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Articles Tagged with: Animal welfare
Top 5 Wins in Animal Advocacy

Massachusetts continues to be a leader in animal welfare in 2016

2016 was a historic year for advancing important animal advocacy laws in our state. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) worked tirelessly alongside local and national organizations to help move the needle when it came to the prevention of animal suffering, cruelty, and neglect across Massachusetts.

“There are many things to celebrate this year with respect to animal welfare and protection,” says Nadine Pellegrini, ARL’s Director of Advocacy. “Massachusetts residents should take great pride in being part of a historic ballot initiative which will go a long way in improving the lives of farm animals here and elsewhere. And, we now have a strong law in place to protect animals in vehicles as well as animals who are tethered or housed outdoors.”

Today we celebrate the top 5 wins in animal advocacy in 2016. Click the links below to learn more about each piece of legislation.

Pets in hot cars demo at the State House

1. “Too Hot for Spot” becomes law (see pg. 8) – As of November 16, 2016, S.2369, An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death prohibits pet owners from confining any animal in a motor vehicle when extreme heat or cold could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal. This new law also amends the anti-tethering statute and allows law enforcement officers from ARL and MSPCA to issue citations to violators.

Pig

2. Massachusetts residents vote YES to stop farm animal cruelty  On election night, November 9, 2016, 77.7% of Bay State residents voted yes on ballot Question 3, The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals. This groundbreaking ballot question was a great first step toward farm animal welfare protection in the Commonwealth. By 2022, highly-restrictive cages must be phased out giving farm animals enough space to turn around and extend their limbs. The ballot question will also protect MA families from substandard and unsafe food products.

Cat at the ARL's Boston Adoption Center

3. Rabies quarantine period reduced for shelter animals – On October 10, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker and key members of his administration gathered at ARL’s Boston shelter to discuss a change in regulation to the rabies quarantine period for shelter animals. Under the new law, the quarantine period has been reduced from six to four months, allowing cats and dogs to find loving homes sooner. This decision will improve the lives of animals in need and increase space and flexibility for animal shelters like the ARL.

Rat at ARL's Boston Adoption Center

4. Animal Cruelty & Protection Task Force Report completed (see pg 9) – On July 12, 2016, the Task Force Findings and Recommendations Report was voted on and approved by members of the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force, including ARL’s President Mary Nee. The Task Force was created after the passage of S.2345, An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (“PAWS”) in 2014, a result of the “Puppy Doe” case. For the 19 months following the passage of this new legislation, the Task Force addressed topics; such as current structure and use of anti-cruelty laws, education, housing, training, seizure of animals, and the creation of an animal abuse registry. Click here to read the full Task Force Findings and Recommendations Report.

Dog outside on a chain

5. Conviction upheld for inhumane confinement and chaining of dogs – In June 2016, a Cape Cod woman’s convictions for violating state law by confining her two dogs in a condemned home and a fenced-in yard, was upheld by the MA Appeals Court. The woman challenged her convictions claiming that she did not violate the law because her dogs were not confined outside. The Court disagreed, finding that keeping dogs in filthy and dirty confinement both inside and outside was, in fact, a violation of lawThe dogs had been left alone virtually all day every day for over a year with only intermittent contact with friends. Both dogs were both tick-infested and described as “matted”, “ravaged” and “traumatized.”


Let’s help even more animals in 2017 – together!

While we have much to celebrate from this year, Nadine reminds us that, “There is still so much to do. We must and will continue to advocate for better protection for companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife.”

Only because of YOUR support is ARL able to carry on its important work. Make a gift today to ensure that ARL can continue to prevent animal suffering, cruelty, and neglect across Massachusetts in 2017 and beyond.

Click the red button below to…

HELP ANIMALS NOW


Happening Now: The ARL Joins Coalition to Improve the Protection and Treatment of Farm Animals

The Citizens for Farm Animal Protection advocates for an end to extreme confinement of farm animals in Massachusetts

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and other national and local animal welfare leaders have gathered on the front steps of the Massachusetts State House to formally announce their newly developed coalition, Citizens for Farm Animal Protection, and ballot initiative to curb animal abuse on industrial-style factory farms in Massachusetts.

The coalition aims to collect more than 90,000 signatures by Fall 2015 to help secure a spot on the 2016 ballot.

Mary Nee, president of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, explains why the ARL is in support of this ballot initiative: “The cruel confinement of farm animals is inhumane and also threatens the health and safety of Massachusetts residents through increased risk of foodborne illness.  When there’s an effort to improve the protection and treatment of animals – whether they are companion, working, or farm animals – the Animal Rescue League of Boston is there to help.

The Citizens for Farm Animal Protection coalition also includes the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Zoo New England, and United Farm Workers.

citizens for farm animal protection

In many industrial animal farms, hens are forced into battery cages so small that they cannot spread their wings. Their amount of “personal space” is smaller than an iPad!

The Citizens for Farm Animal Protection’s goal is to qualify a measure for the 2016 ballot phasing out the extreme confinement of farm animals — specificallyegg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves — in small crates and cages, requiring that these animals have enough room to turn around, lay down, and stretch their limbs.

Examples of extreme confinement on industrial-style factory farms include:

  • Egg-laying hens packed into battery cages so small that they cannot spread their wings
  • Breeding female pigs restricted to two-foot wide gestational crates that don’t allow them to take more than one step forward or backward
  • Veal calves restrained in crates too narrow to turn around or fully recline

Industrial animal operations put our health at risk: cramming tens of thousands of animals into tiny cages promotes the spread of diseases.

Numerous studies show that egg operations that confine hens in cages have higher rates of Salmonella, the leading cause of food poisoning-related death in America. Animals kept in extreme confinement often live in their own waste and are pumped full of drugs that can taint the food we eat.

If the 2016 ballot becomes law, it will also ensure that shell eggs, and whole, uncooked cuts of pork and veal sold in the Commonwealth are compliant with these modest standards

Ten states in the US have passed similar laws, and farmers in Massachusetts are already required to abide by the non-confinement regulations. Additionally, many local and major food retailers, including Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s and Walmart, are currently working with food suppliers to make similar reforms.

Help protect farm animals! Look out for and sign the petition that will help secure the 2016 ballot to phase out extreme confinement on industrial-style factory farms.


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. 


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

 


Puppy Doe Update: Next Court Date Continued to 12/20

The Norfolk County District Attorney’s office announced that Quincy District Court has issued a continuance in the case of Puppy Doe, the young adult female dog found severely injured and starved near a park in  Quincy.   The Court continued proceeding to December 20.

Earlier this month, the suspect in the case was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty.  He remains incarcerated as the investigation in the case continues.

Were it not for people expressing their concerns to authorities about the injuries Puppy Doe sustained, the world might never have known about one of the worst cases of animal abuse anyone at the ARL has ever seen.

Learn more about how you can give a voice to victims of animal cruelty by visiting arlboston.org/take-action

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