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Massachusetts Legislature Stiffens Penalties for Animal Cruelty

BOSTON, MA – Animal protection groups including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and MSPCA-Angell today lauded the passage of Senate Bill 2345 that establishes harsher punishments and financial penalties for animal cruelty and aims to prevent abuse from happening in Massachusetts.

The measures take effect in 90 days once the bill is signed into law by Governor Patrick.

The bill raises maximum penalties for animal cruelty convictions from five to seven years and increases the maximum fine from $2,500 to $5,000. The bill also allows a penalty of up to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000 for repeat convictions. In addition, the bill requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse. Also included in the new law is the creation of a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine and the law to systematically and comprehensively evaluate the state’s cruelty statutes to ensure continued progress.

“Today is a historic day for this legislative body, for the citizens of Massachusetts and—most especially—for animals,” said State Representative Lou Kafka, who was key in moving the bill through the House. “This law is an urgently needed update to outdated penalties and ensures that legislators continually receive the best advice on how to combat animal cruelty in our Commonwealth, directly from the experts who deal with it most frequently.”

“Thanks to the hard work of legislators and animal welfare supporters throughout Massachusetts, we will now have a law in place that strengthens our ability to prevent cruelty and will dramatically improve the welfare of animals in Massachusetts,” praised Mary Nee, president of the ARL.

Prior to the passage of this new law Massachusetts maintained some of the most lenient fines in the nation for animal abuse, with a maximum of $2,500. Many other states have higher prison sentences as well.  The new law marks the first update of these penalties in nearly ten years and reflects broad public consensus that animal cruelty must never be tolerated.

Representative  Bruce Ayers stated, “The passage of the bill is evidence that lawmakers are listening to their constituents, who—especially in the wake of the horrific Puppy Doe animal abuse case in Quincy, my district,  last year —are demanding stricter penalties for those who abuse or kill animals. As the sponsor of this animal welfare bill, I am pleased with this outcome.”

Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell states, “We’re very pleased that this crucial legislation has passed, and we extend our thanks to all of the bill’s sponsors and supporters who championed these reforms. We also thank every caring citizen who contacted state legislators to urge for stronger laws to both punish animal abusers and, importantly, work to prevent cruelty from happening the first place. Animal lovers around the state can today celebrate these efforts and hopefully can find some peace knowing that from such tragic incidents, like Puppy Doe and others, awareness has been generated that will now prevent harm to other helpless animals.”

“Abusive acts toward animals are unacceptable, and all too often can lead to violence toward people. Our laws need to strongly and clearly penalize those who commit the kinds of brutal acts we’ve seen in the Puppy Doe case and others, and this legislation makes major progress in achieving that goal,” said Senator Bruce Tarr.  “It couldn’t have been accomplished without organizations like the  ARL and the MSPCA the thousands of individuals who have driven this effort from the drafting of the bill to its arrival on the Governor’s desk.

About the Animal Rescue League of Boston

Founded in 1899, the ARL is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. In 2013, the ARL served over 14,000 individual animals through our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, and our law enforcement, rescue, and veterinary services. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need. Visit arlboston.org for more information.

About the MSPCA-Angell

The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. 

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Dangers of Leaving Your Dog in a Parked Car PSA [VIDEO]

ARL and Boston Fire Department team up for public service video

A few weeks ago, the ARL teamed up with our private veterinary clinic Boston Veterinary Care and the Boston Fire Department to create a public service video to warn pet owners of the dangers of leaving a dog in a parked car during the summer.

With temperatures approaching 90 degrees around Greater Boston, today seemed like the perfect day to re-share the video.

Watch it now:

Remember: dogs don’t sweat the way people do.

Even when it’s only 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 120 degrees in just minutes – even with the windows cracked.   When the temperature rises,  leave your dog at home.

Special thanks to the Boston Fire Department!

 


Camping with Your Dog

Too Hot for Spot Tuesday: Tips for Safely Camping with Your Dog

Labor Day weekend is just around the corner! For those of us trying to squeeze in a last minute weekend trip before the dog days of summer slip away, it’s important to keep our pet’s safety in mind if we plan on bringing the pup along for the adventure.

