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Lt. Alan Borgal & Dr. Gary Patronek Explain Animal Hoarding

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING – What You Can Do to Help Animals and People at Risk

Animal hoarding is an urgent and serious community problem effecting cities and towns across Massachusetts.

According to Lt. Alan Borgal, director of law enforcement at the ARL, “the situations that the Animal Rescue League of Boston encounters are becoming more frequent and increasingly complex.”

Hoarding situations cause substantial long-term animal suffering and often lead to more advanced forms of animal cruelty. Often associated with adult self-neglect and/or mental illness, animal hoarding can also place children, the elderly, dependent adults, property, and public health at risk.

ARL Blog sat down with Lt. Alan Borgal and Dr. Gary Patronek, founder of the Hoarding of Animal Research Consortium and noted animal hoarding expert, hear them explain the complex issue of animal hoarding:

animal hoarding quick statsARL Blog: What is animal hoarding?

Dr. Patronek: Animal hoarding shares many of the same characteristics and behaviors of ‘object hoarding’, a massive accumulation of objects due to excessive emotional attachment to possessions.  The result is cluttered and unsanitary living spaces. In many cases, hoarders view animals the same way they view the other inanimate objects they collect.

Lt. Borgal: We typically encounter cases where the hoarding involves more objects than animals. In these homes, there is no sanitary space.  The animals and the hoarder are literally trapped in their own filth. Animals suffer mostly from lack veterinary care, spay or neutering, poor nutrition, and no access to adequate clean water.  As a result, they are often infested with external parasites like fleas while competing for food and attention.

Animals collected range from cats and dogs to reptiles, rodents, birds, exotic animals, and even farm animals and wildlife.

Children, the elderly, and the handicapped are also subject to and unable to escape from these unsanitary and abusive conditions. The hoarder fails to see the harmful health effects that living in an ammonia-rich and flea, tick, or rodent infested environment causes to themselves and to others.

ARL Blog: What is the profile of an animal hoarder?

GP: Although 70% of the subjects who come to the attention of authorities are unmarried females, studies show that there is an equal ratio of male to female animal hoarders. In general, there are 3 main types of animal hoarders: overwhelmed caregivers, rescuer hoarders, and exploiter hoarders.

AB: Unfortunately, no animal hoarder fits neatly into any one profile. Animal hoarders come from a wide range of educational, economic, and cultural backgrounds and they typically appear to be very “put together” in public.

ARL Blog: How do find out about and respond to animal hoarding situations?

AB: Hoarding cases are often initially discovered when an outside municipality is called in for a medical emergency, an arrest, or a home maintenance issue. Because of the sensitive nature, we approach the suspects in animal hoarding situations differently than we would in another type of animal cruelty case.

We do our best to be courteous to them to ultimately build up their trust.  This approach can take a long time. While about 40% go along with the plan that we’ve outlined for them, we give the 50% of resistant subjects a lawful order, obtain a court order to remove the animals, and start the process to prosecute them on felony charges.

Unfortunately, many animal hoarding cases do break down, requiring a crisis response from a variety of social service agencies, local law enforcement, and animal welfare organizations.

ARL Blog: Is animal hoarding preventable?

GP: Just as a variety of stakeholders must cooperate to intervene, investigate, and address a hoarding problem, a variety of stakeholders must work together to monitor a hoarder’s adherence to a plan to manage the situation. As with other relapsing conditions, hoarding requires constant follow-up and support from animal welfare and a social service agencies. Sadly for some, hoarding can be a never-ending cycle.

AB: Yes! Like other forms of animal cruelty, YOU can play a critical role in getting help for the animals and people involved in a hoarding situation. Say something….

  • To your local authorities about concerns you have about animals in distress.
  • To friends, families, and colleagues to raise awareness about the serious issue of animal hoarding.
  • To Massachusetts elected officials – urge them to pay attention to this urgent community issue!

YOU CAN HELP PREVENT ANIMALS FROM FUTURE HARM!

An anonymous donor who has a strong belief in caring for and protecting animals has challenged us to triple a $5,000 donation and raise $15,000 before the end of October to support the ARL’s law enforcement team. And with just 4 days left to go, we have $2,500 left to raise to make our goal!

All donations to ARL’s Cruelty Prevention fund drive will help pay for the on-going efforts of our law enforcement team to provide animals in need with assistance.

