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Articles Tagged with: animal cruelty
See Something, Say Something: Understanding The Effects of “Blood Sports” on Animals

If you see signs of blood sports, you say something – how you can help animals

As part of our “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” public awareness campaign this month, we are focusing on the topic of “blood sports.”

A dog who is a victim of the illegal blood sports known as “dog fighting” and “street fighting” suffers just as much on the inside as he does on the outside.

We sat down with Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare, to learn more about the effects of blood sports on the animals involved.

blood sports

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare, hosted a talk in January on dog fighting by the ASPCA’s Terry Mills in conjunction with the New England Federation of Humane Societies

ARL Blog: What are some common physically identifying signs of a fighting dog?

Dr. Smith: Fighting dogs end up bearing many scars, usually clustered around the face, neck, front legs and chest. Dogs can also suffer much more severe injuries such as broken bones and disfigurement of their ears, snouts, etc.

The scars that are visible on the outside of a fighting dog are only the tip of the iceberg in what the dog has suffered.

ARL Blog: What generally happens to the “winner” – or worse yet – the “loser” in a dog fight?

Dr S: Dogs who “win” will fight again and again, earning higher stakes with each victory.

Dogs who “lose” have a much sadder fate. They have been discovered on the side of the road, floating in the harbor, and in the garbage.  They can die shortly after the fight from trauma, but more commonly they die from a lack of appropriate veterinary attention to their wounds.

Ultimately, all dogs become the “loser” and thus find themselves abused multiple times: by inhumane housing and emotional neglect, by the fights themselves, by the life threatening infections they develop, and by the cruel deaths they suffer at the hands of their owners.

ARL Blog: What are some other “blood sports” that people should be aware of and what are the physical effects on the animals involved?

Dr S: Cockfighting (two roosters) and finch fighting (perching birds) are common in Massachusetts.

During Cockfighting between two gamecocks, owners will inject a toxic form of pesticide to increase their endurance and often attach knives to the bird’s legs. Every fight ends in serious injury or death, often for both of the birds involved.

Finch fighting between two male and one female bird has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. During finch fighting the owner will attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure maximum injury to the female finch which ultimately results in their demise.

Learn more about signs of dog-related blood sports


See Something, Say Something: Investigating Animal “Blood Sports”

Recognizing National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

The ASPCA designated April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day  to increase understanding and awareness about dog fighting.  As part of our continuing “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” campaign, we encourage animal-lovers to take action against all blood sports, an extremely brutal form of cruelty.

What are “blood sports”? Blood sports are defined as an illegal sport or contest involving the bloodshed of animals for the purpose of gambling or entertainment, and include:

  • Dog fighting is a brutal sport or contest in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit/ring to fight one another for the purposes of entertainment and gambling. The fight ends when one dog can’t continue due to exhaustion, injury, or death. Each year in the US, an estimated 140,000 people and 250,000 dogs are involved in dog fighting despite the fact that it is prosecuted as a felony crime in all 50 states.
  • Street fighting is an impromptu altercation between two dogs instigated by their respective owners or gangs in either a private location or common public gathering area, such as school yards, parks, or abandoned buildings. In some cases, the owner encourages their dog to attack a stray.
  • Cockfighting is a sport in which two gamecocks (roosters), specifically bred for aggressiveness, are placed in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death. Owners often will inject doses of stimulant drugs, hormones, or vitamins to increase endurance and attach knives to the gamecocks’ legs.
  • Finch fighting is a sport between two male and one female perched birds that has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. Owners typically attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure the female finch’s demise.

Our Law Enforcement team works with animal control officers to identify signs of blood sports. Here are 3 common warning signs:

3 warning signs of dog blood sports

Whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban neighborhood, animal “blood sports” happens in all types of areas across the country, including Massachusetts.  The ARL’s Law Enforcement team, for example, continues to assist the Bridgewater, MA police department in an investigation involving two dogs who had sustained injuries consistent with involvement in blood sports.

Blood sports are a major concern for public safety as it’s often linked with gang activity and other serious crimes such as human assault, homicide, drug possession/distribution, and illegal gambling.

Based on the ARL Law Enforcement team’s experience, building an effective legal case against this type of crime is complicated, due to the multitude of individuals, groups, and gangs that can be involved.  Fighting animals – especially dogs – are bred in Massachusetts and transported to other states to fight, making it very difficult to track the activity.

How can communities prevent blood sports from happening?

  1. Animal control officers and humane investigators focus on breaking up an animal fighting enterprise and immediately remove animals from the situation.
  2. You can help raise awareness and encourage intervention; both are critical to preventing this type of crime before it occurs!

We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.

Learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.


See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Awareness Month

In support of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month this April, the ARL is kicking off its Spring “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

In 2014, the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection assisted in over 300 animal law enforcement cases. Unfortunately, this is a small number when you consider the startling statistic that 4 out of 5 animal cruelty cases go unreported.

