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Oliver Twist: One “Sweet Baby” Home for Holidays

The once frail puppy now specializes in fetching sticks in the woods

This is what poor little Oliver Twist looked like when our Senior Rescue Technician, Danielle, first brought him in.

This is what poor Oliver Twist looked like when our Rescue Team first brought him in.

One chilly morning in early this past April, Jeff, a driver for FedEx, was making deliveries in Boston when he discovered a beyond-skinny 6 month-old puppy wandering the streets and shivering in the cold. He immediately contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), and our Rescue Services Team went to work to find the dog.

The frail puppy stumbled over to the Rescue Team, he was so weak. His body was severely emaciated—lacking any fat and muscle, his bones jutted through his skin.  He was covered is his own urine and feces and had long overgrown nails.

At the ARL’s Boston adoption center, he received immediate medical attention along with the name, Oliver Twist.  On the Purina body condition scale a score of “9” is considered obese and “1” is extremely lean; Oliver scored less than 1. He was also diagnosed with a bacterial infection.

Over the next few weeks, Oliver’s condition stabilized. He was placed on a progressive re-feeding schedule and soon began to eat on his own. ARL veterinarians checked him daily to ensure that he was gaining the expected amount of weight and treated his infection. He also received lots of love and attention from adoption center staff.

Oliver Twist now getting love at home.

Oliver Twist now getting love at home.

Meanwhile, the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection put out requests for information to identify who severely neglected Oliver.  To date, a suspect has not been found.

With the special care and attention he received, Oliver was ready for a home just a few weeks after his rescue.  Well on his way to recovery, he had become a playful, loving puppy who adored attention from people.

And attention is what he gets from his new family! Grieving the loss of their 13-year-old boxer, Billie Jean Nebesky and her daughter saw Oliver’s story on the news.  They instantly felt a connection: “We knew he needed us and we needed him.”

Today, they happily report Oliver has made himself completely at home and loves to fetch big sticks in the woods.

“If we sit down in a chair, Oliver will immediately join you and cuddle,” smiles his new mom.  “He clearly knows he is part of our family.  He is handsome, smart, friendly and very affectionate. He is just a sweet baby!”

Everyone at the ARL is grateful for the outpouring of donations to assist Oliver Twist as he recovered from severe neglect.  Thanks to you, he is happy, healthy, and home for the holidays!

You can make a donation today to help animals at the ARL find loving homes, just like Oliver Twist did.


Littlest of the Middleboro Puppies Goes Home for the Holidays Today

ARL reports Babybel has recovered from cruel conditions and looking forward to romping in the snow 

Media Avail
1:30 PM, Friday, December 13, 2013
ARL’s Dedham Adoption Center
55 Anna’s Place, Dedham, MA

Dedham, MA –Life is looking very merry and bright indeed this holiday season for Babybel, the tiniest of the 13 puppies found jammed into a crate during a SWAT team raid at a home in Middleboro earlier in October.

The 5-week-old puppies were covered in filth, emaciated, and dehydrated, and according to the director of the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston’s Center for Animal Protection, Lt. Alan Borgal, they had clearly been living in cruel conditions.

baby bel then

Babybel, pictured above, remained under the care of a local veterinarian in the first few days after police discovered her jammed in a crate with her 12 siblings.

The local veterinarian who provided urgent care after their rescue described Babybel and her siblings as “little bone racks,” and reported they each weighed in at 2 pounds or less. He believed sickly Babybel wouldn’t have made it through another night if authorities hadn’t found her.

Too frail to travel, she remained under the care of the local veterinarian until she could join her siblings at the ARL’s adoption center in Dedham a few days later. Because she needed more one-on-one care to heal and develop physically and socially, Babybel went to a dedicated ARL foster volunteer to get the special attention and training she needed.

In just a few short weeks, Babybel has grown by leaps and bounds. Her foster mom provided details on her personality and habits so the staff at the Dedham adoption center could find her a safe and loving home.

