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Articles Tagged with: Animal Rescue League
I Found A Baby Bird. What Do I Do Now?

The ARL provides tips on when and how to rescue a baby bird on the ground

Spring has sprung. The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. And baby birds are learning to fly.

This time of year, The ARL receives phone calls from concerned citizens who come across baby birds on the ground. Although this sight may seem alarming, remember that part of the process of learning to fly comes with being on the ground. It’s typically best to keep a safe distance and not to intervene unless you’re sure the bird is orphaned or is in immediate danger.

To decide whether or not to step in the next time you spot a baby bird on the ground, follow this helpful flow chart:

What to do if you find a baby bird - flowchart

If the flow chart points you toward intervention, follow these 11 steps to ensure a safe rescue:

How to rescue a baby bird*†:

  1. Grab clean container with a lid and line the bottom with a soft cloth. Poke air holes if there are none.
  2. Wear gloves to protect yourself from the bird’s beak, talons, wings, and any potential parasites.
  3. Cover the bird with a light sheet or towel.
  4. Gently pick up the bird and place it in the prepared container.
  5. Warm the bird if it’s chilled by placing one end of the container on top of a heating pad (low setting) or in a shallow dish of warm water. You can also wrap the container with the warm cloth.
  6. Tape the container closed.
  7. Note exactly where you found the bird. This will be very important for release.
  8. Keep the bird in a warm dark quiet place away from children and animals. Do not give it food or water.
  9. Wash your hands and any clothing and objects that were in contact with the bird to avoid spreading any potential parasites.
  10. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, state wildlife agency, or wildlife veterinarian.
  11. Get the bird to the wildlife expert as soon as possible. It is against the law in most states to keep wild animals in your home if you do not have a permit, even if you plan to release them.

To find a wildlife expert in your area, contact the New England Wildlife Center.

 

*Only adults should rescue baby birds. Before rescuing an adult bird, seek guidance from a wildlife expert.

†Source: Healers of the Wild: People Who Care For Injured and Orphaned Wildlife, By Shannon K. Jacobs


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


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. 


Do You Have Feral Cats In Your Neighborhood?

Help keep them safe by building a simple DIY cat shelter in your yard

A “feral” cat is defined as a cat that has had little or no human contact since birth. Many were initially former domestic cats that were either lost or abandoned. In many cases, these cats still depend on human caregivers for food and shelter.

Learn more about ARL’s Community Cat Program

Some feral cat colonies find shelter for themselves under sheds and uninhabited buildings. Living in these structures poses a risk for these cats because their safety is usually uncertain.

To help keep the feral cats in your neighborhood safe from the elements and potential predators, consider building your own shelter. DIY shelters are inexpensive and simple to build. Please keep in mind, there are many ways to build feral cat shelters.

Watch this video to learn how to build your own feral cat shelter:

 

 


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.

 


Deaf Dog Wiggles Her Way into Staff Member’s Heart

Bringing Awareness to Special Needs Pets

Here at the Animal Rescue League our staff have all sorts of pets and among them is a deaf dog named Tippy. What better time to share her story with you than during Deaf Pet Awareness Week? Read on to learn about Tippy.

Tippy1

Tippy

A little over 8 years ago, Maryann Regan, director of shelter operations at the ARL, was managing the animal intake office of our Boston adoption center when a local animal control officer brought in an extremely wiggly and happy white dog.

The officer explained that the municipal shelter had no room and wanted to know if we had kennel space to house this stray dog. “Almost the moment the officer handed the leash over to me,” says Maryann, “this dog was tugging at my heart strings.  She immediately began to give me kisses and her wiggles were out of control- she seemed like a very happy, sweet girl!”

Maryann found herself spending extra time with her, –going for long walks, giving her extra play time in the play yard, and sharing a few extra treats. Something told her that this dog was meant for her family.

“I introduced her to my husband and it was love at first site. We decided, after her medical exam and behavior evaluation, we would adopt her as long as she and the other family members got along.  The other family members are two senior cats that also have a very special place in our hearts.”

During her behavior evaluation, the wiggly white dog performed true to form–high energy, playful, happy, and sweet!

As affectionate and people-oriented as she behaved, however, she also tended to ignore us when we called for her.

Maryann explains: “It wasn’t consistent with what she was typically displaying in her personality because she was usually very concerned or interested in being near every person she met.  She loved people!  Then, why was she ignoring us?”

The pre-adoption medical evaluation identified the issue: this dog was deaf.

“It’s not uncommon for white animals to be deaf.  This dog was all white, with the exception of a few, adorable black dots here and there bounced around on her body,” says Maryann.  “All the times we called for her attention that she did not respond to was not her ignoring us, she simply couldn’t hear us.”

