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ARL and MSPCA-Angell Call on Citizen Advocates to Help Bring H. 4244 to the Floor

Animal welfare organizations push for passage of important bill before July 31

Boston, MA– Animal welfare organizations including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and the MSPCA-Angell have united behind House Bill (H.) 4244 and have issued a call to action to Massachusetts residents to contact legislators to move the pending legislation to the house floor for a vote before the legislative session ends on July 31.

H. 4244 would increase the maximum penalties for convictions of animal cruelty from 5 to 7 years and from $2,500 to $5,000. The bill also creates a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine, and the legal system to do a comprehensive evaluation of Massachusetts animal cruelty laws to ensure continued progress.

H4244 Call to Action (2)State Representative Lou Kafka, one of H. 4244’s sponsors, explains, “The bill makes a necessary update to outdated penalties and ensures that legislators continually receive the best advice on how to combat animal cruelty in our Commonwealth from those who deal with it most frequently.”

Though the bill has wide-spread support in both the Massachusetts House and Senate, the challenge is to move the bill forward for a vote before the end of the month.

“The case of Puppy Doe galvanized many animal welfare advocates and legislators to put forward legislation like H. 4244, and we need to keep the momentum going,” says Mary Nee, president of the ARL. “We see far too many cases of animal cruelty every day. Passing this bill now is critical to strengthening our ability to prevent future cases in Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts currently has some of the most lenient fines in the nation for animal abuse and ranks behind many other states on prison time as well. Nee adds cruelty penalties have not been updated or expanded in nearly ten years.

The ARL and MSPCA-Angell have information posted on their websites and social media explaining how to find contact information for legislators, what to say, and how to spread the word to other animal welfare supporters. Visit arlboston.org/take-action for more information from the ARL.

Another of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Bruce Ayers believes, “The passage of the bill out of the Judiciary Committee two weeks ago 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.”

Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell states, “Research has consistently shown a link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. By increasing the penalty for animal cruelty we are not only working to keep animals safe from harm but we can hopefully have an even bigger impact in the overall efforts to reduce crime. This bill will ensure that this is just the beginning of an effort to protect animals.”

In addition to increasing penalties, H. 4244 would also require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty, a provision supported by Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association. The amended bill took provisions from bills filed by Representatives Kafka and Ayers, as well as Senator Tarr’s PAWS Act.

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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. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mspcaangell


National Pet Fire Safety Day

Too Hot for Spot®: “National Pet Fire Safety Day” Tips to Keep Pets Safe

July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day and it reminds us that pets are often vulnerable victims of home fires. An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by house fires, according to a data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.

Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking these precautions are an integral part of responsible pet ownership.The following tips are suggestions for pet owners on how to prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as how to keep your pets safe.

What you can do to keep your pets safe: pet rescue window cling

  • Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes ready-to-go in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
  • Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling Like Ours – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach a “Pet Rescue” static cling to your front window. This critical information can help save rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to update the number of pets listed.

Special thanks to all of the firefighters out there who put their own lives at risk every day to help people and their pets.

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

 

 


Help Bring H.4244 to the Floor!

Contact your state legislator today to protect animals from abuse in Massachusetts

Thanks to the incredibly hard work of bill sponsors Representatives Bruce Ayers and Louis Kafka and Senator Bruce Tarr, a very important piece of legislation received a favorable report from the joint Judiciary Committee.  House Bill 4244, “an act relative to the penalty for killing, maiming, or poisoning animals,” has now moved closer to becoming law.

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.

dog on the phone talkingHere’s where you come in!

This legislative session ends in just a few weeks on July 31.  H. 4244 must get to the floor for a vote before then!

Contact your state representative today and ask him/or her to push to pass H.4244.

Download an instructional flyer

Why is passing H.4244 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. 4244 will make recommendations to improve reporting of animal abuse and increase protections for animals.

Very importantly, as Representative Ayers has noted, “research has consistently shown a link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. By increasing the penalty for animal cruelty, we are not only working to keep animals safe from harm, but we also hope to have an even bigger impact on the overall efforts to reduce crime.”

The case of Puppy Doe  galvanized many animal welfare advocates and legislators to put forward legislation like H. 4244, yet her case is just one of far too many the ARL sees every day. Legislation that strengthens the ability to prevent cruelty and inhumane treatment will dramatically improve the welfare of animals in Massachusetts.

Visit arlboston.org/take-action for more on H.4244 and what you can do to prevent animal cruelty.