DONATE NOW

As a SPECIAL THANK YOU from the Onyx Hotel… Donate $250 or more by midnight TODAY, Wednesday, October 28, and you will be automatically entered-to-win a (1) night stay for you and a friend at the very pet-friendly Onyx Hotel in Boston, MA!

Click here or on the DONATE button below to make a donation to the ARL’s Cruelty Prevention Fund Drive.

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VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our anonymous challenge donor, Onyx Hotel, and everyone who has made a donation to support animals in need during the ARL’s Cruelty Prevention fund drive!


ARL Rescue Assists in Capture of Brookline Cockatoo

Pet bird finally brought in after months on the fly

After several months of living out in the wilds of Brookline, Massachusetts, pet cockatoo Dino is finally back in his cage.

The ARL’s Rescue Services team stepped in to assist the owners of the bird and Brookline police and animal control last week.

Dino Brookline Cockatoo evades capture

Dino, an escaped pet cockatoo, evaded capture all summer long. The ARL rescue services team stepped in to offer assistance in his capture late last week in the hopes of bringing him before winter.

Though residents of the Brookline neighborhood had grown a bit weary of his penchant for eating siding and early morning screeching, they also felt concern for Dino’s well-being with winter on the way.

As temperatures began to plummet late last week, the urgency to bring him in grew.

Working alongside other concerned rescuers, the ARL relied on a bit of bird psychology to bring in this feathered friend.  Cockatoos can become jealous of other birds, so the team set a special trap and with a lure bird to draw Dino’s attention.

Apparently green with envy, Dino entered the cage and his rogue wanderer days were over.

This evening, Dino is headed for a visit with his veterinarian to make sure all is well.

THANK YOU to the Brookline Police, Brookline Animal Control, the other rescue and caged bird groups, and the very patient neighbors and owner of the home that had become Dino’s favorite roosting spot.  Your kindness and compassion for this wayward bird is very much appreciated!

Photos courtesy of The Boston Globe.

 


They Call it Puppy Love

BVC shares 3 real health benefits of owning a dog

October is National Adopt-a-Dog Month and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind you about all of the amazing benefits of adding a canine companion to your family. This week, we focus on the power of the human-animal bond and how it can positively impact YOUR physical and mental health!

When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life. At the ARL, we have many incredible shelter dogs looking for a lifelong human companion (just like you!) to shower with loyalty and affection.

In addition to becoming your new best friend, however, a dog can give you even more than you bargained for- in a good way! Here are 3 real health benefits of adopting a shelter dog:

1. You’ll feel that “puppy love”… but, it’s not just love you’re feeling

3 real health benefits of owning a dog

Ready to feel that “puppy love” feeling? Stop by our Boston Shelter and fall in love with Pearce. Click on his photo to get to know him.

Did you know… that petting, smooching, or even looking at your pup can alter your biochemistry? It’s true! When a dog recognizes a familiar friendly person and that person makes eye contact with them, oxytocin (a.k.a. “the feel-good” hormone”) is released in BOTH the canine and human.

A surge of oxytocin can instantly decrease blood pressure and relieve stress and anxiety in both the dog and the person. This may help explain why the human-animal bond can be so powerful!

2. You’ll start to realize it’s all about life’s simple pleasures

As humans, we’re constantly on-the-go. We wear many hats throughout the day and feel the burden of the bills we need to pay, deadlines we need to meet, and the responsibility of managing an equally active family. We often envy the life of our dog whose only big decisions involve which toy (or shoe) to chew on and, of course, which section of the couch is comfiest.

While we don’t necessarily have the luxury of living a life parallel to our canine companions, we can learn an important lesson from them, which is: to appreciate the simple things in life.

3. You’ll lead a more active lifestyle… without even realizing it

Let’s face it: a dog’s energy is contagious. They’re always ready for playtime or a long walk and, although we may not be, we can’t resist that expectant look in their sweet eyes. Let their eagerness to stretch their legs motivate you to get moving too!

Set a daily walking or running routine for you and your pup to keep you both active and healthy. The more you exercise with you dog, the more they will expect it- and try to hold you to it!

Click here to search adoptable dogs at an ARL location. 

LOVE YOUR PET… LOVE YOUR VET! Boston Veterinary Care is dedicated to keeping your pet happy and healthy.