Photo: Petswelcome.com

Photo: Petswelcome.com

Here are 6 tips that will help keep your dog safe during your next over-night camping trip :

  1. If your dog doesn’t regularly get flea/tick treatment, make sure you apply it at least a few days before the trip.
  2. Make sure that your pet has proper ID on his/her collar at all times and a reflective collar if he/she will be out on the campsite at night.
  3. Bring a pet first aid kit. It is always better to be prepared and often remote campsites will not have quick access to veterinary care. (We’ve been handing out pet emergency backpacks with pet first aid kits at our events)
  4. Do some research and locate the closest animal emergency clinic and add its contact information to your phone.
  5. Pet proof! Before you let your pet out on your campsite, thoroughly inspect the area to make sure other campers haven’t left anything behind like broken bottles or spoiled food.
  6. Don’t let your pet roam. Because your pet is not familiar with the area, he could get lost, fall into a river, or become stuck. Other well-meaning campers may feed him something toxic or may have rat poison out in their campsite. He also may have a run in with some not-so-well meaning wildlife.

For more summer safety tips visit: arlboston.org/summer-safety


ARL Supporter Glenn Mekelburg Passes Away

Glenn was an Animal Lover and Anna Harris Smith Legacy Supporter

Glenn Mekelburg with his cat

Glenn Mekelburg with his cat

We would like to take a moment to remember a dear ARL friend who passed away last week. Glenn Ross Mekelburg departed this Earth at the age of 65.  He was a passionate animal lover and will truly be missed by all of us here.

Caitlin Oates, manager of the ARL’s President’s Council, knew Glenn well and said “Glenn was an absolutely wonderful and kindhearted man. His love for animals was evident from the first moment I met him.  I am honored to have called him a friend.”

Glenn was a supporter of the Animal Rescue League and stated that “the ARL is unlike any other non-profit.”

Our thoughts are with Glenn and his family at this difficult time.

A memorial donation in his name may be made to the Animal Rescue League of Boston arlboston.org/donate. Arrangements are under the care of Young Funeral Home and Cremation Services Searsport, ME.


Thanks to You, S2345 Passes in Massachusetts

S.2345 Passed Both Chambers! On its way to the Governor’s Desk!

Thanks to you, S.2345 passed the State House and Senate! The bill takes effect in 90 days once it’s signed into law by Governor Patrick.

08-14-14 Cute Dog PicS. 2345 (formerly called H.4328/ H.4244) increases maximum penalties for animal abuse from 5 years to 7 years in prison and $2,500 to $5,000 in fines.

In addition, the bill requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse. Also included in the new law is the creation of a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine and the law to systematically and comprehensively evaluate the state’s cruelty statutes to ensure continued progress.

Learn more about S. 2345

“Today is a historic day for this legislative body, for the citizens of Massachusetts and—most especially—for animals,” said State Representative Lou Kafka, who was key in moving the bill through the House.

Phone calls to legislators from animal lovers across the state made the critical difference in creating a sense of urgency to getting the bill through.

“Thanks to the hard work of legislators and animal welfare supporters throughout Massachusetts, we will now have a law in place that strengthens our ability to prevent cruelty and will dramatically improve the welfare of animals in Massachusetts,” praised ARL president, Mary Nee.

Thank you to everyone who took action and gave a voice to the victims of animal cruelty!

Visit arlboston.org/take-action for more on S.2345 and what you can do to prevent animal cruelty.


S2345 Passes in Massachusetts

Animal Welfare Advocates Commend Lawmakers for New Measures, Stiffened Penalties for Animal Cruelty

BOSTON, MA – Animal protection groups including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and MSPCA-Angell today lauded the passage of Senate Bill 2345 (formerly known as H4328/H4244) that establishes harsher punishments and financial penalties for animal cruelty and aims to prevent abuse from happening in Massachusetts.

The measures take effect in 90 days once S2345 is signed into law by Governor Patrick.

07-28 S2345-thumb

The ARL credits citizen animal advocates who called legislators in the final weeks of the 2014 session to urge passage of S2345 (formerly known as H4328/H4244).

The bill raises maximum penalties for animal cruelty convictions from five to seven years and increases the maximum fine from $2,500 to $5,000. S2345 also allows a penalty of up to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000 for repeat convictions. In addition, the bill requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse. Also included in the new law is the creation of a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine and the law to systematically and comprehensively evaluate the state’s cruelty statutes to ensure continued progress.