Now recovered from cruel conditions, today Babybel goes home for the holidays with her new family.

To learn more about the Middleboro puppies rescue and recovery, visit arlboston.org/middleboro-puppies-are-home-for-the-holidays.

About the Animal Rescue League
Founded in 1899, the Animal Rescue League of Boston is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need.

The ARL launched “Home for the Holidays,” a month-long community outreach campaign in December to encourage adoption and support for shelter animals. By featuring stories of animals rescued from cruel conditions, now recovered and living happy lives, as well as animals available for adoption, the ARL hopes to find more animals a home this holiday season.

To learn more about the ARL’s “Home for the Holidays” visit arlboston.org/homeforholidays2013.


Middleboro Puppies are Home for the Holidays

Recovered from Cruel Conditions & Home for the Holidays

Tuukka, Franny, Timmy, Sammy, Grunt, Moose, Honey, Seamus, Bleu, Cheddar, Colby, Brie, and Babybel all have a home for the holidays. They will have the chance to romp in the snow for the first time and snuggle up next to their human companions when they come in from the cold.

Tuukka with his new family.

Tuukka with his new family.

Life is looking very merry and bright indeed for these happy pups.

Found jammed into a crate during a SWAT team raid at a home in Middleboro earlier in October, the thirteen 5-week old puppies were covered in filth, emaciated, and dehydrated.  According to the director of the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection, they had clearly been living in cruel conditions.

The local veterinarian who provided urgent care after their rescue described them as “little bone racks,” and reported they each weighed in at 2 pounds or less.  He believed the littlest one, tiny Babybel wouldn’t have made it through another night if authorities hadn’t found her.

Within 24 hours of their discovery, all but Babybel had checked into the three ARL adoption centers in Boston, Dedham, and Brewster.   Too sick to travel, she remained under the care of the local veterinarian until she could join her siblings a few days later.

At our adoption centers, each puppy received a thorough medical exam, vaccinations, and lab work.   They curled up with blankets and stuffed animals to rest, all warm and snug.

Bleu with his hew family.

Bleu with his hew family.

Because they needed more one-on-one care to heal and develop physically and socially, the puppies went to dedicated ARL foster volunteers to get the special attention and training they needed.  For the first time in their lives, they experienced love, compassion, and a positive bond with the people caring for them.

In just a few short weeks, the puppies had grown by leaps and bounds.  Their foster parents provided details on their personalities and habits so the adoption centers could match them with the right families.

All are now enjoying life with their families, looking forward to romping in the snow for the first time.

Tuukka’s family, for example, reports that “his days are filled with lots of snuggles, walks, car rides, and love and affection.”  Spoiled rotten (in a good way) with lots of toys and treats, he loves to sleep with his head on a pillow and the blanket over him.

Meanwhile, Tuukka’s sister Franny has a new big brother in her adoptive home to play with.  Her new mom says Franny is learning new things every day and adjusting to her new home wonderfully.

“We are so blessed to have the opportunity to give Franny a loving, forever home and have her be a part of our family/pack!!” –Franny’s new mom

Moose (with Mark Pirruccio of Brewster ), Seamus (with Marie of Orleans), Grunt (with Jayne of Brewster) and Honey Pot (with Lisa of Provincetown)

Moose (with Mark Pirruccio of Brewster ), Seamus (with Marie of Orleans), Grunt (with Jayne of Brewster) and Honey Pot (with Lisa of Provincetown)


Puppy Doe Update: Date Set for Suspect’s Next Court Appearance

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey announced the arraignment of the suspect in the Puppy Doe abuse case  is scheduled for December 19 at 2 pm in Norfolk Superior Court.

Late last week, the Norfolk County Grand Jury handed down 12 indictments for animal abuse and one indictment for misleading police in the on-going investigation of the suspect.  Those indictments moved the case from Quincy District Court to Norfolk Superior Court.

As reported on Boston.com, the move from District to Superior Court means that if convicted, the suspect could face a sentence of up to 5 years per count in state prison.  District Court can only impose a maximum sentence of two and half years in a county House of Correction.