A big THANK YOU to our Adopt-a-Dog month media sponsor CITYSIDE SUBARU and to our media partners WCVB TV 5 and MeTV for sharing the importance of dog adoptions with our community, and your viewers!

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ARL’s Law Enforcement Team On the Scene in Westport, MA

Donations during Cruelty Prevention Fund Drive support animal protection work

Every day, the ARL’s law enforcement team is out in cities and towns, offering valuable expertise to local authorities in animal cruelty investigations and support with animals who need more extensive veterinary aid.

Though much of the team’s work is focused on preventing a situation where animals and people are at risk, they are also on the scene in a crisis…as was the case in Westport, MA a few weeks ago.

In September, Westport police department and animal control contacted the ARL for help with recovering animals from an abandoned home.

“The house was in poor condition with fleas, animal feces on the floor with large amounts of both wet and dry clutter,” according to police.

7 warning signs of animal cruelty

To prevent sad and disturbing situations such as the Westport case, we urge citizens to report concerns about animal cruelty to local authorities before it’s too late.

In total, 6 animals were discovered: 2 deceased dogs, 1 deceased lizard, and 3 cats in very poor condition.  Investigators could not find adequate food or water in the house.

The two decaying American Eskimo dogs were estimated to be about 6 and 12 years old. One was found inside of a large trash bag and had appeared to be dead for quite some time. The other dog was discovered behind a pile of garbage bags inside the bedroom closet with a choke-chain around its midsection and a partially eaten paperback book in its mouth.

Investigators also found a deceased bearded dragon in a dirty terrarium, and a litter box overflowing with feces.

The ARL brought the three cats to our Boston shelter for emergency medical care. Sadly, one of the cats was in such poor physical condition, he passed away shortly after arrival. The two remaining cats were examined and treated for fleas and other parasites. Fortunately, they did not experience any serious complications and were medically cleared for adoption!

With assistance from the ARL’s law enforcement team, Westport police charged three suspects who formerly resided at the home with 6 counts of animal cruelty last Wednesday.  The ARL will continue to support the prosecution of this case.

Your donations during the Cruelty Prevention Fund Drive are absolutely critical to ensuring the ARL’s law enforcement team is ready to answer the call for help!

The ARL receives no government funding to provide this kind of assistance to local authorities and animals in distress.

YOU CAN HELP PREVENT ANIMALS FROM FUTURE HARM!

An anonymous donor who has a strong belief in caring for and protecting animals has challenged us to triple a $5,000 donation and raise $15,000 before the end of October to support the ARL’s law enforcement team.

And with just 11 days left to go, we have $5,000 left to raise to make our goal!

All donations to ARL’s Cruelty Prevention fund drive will help pay for the on-going efforts of our law enforcement team to provide animals in need with assistance.

DONATE NOW

As a SPECIAL THANK YOU from an anonymous donor… Donate $100 or more by Thursday, October 22, and you will automatically be entered to win Boston Celtics tickets* for you and a friend!

Click here or on the DONATE button below to make a donation to the ARL’s Cruelty Prevention Fund Drive.

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VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our anonymous challenge donor, our anonymous Celtic’s tickets donor, and everyone who has made a donation to support animals in need during the ARL’s Cruelty Prevention fund drive!

*(2) tickets to see the Boston Celtics vs. the Atlanta Hawks at the TD Garden on Friday, December 18, 2015. Seats are in Loge 6.


October is National Animal Safety & Protection Month

DONATEREPORT animal cruelty suspicions to authorities – they’re both critical to prevention!

If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind the public about the importance of recognizing and reporting animal cruelty.

Animal cruelty comes in many forms, including physical abuse, neglect of basic care, abandonment, dog fighting, and animal hoarding. Because many studies have demonstrated a strong link between cruelty to animals and other forms of domestic and community violence, prevention plays a critical role in improving the safety and welfare of both animals and people in Massachusetts.

Click on the play button below to watch Lt. Alan Borgal, director of law enforcement at the ARL, talk about the urgency of preventing animal cruelty at the community-level:

Although Alan and his team work closely with the state, as well as many cities and towns, they receive no government funding to provide this kind of assistance to animals in need. ARL’s law enforcement department can only do this important work with your support!

When you give during the ARL’s CRUELTY PREVENTION FUND DRIVE, you will help pay for the on-going efforts of our law enforcement team to provide animals suffering from abuse and neglect with the assistance that they need to recover.