“Today is a historic day for this legislative body, for the citizens of Massachusetts and—most especially—for animals,” said State Representative Lou Kafka, who was key in moving the bill through the House. “This law is an urgently needed update to outdated penalties and ensures that legislators continually receive the best advice on how to combat animal cruelty in our Commonwealth, directly from the experts who deal with it most frequently.”

“Thanks to the hard work of legislators and animal welfare supporters throughout Massachusetts, we will now have a law in place that strengthens our ability to prevent cruelty and will dramatically improve the welfare of animals in Massachusetts,” praised Mary Nee, president of the ARL.

Prior to the passage of S2345, Massachusetts maintained some of the most lenient fines in the nation for animal abuse, with a maximum of $2,500. Many other states have higher prison sentences as well.  The new law marks the first update of these penalties in nearly ten years and reflects broad public consensus that animal cruelty must never be tolerated.

Representative Bruce Ayers stated, “The passage of the bill is evidence that lawmakers are listening to their constituents, who—especially in the wake of the horrific Puppy Doe animal abuse case in Quincy, my district, last year —are demanding stricter penalties for those who abuse or kill animals. As the sponsor of this animal welfare bill, I am pleased with this outcome.”

Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell states, “We’re very pleased that this crucial legislation has passed, and we extend our thanks to all of the bill’s sponsors and supporters who championed these reforms. We also thank every caring citizen who contacted state legislators to urge for stronger laws to both punish animal abusers and, importantly, work to prevent cruelty from happening the first place. Animal lovers around the state can today celebrate these efforts and hopefully can find some peace knowing that from such tragic incidents, like Puppy Doe and others, awareness has been generated that will now prevent harm to other helpless animals.”

“Abusive acts toward animals are unacceptable, and all too often can lead to violence toward people. Our laws need to strongly and clearly penalize those who commit the kinds of brutal acts we’ve seen in the Puppy Doe case and others, and this legislation makes major progress in achieving that goal,” said Senator Bruce Tarr. “It couldn’t have been accomplished without organizations like the MSPCA and ARL the thousands of individuals who have driven this effort from the drafting of the bill to its arrival on the Governor’s desk.”

About the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Founded in 1899, the ARL is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. In 2013, the ARL served over 14,000 individual animals through our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, and our law enforcement, rescue, and veterinary services. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need. Visit arlboston.org for more information.

About the MSPCA-Angell
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization.

 


Too Hot to Trot

Too Hot for Spot Tuesday: Tips for Safely Running with your Dog in the Summer

Exercising with your dog can be fun, but it’s important to adjust your running schedule in the summer to accommodate your pup. Running in the summer heat with your dog can be dangerous. We, humans, sweat in the summer, while our dog only has the ability to cool down with the pads of his feet and through panting. Your canine runner may be in excellent condition but overheating and heatstroke can be fatal for even the fittest canines.

Here are some tips to help keep your pup safe while you train:

  • toohotforspot_summerexerciseAdjust your running schedule to the early morning or late evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
  • Check the weather: It’s no fun to exercise on a 95-degree day with 80 percent humidity — for either one of you. Check the weather the night before and be flexible with your workout time, choosing cooler times of the day to get your run in. Your dog may be really sad and whine when you shut the door, but if it’s way too hot, it’s best to leave him at home where it’s cool.
  • Know your breed’s special health concerns: Short-muzzled breeds, like Bulldogs can overheat quickly.
  • Watch for signs of dehydration: Bring along a water bottle and a collapsible bowl, periodically giving your dog water breaks
  • Consider the surface: Asphalt and concrete can be too hot for furry feet, and rocks and gravel may cause cuts, so stick to dirt roads or sandy trails. After the run, check your dog’s pads for cracking or other injuries.

Remember, your dog can’t tell you when he’s tired, or thirsty. Keep a watchful eye on your dog, and notice whether he’s struggling to keep up, panting excessively, or limping. Take breaks throughout your workout to give him a chance to catch his breath, rest his muscles, and grab a few laps of water.

For more summer pet safety tips visit arlboston.org/summer-safety


Help Pass H.4328 Before It’s Too Late!

4 Days Left to Help Protect Animals from Abuse in Massachusetts

There are less than 4 days left to get H.4328 to the Massachusetts Senate before it’s too late! This is the final push to get this important bill to the floor. 

