Zoey. 

From there, Steve’s connection with ARL only grew stronger. Retirement got old quickly for Steve, so when seeking out ways to meaningfully spend his time, he decided to start volunteering at ARL. Upon the start of his volunteer journey, Steve realized that playing with the kittens and puppies, although fun, is not what was most needed. With a small number of staff members and volunteers at the Brewster location, Steve became the go-to guy for helping with various maintenance projects around the campus. Today, he is affectionately known as the MacGuyver of Brewster. If you visit the shelter, you can probably find Steve swapping light bulbs, or fixing kennel doors, or lifting and moving food, or really just doing anything that is needed around the shelter! While there are abundant opportunities to work with the animals, we are so grateful to Steve’s dedication in helping us with some of the less glamorous parts of running an animal shelter. 

In addition to his integral role as Brewster’s fix-it man, Steve has also become someone that both the staff and volunteers can go to for support. Working and volunteering can be an emotionally daunting endeavor, and Steve is always there to offer a listening ear, and supporting words. His experience in law enforcement helped him develop extreme emotional resiliency and the ability to remain logical in tough situations. But that doesn’t mean the tough stories don’t affect him. In fact, one of Steve’s earliest memories involving animals was standing up to a neighborhood bully who was being rough with a neighborhood cat. At a young age, Steve learned the importance of standing up for what’s right – even if it is difficult to do. 

Steve’s strength, composure, and warmth makes him a great resource for our staff and volunteers. Steve is one of those people that makes you comfortable enough to share your problems with, even within hours of meeting him. Steve recalls some of his best memories at ARL as ones when he got the chance to connect with people on a deeper level. 

“Everyone has a story”, Steve says. And whether that story belongs to a staff member, volunteer, or shelter animal, Steve is there to offer his support. We are so grateful to Steve for being an unwavering champion for animals and the people who love them. 


Winter is Here!

ARL receiving reports of animals being kept out in the winter cold

Although winter thus far has been relatively mild, we have seen plenty of days and nights with temperatures below the freezing mark, and our first winter storm is also on the horizon.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has already received a number of calls from concerned citizens regarding animals being left out in the cold, and wants to remind the public when the mercury dips there are laws in place to protect animals, including the prohibition of excessive tethering.

According to Massachusetts General Law Ch. 140, Section 174E, Subsection D:

A person shall not leave a dog outside when a weather advisory, warning or watch is issued by a local, state or federal authority or when outside environmental conditions including, but not limited to, extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or hail pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of the dog based on the dog’s breed, age or physical condition, unless the tethering is not for more than 15 minutes.

Under this law, any law enforcement officer, including special law enforcement officers with ARL, has the authority to issue citations or warnings for owners who do not comply: $50 first offense, $100 second offense, $300 and possible loss of ownership with a third or subsequent offenses.

Winter is here, and it’s up to us to protect our pets, and also include them in any winter storm preparations.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind to keep animals safe:

  1. Prepare your dog for the elements. If you have a longer coat dog, let it grow out for the winter; for shorter coat dogs, sweaters, coats and booties can go a long way to protect your pooch.
  2. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Chemicals used to treat sidewalks can irritate your dog’s paws, and can be poisonous if ingested. When coming in from the cold, clean and dry your dog’s stomach to keep them healthy!
  3. Keep outdoor trips quick. Bathroom breaks or walks, keep it short and sweet and keep your pets indoors as much as possible.
  4. Never leave your dog alone in a cold car. Temperatures inside a car can plummet when the engine is turned off. Just like it’s illegal in Massachusetts to leave an animal in a hot car, it’s also illegal to leave an animal in a car during extreme cold. When going out, leave your animals at home.
  5. Pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable.
  6. Check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.

Bottom line, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pet to be outside.


Overweight Pig Looking for New Home to Start 2024

Overweight pig has been in Care of ARL since October

A four-year-old overweight pig currently in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is looking to kick off the New Year on the right hoof by finding her permanent home.

The young potbelly pig came to ARL approximately 30-35 pounds overweight, and with weight-related mobility and emotional issues, but has made tremendous strides in the past two months.

