Legislative Update: ARL-Supported Poaching Bill Passes Through Massachusetts Senate

Bill Aims to Stiffen and Modernize Illegal Hunting Penalties

The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed proposed legislation aimed to protect wildlife by increasing penalties and measures to stop illegal hunting, or poaching, in the state. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has publicly advocated for the measure since its filing in January of 2017.

Many of the state’s current poaching penalties are about a century out of date, and S. 2248, an Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices, would modernize the current antiquated legislation. This bill would bring penalties in line with other states, elevating fines, jail time, and hunting and fishing license suspensions for certain crimes, including the commercialization of fish and wildlife.

Additionally the legislation would bring Massachusetts into the Interstate Law Enforcement Compact. Currently Massachusetts is one of only three states that is not a member of the network which has been helping wildlife agencies increase compliance with wildlife laws for 25 years.

With passage in the Senate, the bill will now go to the House. ARL would like to thank Senate bill sponsor Senator Mike Moore and House bill sponsors, Representatives Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Lori Ehrlich, and Cory Atkins for all their hard work and dedication.

Get Involved

ARL is dedicated to preventing animal cruelty and neglect by strengthening law and public policy, and continues to be a voice for domesticated animals and wildlife in need. Please view our current Legislative Agenda, and we urge you to contact your representatives and encourage them to help further animal protection policy in Massachusetts.

Sato Undergoes Costly Emergency Hernia Surgery

Tinker Expected to Make Full Recovery

Tinker, a 3-year-old Italian Greyhound Mix, was one of 11 dogs who came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) just after Christmas as part of a transport from All Sato Rescue in Puerto Rico. Being jet-bound from the island to Boston likely saved Tinker’s life.

According to All Sato, Tinker’s owner had moved after Hurricane Maria, and had simply left the sweet and loving dog behind. While initially seeming perfectly healthy, several days after her arrival in Boston, Tinker was spayed, and following surgery, ARL veterinary staff noticed she was having a hard time breathing.

tinker blog thumb

Tinker’s surgery was a success and she is on the road to recovery!

X-rays were taken and confirmed the diagnosis of a diaphragmatic hernia — a protrusion of the abdominal viscera into the diaphragm caused by a tear, which prohibits the lungs from expanding normally.  Despite attempts to make her comfortable, Tinker continued to have breathing issues, and was transferred to an Emergency Specialty Hospital for surgery.

Tinker’s condition was likely caused by a previous trauma, such as being hit by a car. She remained stable by probably limiting her activity but one thing is certain — she is lucky to have made it to ARL to have the problem corrected before she suffered from any life-threatening complications.

Road to Recovery

Tinker will remain in foster care for a little while longer as she continues to heal from her surgery, but will soon be made available for adoption so be sure to check back for updates!

YOU Can Help Even More Animals Like Tinker in 2018!

Tinker’s life-saving surgery cost approximately $4,500, and while animals like Tinker depend on us to care for them and make them well, we depend on YOU to support and help us continue our critical work. Animals at ARL receive the specialized veterinary care, kind attention, and socialization they need to thrive — only because of YOUR generous donations. Thank you for being a champion for animals and for giving generously today!

Boston “Puppy Mill Bill” Takes Effect

Ordinance Prohibits Sale of Puppies, Kittens and Rabbits in Boston Pet Shops

In March 2016, Boston City Council voted unanimously on an ordinance to ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in Boston pet shops, as well as in public parks and city streets. The ordinance took effect on December 31, 2017.

The ordinance was introduced by City Councilor Matt O’Malley and garnered tremendous support from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and other local and national animal welfare organizations.

“We are grateful to the Boston City Council for taking action for animals,” Mary Nee, President of ARL, said at the time of its passage. “The more we do to prevent inhumane breeders from growing their business in Massachusetts, the more we improve the safety and health of animals in our communities.”

Under the “Puppy Mill Bill” a pet shop within the city limits cannot sell, deliver, give away or transfer any commercially-bred dogs, cats, or rabbits. Additionally, citizens are prohibited from selling, exchanging, trading, or displaying for commercial purposes any dog, cat, or rabbit on any city street or public park. Animals for sale can however be displayed by animal organizations like ARL, or as part of an exhibition or educational program.