Like you, we will continue to closely follow criminal proceedings against the suspect.   To learn more about what you can do to prevent future case of animal abuse, visit arlboston.org/take-action.


Puppy Doe Update: Indictments Issued By Grand Jury

Yesterday, Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey announced the Norfolk County Grand Jury handed down 12 indictments for animal abuse and one indictment for misleading police in the on-going investigation of the suspect in the Puppy Doe case.

“Today’s indictments move the existing case from the Quincy District Court to the Norfolk Superior Court,” District Attorney Morrissey also reported.

In Massachusetts, a District Court can only impose  a maximum sentence of two and a half years in a county House of Correction.  Previously, the District Attorney’s Office indicated each count of animal abuse carries a five-year prison term.

“Only a justice of the Superior Court can order longer terms to be served in a State Prison,” District Attorney Morrissey explained.

 Morrissey said that the suspect’s arraignment on these indictments in Norfolk Superior Court has not yet been scheduled, but that he expects it to be set before December 20, when the defendant would otherwise return to the Quincy District Court. “At the time of the Superior Court arraignment, the District Court case will be withdrawn as superseded.”

The suspect plead not guilty to multiple counts of animal cruelty and one count of misleading police investigators at his arraignment in late October in Quincy District Court.   At the arraignment, Judge Mark S. Coven ordered the suspect held on $500,000 cash bail.

Like you, we will continue to closely follow criminal proceedings against the suspect.   To learn more about what you can do to prevent future case of animal abuse, visit arlboston.org/take-action.


Puppy Doe Update: Next Court Date Continued to 12/20

The Norfolk County District Attorney’s office announced that Quincy District Court has issued a continuance in the case of Puppy Doe, the young adult female dog found severely injured and starved near a park in  Quincy.   The Court continued proceeding to December 20.

Earlier this month, the suspect in the case was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty.  He remains incarcerated as the investigation in the case continues.

Were it not for people expressing their concerns to authorities about the injuries Puppy Doe sustained, the world might never have known about one of the worst cases of animal abuse anyone at the ARL has ever seen.

Learn more about how you can give a voice to victims of animal cruelty by visiting arlboston.org/take-action

11-6 See something say something


How to Identify Signs of Animal Abuse

Identifying Potential Pet Abuse

We all have a role to play in prevention. All too often, animal cruelty remains undiscovered. By many estimates, 4 out of 5 cases remain concealed, leaving animals to suffer in silence.

Recognizing and reporting animal abuse is especially important, due to the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. A correlation between animal abuse, family violence, and other forms of community violence has been established.

11-13 Signs of Animal AbuseTake note of the following:

  • If a person keeps changing the story about their pet’s history
  • Listen to children’s responses to questions about their pets
  • Ask about other household pets
  • Observe how family members interact with each other
  • Observe how an animal acts around certain family members

Warning signs that could raise suspicion a.k.a. red flags:

  • Pets with chronic injuries or medical conditions that go untreated
  • Other injuries that are healing, in addition to a new injury
  • Pet owners who use the services of several veterinarians
  • Pet owners who constantly have new puppies or kittens, but not adult or aging pets
  • Injuries attributed to unknown causes, i.e. someone tells you that their pet has many accidental injuries
  • Multiple injured animals at the same house

Suspect animal cruelty, neglect, or abuse? Call (617) 426-9170 x110 or email cruelty@arlboston.org.

Your calls are confidential; however we will require some information to file a valid police report.

Not sure if it’s animal cruelty? Learn the 7 warning signs.

*Portions of this blog post have been reposted from an article called How to Recognize Animal Abuse and What to do About it by the Veterinary Team Brief by Lisa Bourazak, DVM, MPT, Kate Creevy DVM, MS, DACVIM, and Karen Cornell DVM, PhD, DACVS.


Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

Studies Show a Correlation Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

In light of the recent Puppy Doe case, we’re discussing the link between animal abuse and domestic violence and why it’s important to say something if you see something.