An anonymous donor who has a strong belief in caring for and protecting our animals has challenged us to triple a $5,000 donation and raise $15,000 in October to support the ARL’s law enforcement department!

AS A SPECIAL THANK YOU… The first 15 people to donate $25 or more TODAY, October 16, 2015, will receive an ARL bookmark!

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VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our anonymous challenge donor and everyone who has made a donation to support animals in need during the ARL’s Cruelty Prevention fund drive!

Learn more about preventing animal cruelty.


Dawn Leelaub Celebrates 25 Years at the ARL

ARL’s Dawn Leelaub gives animals at our Brewster shelter a chance at a better life- and is grateful for how much they’ve given her in return

ARL’s Brewster shelter has served the community of Cape Cod since 1921 providing care, housing, and an adoption center for animals of all species, including horses, livestock, and companion animals.

In 2014, ARL’s Brewster shelter found permanent homes for 723 animals thanks in part to assistant shelter manager, Dawn Leelaub, as well as the amazing volunteers and shelter staff! One word that can sum up this shelter’s success over the years is TEAMWORK. “I’m always collaborating with the same people- from animal intake, to behavioral evaluations, to daily cage cleaning, to adoption- which I really love,” explains Dawn.

brewster shelter

Dawn can often been seen giving lots of love and attention to the Brewster Shelter’s furry residents.

ARL Blog sat down with Dawn to find out more about the important work that she does at ARL’s Brewster shelter. Here’s what she had to say…

ARL Blog: You’ve been with the ARL for 25 years! Congratulations! How had your position within the organization evolved?

Dawn Leelaub: Thank you! I have had the luxury of growing up, so to speak, within the ARL. I started at the Brewster shelter when I was 19-years-old as a “kennel attendant.” Following that, I actually went back to school to become an Animal Control Officer! Later, I was promoted to supervisor of the Brewster shelter, and currently I am the assistant manager.

I work for an unbelievable organization that is constantly re-evaluating itself to become better and better. The ARL offers many types of training opportunities, so my colleagues and I are constantly evolving and learning something new in our field. Additionally, as a person, I’ve learned to listen more than I speak and to just be more aware.

ARL Blog: What made you stay with the ARL so long? I’m sure it has a little something to do with the adorable animals you spend time with every day!

DL: I have so much respect for the ARL; it has given me purpose. Someone once told me that when you look in the mirror you have to like the reflection appearing back onto you. I’m proud of what I do and am very lucky to have found it at 19!

Without sounding too cliché, I help animals and people, but they helped me as well! It’s very special to know that I have made an impact on someone’s life and then find out that they want to do the same for me in return.

ARL Blog: ARL’s Brewster shelter has been helping animals in the Cape Cod community since 1921! Is there anything that makes the Brewster shelter unique compared to the Boston and Dedham locations?

DL: The Brewster shelter is very special in its own right. First and foremost, we have the most amazing community! We are surrounded by people who really care about us and are willing to jump in and help out by donating supplies or whatever the shelter may need; it’s very humbling. I’ve lived in the area my entire life, so I definitely have my own deep connection with Brewster.

People from the community will casually drop by to say hello to our staff and the animals and see how we’re doing. On a Saturday alone, we’ll have upwards of 150 visitors! It’s amazing to see adopters who I helped 25 years ago come here with their children.

ARL Blog: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

DL: The opportunity to help and be surrounded by so many amazing animals that I can’t help but love! Recently, a dog came into our Brewster shelter with not a stitch of fur and in really bad shape; she had never been seen by a veterinarian in her life. When she first arrived, she was really shy and afraid, but within a few days she’s completely transformed!  Now she loves talking to me and always has a happy and peaceful expression on her face. You can tell that she feels good and knows that she’s being well taken care of. We’ve definitely bonded and I know we’re going to make her life better.

I get so excited when the animals I’ve helped come back to visit me with their new families. I’m so thankful that the animals have found a loving home and that I’m able to develop a relationship with their adopters. My hope is that the families will come back and adopt other animals from the ARL in the future- and most of them do!

ARL Blog: What is the most challenging part of your job?

DL: I’m always working to help to change the public’s perception about the animals that come into our shelters. There is no such thing as a “bad” dog, cat, guinea pig, etc. The fact is that many animals find their way into ARL’s shelters through no fault of their own–and we’re here to help them. It’s important for me to help the community understand what the ARL does and why we’re here.

