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Articles Tagged with: animal cruelty
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Awareness Month

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 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. Click here to learn more about how you can prevent animal cruelty. 


March is Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month!

There’s more than just cats and dogs at ARL

Many people assume that animal care & adoption centers only have cats and dogs, but here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) we have a knowledgeable staff and are able to accommodate a variety of animals including guinea pigs.

guinea pig

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

If you’d like to adopt a guinea pig (or other small animal) 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.

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!

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.


Lt. Borgal on the Link Between Animal Cruelty and Community Violence [VIDEO]

As a reminder that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, today we’re sharing a video featuring Lt. Alan Borgal, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Director of Law Enforcement. Lt. Borgal emphasizes the link between cruelty to animals and family and community violence and encourages you to contact local authorities if you suspect animal cruelty or neglect. Remember YOU can give a voice to the victims of animal cruelty, if when you see something, you say something!

A very special thanks to GreatGrandPaws for producing the video for us!

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


7 Warning Signs of Potential Animal Cruelty

Subtle indications that may indicate an animal is at risk

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


Puppy Doe Update: What You Can Do to Prevent Future Cases of Animal Cruelty

Puppy Doe’s call to action: see something, say something

In addition to continuing to support the on-going investigation and prosecution of the Puppy Doe case, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has issued a call to action to the public to report suspected animal abuse to local authorities.

All too often, animal cruelty remains undiscovered. By many estimates, 4 out of 5 cases remain concealed, leaving animals to suffer in silence. Yet we can all give a voice to victims of animal cruelty if when we see something, we say something.

In the words of ARL’s president Mary Nee, “public awareness and people speaking up will be our strongest defense against future cases of animal cruelty.”

In the months since the news about her case first broke, many individuals and organizations have taken action related to Puppy Doe at their own initiative. We respect the right of individuals and businesses to express and pursue their ideas, whether it’s writing a book, selling a product, or producing a video. The ARL, however, has no involvement with any of these projects.

When we’re asked what people can do to channel the grief, sadness, and rage they feel about what happened to Puppy Doe, we suggest supporting an animal welfare organization.

Donate, volunteer, adopt a shelter pet….help them further the work they’re doing to help animals in need.

And most importantly, speak up and report suspicions of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse to local authorities. If when you see something, you say something, you can make a tremendous difference.

Learn more about the signs of animal abuse and visit arlboston.org/take-action for more on what you can do to help animals recover from cruelty and neglect.

 


How to Identify Signs of Animal Abuse

Identifying Potential Pet Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

Studies Show a Correlation Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

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

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

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

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

DEFINING ABUSE

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

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

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