We all have a role to play in prevention. Be aware and get to know the animals in your neighborhood. If you suspect animal cruelty, call your local authorities right away.  Help raise awareness and educate others about this issue.

Learn the 7 most common warning signs of animal cruelty and take action!

While most of us recognize that punching, kicking, burning, choking, or hitting an animal with an object are acts of animal Give a voice to animals.cruelty, there are also several more subtle warning signs of animal cruelty to watch for that could indicate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse:

  1. Howling or barking for a sustained period of time or hearing an animal cry in pain with higher pitched, more persistent vocal sounds than usual.
  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 such as weight loss or prominent visible ribs.
  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.

If you know of or suspect animal cruelty, report concerns to your local authorities.  Learn more about how you can prevent animal cruelty at arlboston.org/take-action

Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you see something, say something.


March is Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month!

There’s more than just cats and dogs at ARL shelters

Many people assume that animal shelters only have cats and dogs, but here at the ARL we have a knowledgeable staff and are able to accommodate a variety of animals including guinea pigs.

And they are just waiting for to find their perfect match!

Meet BooBoo, an adorable 5-year-old female guinea pig available for adoption at our Boston shelter. She’s a friendly, but shy gal looking for a family to call her own.

Her two favorite activities?  Sitting on your lap to get a cheek scratch and snacking on tasty salads.

If you’d like to adopt a guinea pig like BooBoo from the ARL, make sure to bring a photo of the cage that your new pet will live in to make sure it’s a good size and shape for a guinea pig.

BooBoo

Adorable BooBoo strikes a pose during her photo shoot.

Just like any other pet, guinea pigs require special care and attention. Familiarizing yourself with their daily and long-term needs before adding one to your family is also an important step in the adoption process.

Learn more about guinea pigs

Guinea pigs can make great companions for both first-time or experienced pet owners, however they require a bit of patience and a gentle hand.

Once they are comfortable with you and their new surroundings, their personalities really shine through!

For more information on BooBoo or any of the other adoptable animals at our Boston shelter, you can speak with our shelter staff by calling (617) 226-5602.  Our shelters are open Tuesday through Sunday 1pm-6:30pm, excluding some holidays.

ADOPT A RESCUE GUINEA PIG MONTH FUN FACT Guinea pigs communicate through a variety of behaviors and sounds. These small animals will make a squealing or whistling sound, for example, to communicate anticipation or excitement–usually before they eat!  Meanwhile, a deep sounding purr indicates your guinea pig is comfortable and content.

 


Remembering Puppy Doe

Momentum growing in efforts to prevent animal cruelty

One year ago today, the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston, Quincy Police Department, and Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey issued a public appeal for help identifying the person responsible for abusing Puppy Doe, a young adult dog found tortured, starved, and left for dead near a park in Quincy.

10-16 Puppy Doe Update Photo rest in peace

Moved by her story, people created a temporary memorial for Puppy Doe near the park where she was found in Quincy.

Her case captured the attention of animal welfare advocates and concerned citizens around the world as investigators diligently worked through the hundreds of leads brought forward to police.

Within a few weeks, the police arrested a suspect and the district attorney formally charged him with 11 counts of animal cruelty.  The prosecution of the case continues as we speak.

Puppy Doe and the extreme level of abuse she suffered also inspired new conversation on the topic of animal cruelty and how to prevent it.

Massachusetts lawmakers began to consider ways to update and evaluate existing laws relating to the protection of animals in the state.

One year later, S2345 – a bill passed by both the Massachusetts House and Senate at the end of the 2014 session – will become law within a few weeks.

The bill increases penalties for animal cruelty substantially, requires veterinarians to report abuse, and creates a task force to comprehensively review all animal-related laws in Massachusetts.

The ARL is especially pleased about the impact S2345 makes on the issue of animal cruelty:

  • Massachusetts has gone from a state with one of the most lenient fines for animal cruelty to one more in line with – and in many cases stricter – than other states.
  •  The law establishes a legal obligation for veterinarians to bring suspicions of abuse to authorities for further investigation.
    Consider this: If the veterinarian who initially treated Puppy Doe had not taken the initiative to report concerns to the ARL, the world might never have known about her case.
  • The formation of a task force of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine, and the legal profession holds promise for more progress on the issue.

Outside the state on a national level, the National Sherriffs’ Association (NSA) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund launched the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse in August.  The Center provides resources to the law enforcement community to assist with animal cruelty prevention and investigation strategies.

Inspired by Puppy Doe's case, the ARL has issued a public call-to-action to report concerns about animal cruelty to local authorities.

Inspired by Puppy Doe’s case, the ARL has issued a public call-to-action to report concerns about animal cruelty to local authorities.

And as of earlier this week, the FBI will begin tracking animal cruelty cases as a separate category of crimes.  Law enforcement for the first time will have a way to track the number of reported incidents of animal cruelty cases each year to better channel resources and violence prevention programs.