Puppy mills support the breeding of animals, and many of these animals are kept in unthinkable conditions, treated inhumanely, and suffer from disease; in an act to combat these operations ARL once again salutes Boston City Council and Mayor Marty Walsh for being champions for animals!


News Release: With Weather Advisories Come Tethering Restrictions

Animal Owners Can be Cited for Non-Compliance

With blizzard and winter storm warnings posted for much of Massachusetts, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners that Massachusetts law prohibits excessive tethering when such weather advisories have been issued.

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 and the MSPCA have the authority to issue citations or warning for owners who do not comply: $50 first offense, $100 second offense, $300 and possible loss of ownership with a third or subsequent offenses.

“The Animal Rescue League of Boston has received numerous reports from concerned citizens who have seen not just dogs, but cats, rabbits, horses and other animals who are outdoors and lack adequate shelter,” said Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services. “Animal protection statutes are in place for a reason, and owners need to take these weather conditions seriously, and make sure their pets are taken care of properly, or they could face legal consequences.”

With the impending storm, it’s important for animal owners to prepare not just for the snow and wind, but for the arctic conditions that will set in following the snowfall. Any preparatory storm plans need to incorporate animals.

“With a significant storm on Thursday and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills on Friday and Saturday, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) urges people to take precautions to keep their pets safe,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “People are asked to limit the time pets are outdoors, keep pets out of unattended vehicles, and to keep pets on leashes near frozen bodies of water.”

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. 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.


ARL Reflections: A Look Back at an Amazing 2017

Social Media Sensations!

An innovative idea, a heroic story of survival, or a sad case of abandonment which stirs our emotions and captivates the masses. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) found itself at the forefront of the social media world throughout 2017; garnering attention locally, nationally, and in some cases globally.

Watch the Top Social Media Sensations of 2017!

sm thumb1The Kitten Pouch. Invented by a volunteer about a decade ago, the kitten pouch allows staff to safely tote around under-socialized kittens and let them get used to being around humans. A Facebook post on this device went viral, and had animal welfare organizations from around the globe asking for the pattern for use in their respective facilities.


sm thumb3Ted. This curious little kitten was discovered wandering around the Ted Williams Tunnel during the Labor Day holiday weekend. When ARL responded, State Police assisted by shutting down traffic lanes so the little guy could be brought to safety.



sm thumb4Coffee. Coffee’s rescuers first saw Coffee walking near their car at a Starbucks — in Virginia. Turns out the kitten was looking for warmth, as he had wormed his way under the hood. His rescuers heard him meowing outside of New York City, and discovered him wedged between the grill and radiator! Once in Boston, the couple brought Coffee to ARL for treatment.


sm thumb2Trooper. When this poor kitten was trapped on the median along Route 128, he was rescued by a Massachusetts State Police Trooper, and his quick actions helped save the kittens life.



sm thumb5Phil. Phil was an instant media sensation when he was found abandoned in the cold along a road in Hingham. Many were shocked and dismayed, wondering why anyone would cast him aside like garbage; many also called ARL wanting to take him home! Phil’s story went national, and he even received care packages from as far away as Florida!


Want to see more? Click the links below!

2017 Terrific Transformations

2017 Top Animal Rescues

2017 Top Animal Protection Stories

2017 Animal Transport Recap

Let’s Help Even More Animals in 2018 — Together!

Only because of YOUR support could animals like Phil, Trooper, Ted, or Coffee receive the compassionate care that they so desperately needed. With your continued support, we can get at the root causes of neglect and abuse to ensure that all animals have a chance at a safe and healthy home in 2018. ARL receives no government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals like you to keep our important work going. Thank you for being a champion for animals and for giving generously today!

News Release: ARL Announces Receipt of PetSmart Charities Grant


December 29, 2017 — BOSTON, MA — Today, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) announced its receipt of a new $70,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America. The new grant will support intake diversion programs at ARL that will help local pets thrive and keep people and pets together.

ARL’s intake diversion grant is designed to provide a weekly, subsidized pet wellness clinic in the Codman Square neighborhood in Dorchester. The clinic is part of an on-going pilot project in the neighborhood to ensure pets in the community stay safe, healthy, and happy.