Neither Maryann or her husband had experience with a deaf dog, but Maryann felt confident that they could educate themselves on how to handle her appropriately.  “I had such a strong bond with this dog, I had no reservations about doing all the homework necessary to make this a successful adoption for us, the cats and for her.”

So, if you’re considering adding a pet to your family, don’t overlook deaf pets in your search.

To learn more about Deaf Pet Awareness Week visit trupanion.com/deaf-pets.


Wally the Cat Recovering from Serious Injuries

Beloved cat survives a perilous walk on prison wall

Last week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston received a call about Wally, a fluffy gray and white cat badly injured during a dangerous walk along the razor wire that lines the top of the wall at Bridgewater State Prison.

09-15-14 Wally PicWally’s mom had given birth to him and his siblings about two years ago outside the prison, and continued to live in the vicinity as her family grew up.  Prisoners and guards had kindly fed and cared for the cats ever since.

The very friendly and sweet Wally had endeared himself to his caregivers who watched him grow from a rambunctious kitten into a particularly curious cat.

No one is quite sure how he did it, but Wally managed to climb 30-40 feet up the prison wall and gotten himself stuck.

For two days he walked along the razor wire line, becoming more frantic as staff, the fire department, and animal control officers from Bridgewater and Halifax tried to rescue him.  The frightened cat injured himself very seriously in the process, cutting himself repeatedly all over his body on the sharp, jagged wire barbs.

A determined prison maintenance worker finally cornered Wally along the wall, threw a blanket over him, and – to echoing cheers from guards and prisoners alike – brought him down to Lisa McKay, the animal control officer in Bridgewater.  She immediately brought Wally to New England Animal Medical Center where veterinarians determined he needed over $3,000 in surgery to repair the damage from his wounds.

Desperate to find an organization willing to cover Wally’s medical costs, help him recuperate, and ultimately find him a new home, McKay called the ARL.

The ARL answered “yes” to the call for help!

Wally sadly lost his tail to his injuries, but thankfully surgeons mended the deep cuts in his back leg and above his eye.  He is now recovering in the care of a dedicated foster volunteer and will eventually come to the ARL when he is ready for adoption.

Very importantly, Wally will survive.  The kindness, compassion, and love so many have shown him will continue to carry him through.

Would you like to help Wally and other animals like him?

Only with your support can animals like Wally get emergency medical assistance when they need it most.

Click here to make a donation to help pay for the care and treatment of Wally and other animals like him.


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 shelter 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 shelter and read her adoption profile 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.”


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.

Rugby Licking His NoseRigorous 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.

Watch more videos of Rugby.

06-10-14 Rugby & Schettino PicIn 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.

View Rugby’s adoption profile.

Stay tuned for further updates about his progress!

 


Closing Thoughts on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month From Mary Nee

Today, the last day of April, concludes Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.

Mary & Mickey square

ARL past president, Mary Nee

Bringing greater attention to the issue is, of course, central to what the ARL does all year long, yet if you asked me why should we bring greater attention to the issue of animal cruelty, I’d say the reasons go well beyond the mission of our organization.

Reason #1: Animal cruelty is a big problem.

In 2013, the ARL assisted in the investigation of 567 cases of animal cruelty—that’s more than one case a day and we’re just one of many organizations and law enforcement agencies in the state legally pursuing animal welfare issues.

When you consider that at least 80% of animal cruelty remains undiscovered, the magnitude of the problem truly sinks in.

Reason #2: Animal cruelty can indicate other illegal activity, domestic abuse, and mental illness.

Animal cruelty can take many forms.  The intentions behind deliberately inflicting injuries or failing to provide minimum care and nutrition can vary.

Sometimes an animal is physically abused or denied basic care for sport or other financial gain, as in the case of staged dog fighting.  Other times, an animal is intentionally harmed to physically or emotionally intimidate a partner or family member.  In still others, a hoarding compulsion quickly overwhelms an owner’s ability to provide basic care and nutrition to the animals living in the home or on the property.

In each situation, however, the safety and well-being of animals, people, and our communities are all potentially at risk.

Startling statistics remind us of the strong connection between animal cruelty and other forms of violence and criminal behavior.  In a Massachusetts study, for example, 70% of animal abusers had criminal records including crimes involving violence, property, drugs, or disorderly behavior (Arluke & Luke, 1997).

Reason #3: What we do to address animal cruelty reflects our tolerance for other forms of family and community violence.

Heightened awareness of how animals are cared for and treated not only helps reduce the number of tragic cases of animal suffering, but also moves us closer to a more just and humane society where both people and animals are valued.

Whether it’s violence against an animal, child, or an adult, we should all do something to stop it from happening.

Reporting suspicions of animal cruelty to local authorities plays a critical role in prevention.  As we have talked about all this month, if when you see something, please say something and call your local police. 

You will make a tremendous difference in the lives of people and animals.

– Mary Nee, Past President of the Animal Rescue League of Boston