The pig, named Nala, was surrendered to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center in October, when her owner could no longer care for her.

Nala originally came from a cruelty case in Ohio as a piglet, and was an indoor/outdoor pig in her previous home.

Due to her weight gain, Nala was uncomfortable upon her arrival at ARL, and had limited mobility.

Her discomfort also impacted her behavior and she was closed off and did not want contact initially.

However, as she began to lose weight, her mobility improved, as did her behavior.

A slimmed down Nala can now be seen moving freely throughout her paddock and she has also begun welcoming interaction, allowing pets and showing off her sweet and tender side.

While she has lost some weight, her new owner will need to help Nala continue her weight-loss journey, but ARL feels she is now physically and emotionally ready to find her forever home — just in time for the New Year!

Help an Animal Like Nala

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Nala get everything they deserve this holiday season. 

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes. 

From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues, to veterinary care, enrichment and  behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible. 

2,839+ animals in need have already found homes this year. Will you make a year-end gift to help one more? 

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Neonatal Kittens Rescued in October Find Homes for the Holidays

Neonatal kittens rescued when mom was injured and unable to provide care

Rescued as a trio of neonatal kittens in October by the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) have completed a remarkable transformation by finding their forever homes just in time for the holidays.

In October, the kittens were discovered in Fall River by a concerned resident who noticed the mother cat was unable to care for the kittens due to severe wounds.

At just 4-weeks-old at the time, the kittens were in an incredibly vulnerable situation, which could’ve been life-threatening without intervention.

ARL’s Field Services routinely works in the Fall River area, an area with countless community cats, and immediately responded when receiving the call about these three kittens.

The kittens and the mom were trapped and transported to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, where they immediately received veterinary care.

The kittens were filthy, and suffering from upper respiratory infections.

The trio received medication for the infections and were placed into foster care so they could be constantly monitored.

The mom cat, now named Kiki, was suffering from multiple puncture wounds, and was also underweight.

The kittens rebounded rather quickly, and once they hit the right age, they were spay/neutered and recently found their forever homes.

For Kiki, because she had wounds of unknown origin, she continues a state-mandated 4-month quarantine with ARL, but she will become available for adoption in early 2024.

About ARL’s Community Cat Program

ARL is the only large animal welfare organization in Massachusetts with staff dedicated to helping community cats, which can be found in any city or town in Massachusetts, and it’s estimated that there are 700,000 community cats living throughout the Commonwealth, 70,000 in Boston alone.

Community cats face many challenges living outdoors. Without proper shelter and care, they are at risk of illness and injury.

Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters and continue the cycle of large colonies of unowned cats.

ARL’s Field Services Agents will respond to the call of residents who report a colony of cats, investigating the colony to determine the number of cats and kittens residing in that area, the cats’ overall health status, and whether or not a local resident is feeding them regularly and can continue.

After the initial assessment, a TNR (Trap-Neuter- Return) plan is formulated for that particular colony.

TNR is one of the most humane and effective ways to stop the cycle of homelessness among cats.

Spay and neuter surgeries are low risk and proven to improve the safety and health of these cats as well as the community as a whole.

The plan also includes vaccines, and whether each cat will be returned to the colony, returned to their owner if microchipped, or admitted to an ARL shelter to be put up for adoption if they are friendly.

Helping Homeless Animals in Need

For a homeless animal or at-risk pet, your kindness can change their whole life.  

 Your support is a powerful source of hope for the animals we serve, as it will ensure that we are able to provide all animals in our care with the level of compassion and love they deserve.  

 Will you make a gift to help animals experience kindness and joy this holiday season?

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Stray Dog Hit by Car Recovering at ARL

Stray dog suffered numerous injuries, including fractured pelvis

A stray dog is recovering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after he was recently struck by a car in Boston and suffered a broken pelvis, among other injuries.

Bingo, a one-year-old Border Collie mix, was found at the intersection of American Legion Highway and Blue Hill Avenue in the early morning hours of November 27 by Boston Animal Control, who immediately transported him to an emergency veterinary clinic to assess his injuries.