ARL Blog: What’s your favorite “happy tail” moment at the shelter?

DL: Perhaps one of my favorite memories is the adoption of pot-bellied pig, Albert Swinestein. He was an unbelievable character and we really bonded. In fact, he was so special that his adopters drove all the way up from West Virginia during a blizzard to pick him up! The family recently sent an update letting me know that his new best friend is their pet bulldog.

To learn more about ARL’s Brewster shelter, visit arlboston.org/brewster-shelter


DIY Dog Obstacle Course

Keep your pup in tip-top shape with this fun backyard activity

It’s National-Adopt-a-Dog month and the ARL is celebrating our beloved canine companions all October long! While summer presents us with natural opportunities to stay active with our pet, such as hiking and swimming, the fall weather often leaves us questioning how we can continue the outdoor fun.

The answer is simple and can actually be found in your own backyard: a DIY dog obstacle course! Inexpensive and easy to set up, a DIY dog obstacle course will keep Fido entertained and agile by challenging him both physically and mentally. An added bonus: it will help you and your pooch bond even more!

Is your dog a master of physical fitness? Keep things interesting by adjusting the level of difficulty or encouraging them to complete the course within a certain amount of time.

diy dog obstacle course

Placing treats inside the tunnel can help your pooch feel more comfortable when crawling through.

Gather your pup, some yummy treats, and a few basic supplies to get your dog maneuvering over, under, and through these 6 fun obstacles… READY, SET, BARK!

  • Weave poles: Evenly space out about 10-12 traffic cones, poles, or flat markers and use a treat or toy to help Spot maneuver through. Increase the wooficulty: Slide the weave poles or markers closer together.
  • Leave it: Scatter objects of temptation (extra tasty treats, a paper towel roll, an old shoe, etc.) around your yard. When your dog approaches an object, command them to “leave it”; if they look at you or walk away, immediately reward them with a treat. Increase the wooficulty: Try it without reward treats.
  • Tunnel-through: Anchor a children’s flexible play tunnel and have your pooch crawl through. Decrease the wooficulty: A tunnel can be a dark, scary environment! Place treats every 6-12” inside the tunnel and ask a second person to stand on the opposite end to call your pet’s name.
  • Hurdle jump: Place a PVC pipe on top of a couple of cement blocks and direct Rover to hop over. Increase the wooficulty: Turn the cement blocks vertically or add another set to raise the height.
  • Doggie catwalk: Place a 2×4” plank of wood on top if cement blocks (make sure it’s sturdy!) and have Fido walk carefully across the plank. Decrease the wooficulty: Place the plank of wood on the ground and see if your pup can walk a straight line.
  • Tire jump: Hang an old bike tire from a sturdy tree branch so that it’s a couple of inches off the ground and direct your dog to jump through it. Increase the wooficulty: Raise the tire another couple of inches.

DID YOU KNOW… that pet obesity is the #1 health problem for pets in the US?  Boston Veterinary Care shares 5 tips on how to manage your pet’s weight.

A big thank you to our Adopt-a-Dog month media sponsor CITYSIDE SUBARU and to our media partners WCVB TV 5 and MeTV for sharing the importance of dog adoptions with our community, and your viewers!

adopt-a-dog month


Do You Know the 7 Warning Signs of Animal Cruelty?

Learn the 7 signs of animal cruelty & DONATE to protect animals from harm

If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING – Report Animal Cruelty. By many estimates, 4 out of 5 cases of animal cruelty remain concealed, leaving animals to suffer in silence. While most of us recognize that punching, kicking, burning, choking, or hitting an animal with an object are acts of animal cruelty, there are also more subtle warning signs that could indicate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse.

7 warning signs of animal cruelty

Learn the 7 warning signs of animal cruelty and DONATE to ARL’s Cruelty Prevention fund drive to help protect animals from future harm!

Learn the 7 warning signs of animal cruelty:

  1. Howling or barking for a sustained period of time, or hearing an animal cry in pain with a persistent high-pitched vocal sound
  2. Singed, matted, chronically or excessively dirty hair or fur.
  3. Wounds, unusual scars, hair loss, frequent limping often on different legs, or signs of improper nutrition
  4. Animals kept caged or tied with little room to move for long periods of time or without regular interaction with people
  5. Lack of protection from the weather or fece- or debris-strewn living areas for animals.
  6. Collars, leashes, or halters so tight they visibly dig into the animal’s face or neck.
  7. A large number of animals coming or going from a property.