“Our research shows that in this neighborhood, the lack of access to affordable pet health services is bordering on crisis levels,” said Cheryl Traversi, ARL’s Associate Director of Community Services. “This generous grant allows ARL to truly impact our local community by bringing pet health and wellness services where they’re needed, thereby helping to keep pets safe, healthy, and at home with the people and families who love them.”

Historically, funding to support emerging best practices like intake diversion programming has been hard to come by in animal welfare. That’s why PetSmart Charities identified this as an area of great need, both for shelters and for pet parents across North America, and developed this new grant category.

“At PetSmart Charities, we understand that access to veterinary care can be a challenge, so we’ve allocated funding for local intake diversion programs to help subsidize health and wellness clinics aimed at keeping pets and people together,” said Sima Thakkar, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “We wish the Animal Rescue League of Boston great success with their pop-up pet wellness clinic in Dorchester and we are proud to support access to high-quality, affordable pet health and wellness services for Codman Square residents.”

Intake Diversion is just one of PetSmart Charities’ ten grant categories designed to support their expanded mission: to find lifelong loving homes for all pets by supporting programs that bring people and pets together. Funding from PetSmart Charities supports best practices and thought leadership that enhance the human-animal bond and keep more pets in loving homes and forever families. For more information, visit



The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. Founded in 1899, ARL provides high quality veterinary care, adoption, and rescue services; while also confronting the root causes of animal cruelty and neglect through innovative community programs, police investigations, and public advocacy. In 2016, ARL served more than 17,800 animals throughout Massachusetts. ARL is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We receive no government funding and rely solely on the generosity of individuals to support programs and services that help animals in need.

For more information please visit us online at; and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization with a mission to find lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together.  In addition to finding homes for almost 500,000 shelter pets each year through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities provides funding to non-profits aligned with its mission through four key areas of grant support:  Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets; and Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the pin pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores.  In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses 90 cents of every dollar donated and has become the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, donating about $300 million to date. PetSmart Charities, a 501(c)(3) organization, has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, an independent organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 14 years in a row — placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization.  To learn more visit

Follow PetSmart Charities on Twitter: 
Find PetSmart Charities on Facebook:
See PetSmart Charities on YouTube:


ARL Reflections: A Look Back at an Amazing 2017

Transports: A Growing Network of Relationships

Throughout 2017, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) transported nearly 300 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies from other regions of the country and the Caribbean. The circumstances for transporting may vary, but the end goal is always the same: to give each of these animals the opportunity to find their forever home.

Watch A Video Recap of our 2017 Transports!

Why We Transport

Access to care. In our region of the country puppies and kittens are in high demand. Why? It’s partly because affordable spay and neuter services like ARL’s Spay Waggin’ are readily available, which drastically cuts down on the number of unwanted litters. In the Southern regions of the United States, affordable spay and neuter services are not always available, and the warmer temperatures also extend mating seasons. Many shelters in these areas of the country are simply overwhelmed and inundated with animals who need homes.

Partnering with these organizations allows ARL to take these animals into our care, and find them new homes. This in turn satisfies the local demand for these animals, while freeing up space to allow our partner organizations to continue their important work.

ARL Transport Partners

  1. All Sato Rescue. This Puerto-Rico based organization aims to find homes for the staggering number of homeless dogs on this U.S. Territory island. ARL received its first transport of Satos (Puerto Rican slang for mutt) in July, another in August, and also received an emergency transport of dogs in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
  2. Peggy Adams ARL. Sixty kittens were flown via private jet from Palm Beach, FL to Boston back in September, and ARL also assisted the organization with an emergency transport following Hurricane Irma.
  3. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Alexander County Animal Services. ARL began its partnership with these two North Carolina organizations in October, and have already tentatively scheduled monthly transports for all of 2018!

Animals Depend on Us — and We Depend on You!

Animals at ARL receive the specialized veterinary care, kind attention, and socialization they need to thrive — only because of YOUR generous donations. We receive no government funding and rely solely on generous individuals like you to keep our important work going. Your tax-deductible donation will provide the critical resources necessary to help thousands of homeless animals, family pets, wildlife, and community most in need in 2018. Thank you for being a champion for animals and for giving generously today!