07-09 New Bill Org Logos

 

 


How to Calm Your Dog During a Thunderstorm

Too Hot for Spot Tuesday Tip: Thunderstorm Dog Safety

If you’re like some dog owners, you’ve probably had several sleepless nights over the last week thanks to your dog’s “thunder phobia” resulting from the severe thunderstorms that have been plaguing the Northeast.

This fear can manifest in a variety of ways including – hiding, whining, scratching, slobbering, or destructive behavior – and it can get worse with age. Dogs possess special sensitivities that can make storms more terrifying. They can sense the change in air pressure, and may hear low-frequency rumblings that we, humans, can’t detect.

So, if you want to help calm your pup (and hopefully get some “shut-eye”) during the next thunderstorm, try these 5 tips:

  1. Stay with your dog if you can. Having you by his side will make him feel safer.
  2. If there are windows in the room, close the blinds or curtains, or cover the windows so the dog can’t see outside.
  3. Create a safe haven. Hiding is a natural instinct, so provide your dog with a safe indoor area, like a crate. If you have a wire crate, cover it with a light sheet. Leave the door open so your dog doesn’t feel trapped.
  4. Play calming music to drown out the thunder.
  5. Distract your dog. Try playing his favorite game and giving him treats. He might learn to associate storms with fun and play, rather than anxiety and fear.

If none of these work and your dog’s “thunder phobia” is really out of control, consult with your veterinarian.

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

 


Fireworks, BBQs, and Cars Can Be Too Hot for Spot!

The Animal Rescue League of Boston and Boston Veterinary Care Offer Pet-riotic Advice For July 4

Boston, MA – As temperatures start to sizzle, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to help dog owners keep their canine companions healthy and safe in the summer heat and bustle of activity this July 4.

“We live for the summers in New England. We want to be outside and do more things, and we want our dogs to be part of the fun,” explains Mary Nee, president of the ARL. “We need to keep in mind what’s fun for us, might actually cause discomfort and injury to our much-loved pet.”

She points to firework displays as a good example of where people and dogs may not agree.

The loud popping and banging noises and fiery flashes of light easily startle and alarm dogs. Animal control officers receive a large volume of calls about pets who broke loose from their families or escaped from yards after getting frightened by the noise of parades and fireworks.

Another popular Fourth of July activity, backyard barbeques can also pose problems for dogs. The smell of food, a large group of adults, playing kids, and other excited pets can easily overstimulate a dog, increasing the potential for poor behavior and bites.

“Leaving your dog at home as you head out for holiday activities and events is the best thing for you and your pet,” adds Nee. “Prevention is responsible pet ownership.”

Allowing your dog to wait for you at home and not in your hot car is another pet-friendly summer habit.

“On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can top one hundred degrees in less than 10 minutes – even with all the windows cracked,” explains BVC veterinarian Dr. Rashel Shophet-Ratner. “That’s why leaving a pet inside a parked car is the most common cause of potentially deadly heat stroke.”

As part of their “Too Hot for Spot” campaign, the ARL and BVC will continue to offer pet safety tips throughout the summer. Visit arlboston.org for more campaign information and updates in July and August.

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 Boston Veterinary Care

BVC is a clinic with a purpose: providing high quality veterinary care to Boston pet owners while supporting the services of the ARL. The friendly and caring staff at BVC provide a full range of outpatient veterinary services to pet owners at the clinic’s location in Boston’s historic South End. All profits support the care and rehabilitation of homeless animals at ARL shelters. Visit arlboston.org/bvc for clinic hours and appointment information.

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Meet Madeline!

Sweet survivor cat ready for her new home

**Update: Madeline has been adopted**

“Cases like hers are the reason that many of us got into the business of rescuing animals: there is nothing more rewarding than seeing an animal that was previously neglected transform with some TLC.”
– Dr. Kate Gollon, shelter veterinarian at the Animal Rescue League of Boston

Mad Before&AfterAlmost two months ago, a very kind person brought Madeline to our Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center after discovering the 8-year-old cat unable to move in the backyard of her home where someone had left her. Shelter staff instantly observed the fur on Madeline’s hind quarters appeared thickly matted and that she couldn’t move her back legs.

Her sweet temperament and soft, steady purr touched the hearts of shelter veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon and all the Dedham staff as they worked to make her comfortable with pain medications and by shaving off the mass of tangles on her lower body.