DID YOU KNOW… that the ARL’s law enforcement department is often called upon to assist local and state agencies, and police and animal control officers with a variety of animal protection issues?

Although the team works closely with the state, as well as many cities and towns, the ARL receives no government funding to provide this kind of assistance to animals in need.

When you give during the ARL’s CRUELTY PREVENTION FUND DRIVE, you will help pay for the on-going efforts of our law enforcement team to provide animals suffering from abuse and neglect with the assistance that they need to recover.

An anonymous donor has challenged us to triple a $5,000 donation and raise $15,000 in October to support the ARL’s law enforcement department! The team can only do this work on behalf of animals in our communities with your support!

DONATE NOW

AS A SPECIAL THANK YOU… Be one of the first 5 people to DONATE $25 or more TODAY, October 9 and you will receive an exclusive ARL steel red water bottle!

Click here or on the green button below to make a donation to the ARL’s Cruelty Prevention Fund Drive.

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VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our anonymous challenge donor and everyone who has made a donation to support animals in need during the ARL’s Cruelty Prevention fund drive!

Remember: Animal cruelty affects your community. Reporting suspicions to authorities is critical to prevention. Learn more at arlboston.org/take-action


October is National Adopt-A-Dog Month

When you ADOPT, you give dogs like Chicken Little a chance at a better life

Bark if you love October! The ARL is celebrating National Adopt-a-Dog Month and so should you….

If you’re already the parent of a rescue dog, then you know that the benefits of adopting are immeasurable – the love, loyalty, and feeling of truly helping is just about the best feeling in the world.

And if you’re looking for a canine companion, you’ve already heard the many reasons why adopting is a great idea for you and your family. With so many shelter dogs looking for loving homes, there’s no better time than NOW to ADOPT man’s best friend!

Search adoptable dogs

adopt-a-dog month

BEFORE: Chicken Little when she first arrived at the ARL showing signs of extreme neglect and malnourishment.

When you adopt, you give an animal a chance a better life.

The animals who come to ARL shelters arrive under many different circumstances.

Sadly, many are here because they are the innocent victims of suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect.  Thanks to our generous supporters and amazing volunteers and staff, the ARL has the ability to give dogs like Chicken Little the “happy tail” and new start they most definitely deserve!

Here’s her story….

On an early August morning, a fragile 8-year-old little white dog was found abandoned in the parking lot of BJ’s Wholesale Club in Dedham, Massachusetts. Chicken Little, as she’s now called, had wandered up to a kind citizen and was whimpering in distress.

It was clear that Chicken Little was extremely malnourished, possibly as a result of neglect. In addition to being severely underweight, most of the fur had fallen out from her stick-thin frame.

“She was all skin and bones,” describes Lt. Alan Borgal, director for the center of animal protection at the ARL. “Her spine and hips were clearly visible through her skin.”

The kind citizen who spotted Chicken Little contacted Dedham Animal Control, who in turn called the ARL’s law enforcement team to ask for help.

The ARL covered Chicken Little’s initial $410 emergency veterinary bill and provided her with continued medical treatment to get her up to a healthy weight.

For several weeks, Chicken Little recovered at the ARL’s Boston Shelter.  She slowly began to put on weight and her fur started to grow back. Her spunky personality began to shine and she quickly became a staff favorite.

The Happy Tail ending….

adopt-a-dog month

TODAY: Chicken Little, pictured here with her adopter, is getting stronger every day! “She’s doing really great! Loves the Cape and her nice back yard!”

Earlier this week Chicken Little went home with her new family — we’re not sure who was more excited- Chicken Little or her new mom!

YOU HELP CHICKEN LITTLE AND OTHER ANIMALS LIKE HER!

Thanks to a generous donor who has challenged us to triple a $5,000 donation during the month of October, your donation during our Cruelty Prevention Fund Drive will help protect more animals like Chicken Little from harm!

The ARL works with local authorities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute animal cruelty. The ARL receives no government funding, so your donation today will support the on-going efforts of our law enforcement team and provide animals suffering from abuse and neglect the assistance they need to recover.

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THANK YOU to our media sponsor CITYSIDE SUBARU and our media partner WCVB Channel 5 for helping us to share the importance of dog adoptions with our community!

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If You See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty!