When you report animal abuse, you are likely helping other members of the family in addition to the animal.

*For example, 71% of women seeking shelter at a safe house for battered partners who reported owning a pet reported that their partner had threatened and/or actually hurt or killed one or more of their pets, although it was not easy for them to discuss. In one study, 26 women who had been the subjects of domestic violence reported that their male partners had also verbally and/or physically abused the household pet(s), yet the majority of the women were unwilling to discuss it with their veterinarian.3

Other studies have shown that children who live in violent households are more likely to be cruel to animals. In a survey of 860 college students regarding family violence and animal abuse, 60% of students who reported witnessing or perpetrating animal cruelty as a child also reported experiences with child maltreatment or domestic violence.

DEFINING ABUSE

Animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect are defined differently, according to the intent of the perpetrator. According to the AVMA

  • Animal cruelty is any deliberate act that, by intention or neglect, causes an animal unnecessary pain or suffering, including inflicting pain on an animal for the abuser’s enjoyment or amusement.
  • Animal abuse is the maltreatment of an animal regardless of the perpetrator’s intent, motivation, or mental condition. The perpetrator’s deliberate intent distinguishes cruelty from abuse.
  • Animal neglect is defined as the failure to provide an animal sufficient water, food, shelter, and/or veterinary care; lack of grooming; and lack of sanitation. These failures may be the result of ignorance, poverty, or other extenuating circumstances. This is the most commonly investigated situation.

*This blog post has been reposted from an article called How to Recognize Animal Abuse and What to do About it by the Veterinary Team Brief by Lisa Bourazak, DVM, MPT, Kate Creevy DVM, MS, DACVIM, and Karen Cornell DVM, PhD, DACVS.


Middleboro Puppies Update: Getting Stronger Every Day

They’re Playing Through the Day and Sleeping Through the Night

We’ve promised to give you regular updates on the Middleboro Puppies who were rescued during a drug and weapons raid on a home in Middleboro, MA back on October 3, so here’s a little something on how they’re doing. They’ve been in the care of ARL foster parents for almost a month now and are making enormous progress. One of our foster parents shared this little tidbit about her foster pups whom she has lovingly named Franny and Ollie.

Franny is much smaller than her brother…but she is very rambunctious and usually in charge.  She likes to chat (and has the cutest little bark) and she also likes to follow us everywhere and cuddle up on your lap the minute you sit down.  She loves food and she loves playing hard and napping hard with her brother.

Ollie is just the sweetest puppy.  His beautiful eyes just melt your heart.  He is very gentle and calm for a puppy (I don’t think that we have ever heard him bark) and he is SO interested in people…and cats.  He is also very smart…very good with the food puzzles.

They both sleep through the night very well.  They love to play with sticks and chase each other in circles in our backyard. It’s amazing in three weeks how much they have grown and thrived from the condition they were in when rescued. It really makes Jon and I grateful for all the components of the League that make outcomes like this possible. They are amazing little pups that are going to make wonderful companions and bring immense joy to their future adopters!” ~ Amelia Hughes

When the puppies arrived at the ARL they were in terrible condition. All the the puppies were emaciated and dehydrated, covered in feces and riddled with worms. You can imagine how grateful we are to have a network of foster parents who care for these little guys and gals until they are healthy and strong enough to be adopted. The puppies still have a way to go and are not yet available for adoption, but we’ll let you know as soon as they are! Read their story.

Franny and Ollie play outside in the leaves.

Franny and Ollie play outside in the leaves in their adorable sweaters. Photo Credit: Amelia Hughes


PUPPY DOE UPDATE: Suspect Faces 11 Counts of Animal Cruelty

ARL will continue to support what remains an active investigation

The Quincy Police Department announced an arrest in the Puppy Doe abuse case and today the suspect was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty in Quincy District Court.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey, Quincy Chief of Police Paul Keenan, and ARL president Mary Nee joined together for a press conference immediately following today’s court proceedings.