Dr. Gollon determined Madeline had nearly 4 inches of mats over 70% of her body.  The bag of her shaved matted fur tipped the scales at over a pound.  The twisted condition of her coat  had clearly forced her to go to the bathroom on herself and likely prevented her from walking for some time. Even after shelter staff shaved her fur, she couldn’t walk on her very weak back legs.

When diagnostic tests including x-rays and bloodwork did not provide a more definitive reason for the weakness in her back legs, Dr. Gollon prescribed a regimen of daily physical therapy to help Madeline recover her strength and mobility. Staff gave Madeline time post-shave to recuperate and get to know them before carefully and caringly beginning to work with her to get her walking.

At first, staff gently moved her back legs for her, three times a day. Gradually, they helped her stand by placing her in a sling to support her weight while getting her up on all fours. Once her ability to support herself improved, staff worked with her on walking across the floor and maneuvering changes in elevation.  To give her some added traction on the polished cement floors at the shelter, staff would place a touch of Vaseline on her paw pads.

Everyone at the Dedham shelter felt as proud as mamma cats watching Madeline’s amazing progress as she confidently strolled to them and maneuvered up carpeted steps for the first time!

A dedicated ARL foster volunteer brought Madeline to her home to help her re-acclimate to living with people. Though the determined kitty remains a bit unsteady on her hind legs, she shows no signs they are holding her back. According to her foster mom, Madeline loves to explore and happily curls up on the couch for a good snooze afterwards.

We’re very happy to report Madeline is ready for adoption! Scotties Facial Tissue will cover her adoption fee this weekend, so come visit the ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center to learn more about her.

Because of her unsteady legs, she would do best in a home with carpet.  A one-story house or apartment, or a home where she would spend most of her time in one big room or have access to her litter box and food without having to climb stairs would make for the ideal situation for Madeline.

In the words of Dr. Gollon: “Madeline is a special cat and quite a survivor!  The family who adopts her will most definitely fall in love with her as much as we have at ARL.”


Rugby Update: Parade Goers Adopted this Playful Pup

Rugby is Settling into a New Home!

Rugby at the Boston Pride parade.

Rugby at the Boston Pride parade.

Rugby clearly made an impact at the Boston Pride Parade. When parade goers Maddy and Pam saw him marching with the ARL on June 14, it was love at first sight! They immediately contacted our Boston shelter about adopting him and he went home last week. Our Boston shelter supervisor, Naomi Johnson, said his new family is “dedicated to giving Rugby what he needs to thrive.”

When Rugby first arrived at the ARL his front legs were so severely twisted that he could barely walk. Thanks to a lot of TLC and very specialized therapy regimen, he has made enormous progress.

Read Rugby’s story.

We knew this amazing puppy would need a special home that could give him the attention that he needs and we’re absolutely thrilled that he found himself a great home with new canine and feline siblings and a large back yard to romp around in!

Rugby snuggling with his new brother.

Rugby snuggling with his new brother.

Maddy and Pam said that Rugby loves playing with his new 10-year-old canine brother, Tito and they’re having a fantastic time together.

Rugby is adjusting well and is starting his first day of puppy day care today. Good luck on your first day of “school” Rugby!

Everyone here at the ARL could not be happier for Rugby and his new family! We’d like to thank all of the staff, volunteers, and Dr. Alett Mekler and the physical therapists at Animotion in Stoughton, Massachusetts, who donated their time and services to help with his rehabilitation!

On his second day in his new home, Rugby got a pool!

On his second day in his new home, Rugby got a pool!

 

 


Meet Rugby!

A real miracle puppy ready to find a new home

“Rugby’s story highlights all the wonderful people in the ARL network who are dedicated to helping neglected animals.”
– Dr. Edward Schettino, Director of Veterinary Medical Services, ARL

When we first met Rugby back in April, he could have been the poster child for our “See Something, Say Something: Report Animal Cruelty,” campaign running that month.

At the time, he was 4 1/2 months old and had been cruelly abandoned in the middle of the road in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. His front legs were severely twisted at the wrists, so Rugby could only get around by doing a haphazard crawl.  Thankfully, someone reported spotting Rugby inching his way along the road where he’d been left, and Lt. Alan Borgal, director of the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection, brought him to the ARL’s Boston Shelter.

When Dr. Edward Schettino, the ARL’s director of veterinary medical services, examined Rugby at the shelter, he observed the spirited young dog was very underweight. Dr. Schettino concluded the condition of Rugby’s front legs was probably due to poor nutrition and long-term confinement to a very small crate. After reviewing x-rays of Rugby’s front legs with his colleagues, Dr. Schettino preliminarily diagnosed Rugby with bilateral carpal laxity syndrome, a condition that could require surgery or could also respond to a diet of well-balanced adult dog-food and a program of rigorous exercise.