What you need to know about animal hoarding

In support of National Animal Safety and Protection month this October, the ARL is kicking off its fall “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” campaign.

Animal cruelty comes in many forms, including physical abuse, neglect of basic care, abandonment, dog fighting, and animal hoarding. Because many studies have demonstrated a strong link between cruelty to animals and other forms of domestic and community violence, prevention plays a critical role in improving the safety and welfare of both animals and people in Massachusetts.

Know your state’s animal cruelty laws

This month, we’re focusing on the topic of animal hoarding- an increasingly frequent and challenging issue in Massachusetts.  In less than 12 weeks alone, ARL’s law enforcement team assisted in at least 6 hoarding-type cases and removed more than 200 animals from these situations.

Surprised? Unfortunately, there are many more animal hording cases reported across the country annually.

In the United States each year, approximately 3,500 animal hoarders come to the attention of authorities, which involve at least 250,000 animal victims. 80% of animal hoarders have diseased, dying, or dead animals on the premises.

Startled by these statistics? These numbers don’t even include the many animal hoarding cases that go un-detected or unreported.

With such a serious form of animal cruelty so prevalent in our community and across the country, the ARL answers your FAQs on animal hoarding and what the public needs to know*:

Q. What is animal hoarding?

A. Animal hoarding is a serious, yet under-recognized community problem that is responsible for substantial animal suffering. Often associated with adult self-neglect and/or mental illness, animal hoarding can also place children, elders, and dependent adults at serious risk. It is also responsible for property damage, which can be an economic burden to taxpayers

Animal hoarding is defined by 4 main characteristics:

  1. Failure to provide minimal standards of sanitation, space, nutrition, and veterinary care for animals
  2. Inability to recognize the effects of this failure on the welfare of the animals, humans in the household, and environment
  3. Obsessive attempts to accumulate or maintain a collection of animals in the face of progressively deteriorating conditions
  4. Denial of minimization of problems and living conditions for people and animals

Q. Are there different types of animal hoarders?

A. Yes! 70% of animal hoarders who come to the attention of authorities are single, widowed, or divorced females, although community-sampling studies have found that there is an equal ratio of males to females. In general, there are 3 main classifications of animal hoarders:

  1. Overwhelmed caregivers, commonly referred to in lay terms as a “crazy cat lady”, and are often well-intentioned in their behavior. Overwhelmed caregivers experience a gradual decline in animal caretaking ability due to changes in financial or medical circumstances. They exhibit awareness of the situation and will make an initial effort to provide the proper care for their animals, as they consider them to be an equal member of the family. Ultimately, the caregiver becomes overwhelmed and is unable to properly care for both themselves, and the animals in their household.
  2. Rescuer hoarders actively acquire animals due to their strong sense of mission to save animals from death or other circumstances. They believe that they are the only one who can provide adequate care for the animals and will not seek the assistance of an animal welfare agencies or authorities.
  3. Exploiter hoarders actively acquire animals to serve their own needs. They lack guilt and remorse for the harm that their actions may cause other humans or the animals. Under this category falls Incipient hoarders, someone who achieves the minimum standards of animal care under the law which continues to deteriorate, and Breeder hoarders, someone who breeds animals for show or sale and only has moderate insight regarding the condition of the animals and how to properly care for them.

Q. What should I do if I suspect a neighbor of being an animal hoarder?

A. While some hoarding situations may be obvious, others may not be as simple to spot. Here are 3 ways you can help stop animal cruelty:

  1. Know the warning signs. Do you know what subtle cues to look for? Learn the 7 warning signs of animal cruelty.
  2. Take action. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.  If you suspect a hoarding or other animal cruelty situation in your community, explain your concerns to your local authorities who can do a proper investigation.
  3. Donate. Sadly, thousands of animals in Massachusetts suffer from abuse and neglect every year. Your donation during our Cruelty Prevention Fund Drive will help protect more animals from harm!

The ARL works with local authorities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute animal cruelty. The ARL receives no government funding, so your donation today will support the on-going efforts of our law enforcement team to provide animals suffering from abuse and neglect the assistance they need to recover.

Learn more about how you can prevent animal cruelty.

*Information gathered from research conducted by Dr. Gary J. Patronek, Lynn Lora, and Jane N. Nathanson, Animal Hoarding: Structuring Interdisciplinary Responses to Help People, Animals, and Communities at Risk.