Once the dog was stabilized, he was transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for further treatment and care.

The injuries this dog sustained are consistent with being hit by a car.

Along with a broken pelvis, Bingo suffered a number of lacerations requiring stitches, a chest x-ray revealed moderate to severe lung bruising and a mild pneumothorax.

Bingo is on the road to recovery and will require strict crate rest and short leash walks for the next month or so as his injuries heal.

Despite his condition, Bingo is incredibly friendly and outgoing and while he is not available for adoption right now, ARL is looking forward to finding Bingo the home he deserves in early 2024.

Make a Difference

When you make your year-end gift today, you can help make sure animals like Bingo get everything they deserve this holiday season. 

Your generosity means you can be there for animals, every step of the journey home, as long as it takes. 

From transports from overcrowded shelters or emergency rescues to veterinary care, enrichment, and behavior training, and finally adoption – you make it all possible. 

2,839+ animals in need have already found homes this year.

Will you make a year-end gift to help one more?

donate button  


ARL Caring for Cat Suffering from Extensive Burns

Second/third-degree burns cover more than 50 percent of cat’s body

A one-year-old female cat found as a stray in Oxford, MA, is facing months of painful treatment and rehabilitation due to second and third-degree burns covering more than half her body, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) veterinary staff is working diligently to save her life and give her the second chance that she deserves.

The cat, now named Era, was found in a work shed in Oxford, MA, and once the extent of her injuries was realized, Oxford Animal Control contacted ARL for assistance and the cat was transported to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center for treatment.

ARL’s veterinary team has assessed that second and third-degree burns cover approximately 55 percent of her body, and treatment has consisted of pain management and twice-weekly wound debridement involving removing dead skin and exposing the new skin underneath to promote healing.

The procedures are intensive and painful, and Era is at the beginning of a very long road to recovery.

At this juncture Era’s condition is guarded, but cautiously optimistic.

It is currently unknown what caused the burns and whether it was an intentional act, but ARL’s primary focus at this time is doing everything possible to save this animal’s life.

Era will continue to have twice-weekly debridement procedures, and will eventually be placed in foster care to give her a quiet and calm environment to further help in the healing process.

Help the Healing

ARL is asking the public for support in helping Era and animals like her.

The cost of her care is roughly $1,000-1,500 per week and at this time it is unknown how long her treatments will be necessary, but it’s anticipated that it will likely be several months.

ARL is committed to giving Era her best chance at life, and anyone interested in donating can visit support.arlboston.org/Era.


Former Severely Emaciated Dog Ready to Find Forever Home

Emaciated Dog gained 22 pounds in foster care

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is thrilled to announce that a now formerly severely emaciated dog that was found as a stray in August has reached a healthy weight and is now ready to find his new home — just in time for the holidays.

The one-year-old dog, now named Dobby, was reportedly found as a stray in the area of Franklin Park in Dorchester in mid-August, and was brought to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for care.

Upon arrival at ARL, he weighed just 37 pounds, scoring a 1 out of 9 on the body condition score chart which represents the highest level of emaciation with ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance, no discernible body fat and obvious loss of muscle mass.

Additionally, Dobby’s fur was urine-stained, presented with mild dental disease, and he also had a number of pressure sores, indicating that he had been kept confined to a small space.

Dobby went to foster care and placed on a strict refeeding plan to ensure safe and slow weight gain.

Over the past several months he has put on 22 pounds and is now at a stable enough weight to be made available for adoption!

Despite everything he has gone through, Dobby has defined resilience and strength and is a shining example of the work that ARL does every day of the year to help animals in need.

Dobby’s has won the hearts of so many at ARL with his sweet and loving demeanor and is sure to be an amazing pet.

See Dobby’s profile on ARL’s adoptable animals page!

Dobby’s case remains an ongoing investigation by ARL’s Law Enforcement Department.

You can give animals like Dobby the greatest gift of all: hope.