A Home for the Holidays: Brian and Glade

Mentoring Leads to Bonding

At the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), we see many cats and kittens that are under-socialized and need constant interaction to replace fear with trust. More often than not these interactions are done by humans, but sometimes all it takes is the mentoring of another feline to turn these under-socialized cats around.

Life of Brian

Brian and his sister came to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center through the organization’s Community Cat Initiative in early December. At about 11-weeks, he and his sibling fit the definition of under-socialized to a tee. They hissed, spit, displayed defensive body language, and did not want to be handled. The kittens spent some time in foster care for some extra attention, and when they returned Brian’s sibling was socialized and quickly adopted, but unfortunately he was still standoffish.

Glade the Mentor

With Brian’s behavior still needing some adjusting, his mentor came in the form of Glade, a one-and-a-half-year-old cat. Glade himself had displayed under-socialized behaviors, but over time had become “charming, social, playful, and comfortable.”

ARL staff put the two together, and while Brian initially hissed at Glade, after a few minutes the two cats were nose to nose and Brian was ready to learn.

Brian watched how Glade interacted with people, and when Brian would begin to get hissy, Glade would correct his behavior. Over the course of just one weekend, Brian went from under-socialized to purring with people and displaying his charming personality!

A Bonded Pair

The weekend experience bonded Brian and Glade, and staff recommended that they find their forever home together. Of course it didn’t take long, and we are thrilled to report that kitten and mentor have been adopted and spent the holidays together in their new home!

YOU Can Help Even More Animals Like Brian in 2018!

Animals at ARL receive the specialized veterinary care, kind attention, and socialization they need to thrive — only because of YOUR generous donations. We receive no government funding and rely solely on generous individuals like you to keep our important work going. Your tax-deductible donation will provide the critical resources necessary to help thousands of homeless animals, family pets, wildlife, and community most in need in 2018. Thank you for being a champion for animals and for giving generously today!

ARL Reflections: A Look Back at an Amazing 2017

The Top Rescues of the Year

As the only animal organization in Massachusetts with a dedicated technical rescue team, when a domesticated or wild animal is in distress, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services is there to help. ARL Rescue Services helps thousands of animals annually.

Whether it’s a cat in a tree, or an injured animal, ARL’s rescue agents respond quickly, and compassionately to ensure the animal is saved and given the best rehabilitation treatment possible.

Watch the Top 5 Rescues of 2017!

rv1Taunton Cat. This frisky kitty got out of the house and was stuck 50-feet up in a tree for several days. ARL scaled the tree, rescued August, and returned him safely to his owner.



rt3Quincy Squirrel. When a squirrel in Quincy became stuck in the drain of a garbage dumpster, bystanders spread butter on him to try and get him free. It didn’t work, but when ARL arrived on-scene, rescue agents quickly freed the squirrel using other methods. He was treated, cleaned up and returned to the wild.


rt5Woburn Raccoon. Normally when a raccoon is sitting in a tree it’s not a big deal. However this curious guy had a plastic jar stuck on his head, creating a dangerous situation. ARL rescue climbed the tree, snared the jar with an extension pole, leaving the raccoon free to enjoy his day!



rt2NEU Ducks. A mother and her 11 ducklings were trapped along a window-well on the campus of Northeastern University. With the assistance of NEU Police, the mama duck and her ducklings were netted, and brought to the Back Bay Fens, where they were released into the water.



rt2WGBH Geese. For a third straight year, ARL Rescue Services was dispatched to the WGBH building due to a family of geese on the roof. The geese were captures, and released into the nearby Charles River.


It’s not too late to help animals in need!

The above stories are just a tiny sample-size of the work that ARL is doing every day. Animals at ARL receive the specialized veterinary care, kind attention, and socialization they need to thrive — only because of YOUR generous donations. ARL receives no government funding, relying solely on the generosity of individuals like you to keep our important work going. We need your continued support today to ensure we start the New Year fully-funded to respond to the nearly 18,000 animals who will depend on us for help. Your tax-deductible donation will provide the critical resources necessary to help thousands of homeless animals, family pets, wildlife, and communities most in need in 2018.

Thank you for being a Champion for Animals and for giving generously today!