Rigorous exercise seemed to be the best course of treatment for Rugby!  A rambunctious dog, Rugby already had ARL behaviorists, staff,  and trained volunteers working with him to help him channel his energies into playing with other dogs and chew toys.

And getting him moving helped on the medical and behavioral front indeed!

Within a few weeks, Rugby’s front legs were improving. The ARL collaborated on his treatment with colleagues at the ARL and Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. To increase strength in his legs, Rugby began underwater treadmill therapy twice a week, under the supervision of the ARL’s Dr. Alett Mekler and the physical therapists at Animotion in Stoughton, Massachusetts, who donated their time and services.

In just under three months, Rugby has come incredibly far in his rehabilitation.  He is moving well on his front legs and his sweet, playful personality makes everyone at the shelter smile–even when he’s a bit of a handful (written with love and a smile, of course).

Thanks to the collaborative effort of our Center for Animal Protection, shelter veterinarians, dog behaviorists, shelter staff, volunteers, Tufts University Cummings School, and Animotion, this miracle puppy is now ready for a new home!

According to shelter staff, an experienced dog owner preferably with another dog would be the best situation for Rugby–the guy really needs a playmate to keep him on his toes and moving!  He’s still working on his jumpy/mouthy behavior, so an active household with older children would be more suited to his big personality and energy-level.


Baby Alert! Mini-Donkey Gives Birth to Healthy Baby

Mini-Donkey Rescued from Illegal Ludlow Petting Zoo Gives Birth in New Home

Baby Alice

Baby Alice

Yesterday morning Loretta, a mini-donkey who was adopted from our Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center on March 24, gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The birth went perfectly and did not need any intervention. Both mom and baby, now named Alice, are doing well!

According to Alyssa Kane, one of our Dedham shelter agents, “this baby is quite possibly the cutest thing you’ll see in a long time!”

Congrats to the new mom and her adopters.

We are very excited to report that Loretta and Alice will be staying together! They live on a beautiful farm where mom and baby will get to foster their beautiful mother-daughter bond.

06-03-14 Loretta & Baby Donkey

Loretta is one of 35 animals that the ARL, together with MSPCA-Angell, rescued from an illegal traveling petting zoo in Ludlow, Massachusetts back in February.

Read the full story about the rescue.

Most of the animals found permanent homes, but we still have three animals at our Dedham barn from that rescue who are waiting patiently for someone to adopt them.

Ross – a pony, Phoebe – a pony, and Chandler – a goat, are all hopeful that someone will adopt them soon! You can learn more about all of them on our adoptable animals page.


Kittens Trapped in Chelsea Hair Salon, Saved!

Patience Pays Off in Kitten Rescue

Senior Rescue Technician, Bill Tanguay retrieving a kitten.

Senior Rescue Technician, Bill Tanguay retrieving a kitten.

About a month ago the ARL Boston Rescue Team received a call from a hair salon in Chelsea about some kittens that seemed to be stuck in their ceiling. The stylists could hear the sound of pitter-pattering above them as they worked.

Our rescue team went to the scene and from what they could see, it was clear that there were a lot of kittens stuck up there and this rescue would be no easy task. Rescue technicians were visiting the hair salon every few days to try to catch more kittens, this became a true team effort.

Brian O’Connor, Manager of Rescue Services at the ARL said “The most challenging part was that they were all stuck in a drop-ceiling in a business. so they were surrounded with wires.” The Chelsea fire department even came in with their infrared camera, but because of all the wires they couldn’t discern where the kittens actually were.

At one point it was clear that one of the kittens had actually ended up behind a wall and after receiving permission from the business owner, one of our rescue technicians cut a hole in the wall to retrieve the poor little guy.

The kitten who was rescued from inside the wall.

The kitten rescued from inside the wall.

One-by-one, all of the kittens were saved! Thank you to everyone at the hair salon for their patience as we helped get this little family out.

In total, seven kittens plus mom were rescued from the Chelsea hair salon. We’re happy to report that everyone is doing well. The kittens were brought to our Dedham shelter where they were placed in foster homes and the mom is currently in our Boston shelter undergoing evaluation.

Great work everyone!

Kitten number 6!

Kitten number 6!

Finally, kitten number 7!

Finally, kitten number 7! A little frightened and dirty, but okay!