Perhaps most importantly, public awareness of the role we can all play in preventing horrific cases like Puppy Doe’s is growing.

The fact remains that 4 out 5 cases of animal cruelty remain undiscovered by authorities, so public awareness and action will play a critical role in making our community a safer, more humane place for animals and people.

One year on, Puppy Doe’s case continues to inspire conversation and activity.   At the ARL, we look forward to pushing for progress and change.

We remain ever-grateful to our supporters and animal-lovers everywhere who are speaking up and out about the importance of preventing cruelty to animals!

Visit arlboston.org/take-action to learn more about how you can prevent animal cruelty.

 


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.


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.


Two Critical Calls for Your “To Do” List

Add Two Calls to Your “To Do” List This Week

As you work on your “to do” list for this week, please remember that in less than two weeks, the legislative session at the Massachusetts State House comes to an end. If H.4328, an important bill that would increase penalties for animal cruelty, doesn’t pass before July 31, it gets thrown out.

We will have to start all over again to make progress on updating animal cruelty penalties during the 2015-2016 session.Bill H4328 Kitten Graphic

Please make two critical phone calls this week.

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 Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Dempsey’s Office, 617.722.2990
“Hello, please ask Representative Dempsey to help pass H.4328 before July 31. This is the bill that would protect animals against animal cruelty in Massachusetts. Thank you.”

Don’t worry about having a conversation with anyone. These offices have interns that answer the phone and log in calls like these in support of the bill. They do it all day long!

Only with your help do we have a chance at getting H.4328 passed.

Make your voice louder: Ask your friends to make the same two phone calls. Forward this email and post on social media.

Thank you for taking action and giving a voice to the victims of animal cruelty.

Visit bit.ly/h4244post for more on H.4328 and what you can do to prevent animal cruelty.


How Much Do You Know About Animal Cruelty Stats?

Take Our Animal Cruelty Quiz

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month is coming to an end. See how much you’ve learned this month. Take the ARL’s online quiz, which will test your knowledge of animal cruelty laws and links between animal cruelty and domestic violence.

At the end you’ll see how you rank against other animal welfare supporters. Help educate your friends about animal cruelty by sharing the quiz with them!

dog_quiz_picTake the quiz!

In case you need to brush-up before the quiz, check-out these helpful resources below.

7 Warning Signs of Potential Animal Cruelty

The Link Between Animal Cruelty and Violence Against People

Other Helpful resources at arlboston.org/take-action


Animal Cruelty and Human Violence: Q&A with Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore

Today marks the end of Animal Cruelty and Human Violence Awareness week, a time to discuss the growing body of evidence demonstrating the strong connection between animal abuse and other forms of family and community violence.

Law enforcement agencies, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police have expressed concern about the relationship between animal cruelty, domestic violence, child and elder abuse, usually referred to as “The Link”.  Studies have confirmed a relationship between animal abuse and other violent crimes.

Download our fact sheet on animal cruelty and human violence.

Dr. Smith X-Ray

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore

We asked Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, vice president of animal welfare at the ARL, for her perspective on the link between animal cruelty and human violence.  Here’s what she had to say:

ARL Blog: How would you define “animal abuse?”

Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Animal abuse can include physical abuse (non-accidental injury), emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and staged animal fights.

Physical abuse is characterized by the deliberate inflicting of injuries or causing pain, including inappropriate methods of training. Emotional abuse may include repeated or sustained ‘mental violence’(intimidation through loud yelling or threatening behaviors) or deliberate isolation through the  withholding social interactions.

Neglect is the failure to provide adequate levels of food, water, shelter, and veterinary care to animals. Sexual abuse includes any sexual conduct with animals, which may or may not result in physical injury to the animal.

Unfortunately, examples of all of these kinds of animal abuse have been investigated by the ARL’s Law Enforcement department.  Last year alone, our Law Enforcement team led or assisted in the investigation of 576 cruelty cases.

ARL Blog:  Most people would agree that reporting animal cruelty helps the animals involved and for that reason is importance to do.  But is there an even bigger impact reporting animal cruelty has on a community?

Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Absolutely.  Animal abuse is an important social issue affecting animals, families, and communities.

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

Family and animal protection professionals have recognized this connection, noting that abuse of children, elders, domestic partners and animals result in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence.

ARL Blog:  So reporting concerns about animal cruelty can really make a difference to both animals and people?

Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Yes, when animals in a home are abused or neglected, it’s a warning sign that others in the household may not be safe. In addition, children who witness animal abuse are harmed and are also at a greater risk of becoming abusers themselves.

Laws provide animals with protection from abuse; however successful prosecution depends on reporting by witnesses to law enforcement authorities.  Protecting animals and creating safe and humane communities has to be a priority for us all.

Learn more about animal cruelty and domestic violence.

For more on this topic visit arlboston.org/take-action