When Dobby arrived, he was so thin you could count his ribs. His fur was stained and he was covered in sores, signs he was likely confined to a small space for a long time.

Dobby’s worst days may be behind him, but he is still counting on you to help him find a home of his own!

Your donation today can make sure animals like him have everything the need to find a home for the holidays!


ARL Marks Spay Waggin’ Milestone

Spay Waggin’s 75,000th surgery coincides with an expanded partnership with Franklin Park Zoo

This week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ hit a major milestone by completing its 75,000th surgery, and the milestone coincided with the organization’s partnership with the Franklin Park Zoo expanding, with the zoo now becoming a pick-up location for ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. program.

The partnership between ARL and Zoo New England began in 2021, with the Waggin’ making monthly visits to offer local pet owners low-cost spay/neuter services.

Additionally, the Waggin’ has also hosted a number of subsidized clinics at the zoo throughout this special partnership, and most recently the zoo was a designated drop-off location for ARL’s Keep Pets F.E.D. pet food drive, to allow ARL to keep up with the steady demand from pet owners who receive pet food and supplies from ARL’s Keep Pets S.A.F.E. (Serving Animals Facing Emergencies) program.

This partnership is a fantastic example of bringing services directly where they’re needed.

Over 800 spay/neuter surgeries have been performed at the zoo since 2021, with more than 30 percent of clients coming from within a couple of miles of the Franklin Park area.

Spay Waggin’ Milestone

While the benefits of spaying or neutering our pets are numerous, it can be cost-prohibitive for many pet owners. Since initially hitting the road in 2000, ARL’s Spay Waggin’ has been an essential resource for pet owners, offering low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter services to the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod and the Islands.

In addition to Boston, the Waggin’ has rotating stops in Brockton, Falmouth, New Bedford, Kingston, North Dartmouth, Taunton, and Wareham.

Along with the spay/neuter surgery, the Waggin’ offers pets a brief veterinary exam, rabies and distemper vaccines, flea, ear mite and intestinal parasite treatments, nail trim, and pets can even be microchipped for an additional cost.

The Spay Waggin’ is an appointment-only service, and encourage those looking to utilize the service to call 877-590-SPAY (7729), or visit arlboston.org/services/spay-waggin for more information and scheduling.


ARL Seeing Steady Influx of Community Cats and Kittens

Colder weather raising concern for younger community cats and kittens

With mild winters becoming commonplace, there is no such thing as kitten season anymore, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) continues to see a steady influx of community cats and kittens from outdoor cat colonies throughout Massachusetts – and with colder temperatures settling into our area, younger cats and kittens will become more vulnerable and in need of help.

ARL is seeing an influx of community cats and kittens.

To date, ARL has taken in nearly 800 community cats and kittens from all corners of the state, and the organization’s Community Cat Program shows no sign of slowing down heading into winter.

With colder temperatures jeopardizing the health, safety, and possibly the lives of young cats and kittens, ARL is ramping up its efforts to take in as many of these animals as possible and get them the help they need.

Current data estimates there are approximately 700,000 community cats living in communities across Massachusetts, 70,000 in Boston alone.

ARL is committed to caring for these animals and reminds the public to be on the lookout for community cats and kittens.

If you come across these animals, it’s important not to attempt to move them, instead contact ARL Field Services for assistance at (617) 426-9170 (option 1).

Once the cats and kittens are rescued, ARL provides a wide range of veterinary care, including vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery, and the cats are also assessed behaviorally to determine adoption potential.

Adult cats who are truly feral and do not want to rely on humans for care are returned to the field.

While community cats are incredibly resilient, kittens born outdoors are extremely vulnerable to fluctuating weather conditions, predators, illness, among others, and sadly many don’t survive.

Community cats and kittens can be found literally anywhere – under decks, in basements, woodpiles, dog houses – anywhere a mother cat can provide relative safety and warmth for her offspring.

ARL cannot do this work alone and needs help from residents who share concern for the welfare of these vulnerable animals.

For more information about ARL’s Community Cat Program please visit Community Cat Program (arlboston.org)