H. 4328 (formerly called H.4244) increases penalties for animal abuse from 5 years to 7 years and $2,500 to $5,000.  The bill also would require veterinarians to report animal cruelty and create a task force to recommend future protections for animals in our state.

Bill Dog GraphicPlease make two critical phone calls today.

1. To Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo’s Office, 617.722.2500

All you have to do is say this: “Hello, please ask Speaker DeLeo to help pass H.4328 before July 31. This is the bill that would protect animals against animal cruelty in Massachusetts. Thank you.”

2. To the President of the Senate, Senator Murray’s Office, 617.722.1500
“Hello, please ask Senate President, Therese Murray to help pass H.4328. This is the bill that would protect animals against animal cruelty in Massachusetts. Thank you.”

Download an instructional flyer

Why is passing H.4328 so important?

  • Massachusetts currently has one of the lowest fines in the nation for animal abuse.
  • The penalties for animal abuse have not been updated in almost 10 years.
  • 4 out of 5 cases of animal abuse remain undiscovered – requiring veterinarians to report abuse helps prevent cruelty and neglect.
  • Studies indicate that 48-87% of veterinarians will encounter cases of animal abuse – some remain unsure about reporting it to authorities.
  • The task force included in H. 4328 will make recommendations to improve reporting of animal abuse and increase protections for animals.

Visit arlboston.org/take-action for more on H.328 and what you can do to prevent animal cruelty.


What You Need to Know About Taking Your Dog to the Beach

Too Hot for Spot: Beach Safety Tips for You and Your Dog

Beach days can be a blast when you bring along a canine buddy, but taking a dog to the beach requires some preparation, know-how and a little common sense.

Whether your dog’s running around, jumping through waves, or just laying in the sun, it’s important to remember that anything that can harm you can harm Fido too including, sunburns, riptides, jellyfish, broken glass, sharp shells and aggressive dogs.

Here are some very important tips that will help your dog stay safe at the beach:

  • Provide a shady retreat under a beach umbrella, tree or a make-shift tent.
  • Bring plenty of fresh, cool water and a dog bowl.
  • The sand can be scorching on sensitive paws, so offer a blanket or towel for your dog.
  • Take caution with short-muzzled breeds, like pugs, Boston terriers, and shih tzus. They can overheat very quickly.
  • Watch for signs of overheating. Symptoms may include: rapid panting and drooling, coordination problems, vomiting and/or diarrhea, collapse and loss of consciousness .
  • Avoid Sunburns: Short-coated dogs, light-colored dogs and those with pink noses can sunburn the same way that we do.
  • Keep a collar and ID tags on your dog at all times.
  • Check with your vet to make sure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations and licenses.

Lastly, follow beach rules! Many beaches don’t allow dogs in season or during peak hours. Remember that beach rules are actually laws, and can be punishable by a fine. Check online to make sure your beach allows dogs before you go and take notice of any rules posted near the beach.

Supervise your pet as you would a child, this will ensure that he’s safe and not bothering anyone who might not enjoy the company of a dog as much as you do.

Now that you’re prepared for a beach day, go have some fun in the sun with your canine pal!

For more information about summer pet safety visit arlboston.org/summer-safety.


SUGAR Waited 399 Days for this Sweet Moment

Sugar – A Young Horse at our Dedham Shelter Finally Found a Home this Weekend!

07-21-14 Sugar Adopted PhotoAfter 399 days at the Animal Rescue League’s shelter in Dedham, Sugar, a playful three-year-old filly, went home with a wonderful new family over the weekend. She’ll be living on beautiful Cape Cod with a family that’s excited to take on the feat of starting her under a saddle and treating her like a family pet.

Sugar first came to us with her mother back in July of 2013 after we rescued her from a small tenant farm in Southeastern, MA. She was severely neglected – left on a muddy paddock with no food or water – and had never been trained to interact with humans.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our Dedham staff who worked with Sugar regularly to teach her to trust humans again, this great horse will make a great companion for her new family.

On Saturday, Sugar walked onto the trailer carefree and ready for her next adventure!

We’re so happy that this fantastic family has brought Sugar into their lives and are giving her the chance to be a beloved pet and best friend to their 16-year-old daughter!