ARL’s Dr. Smith-Blackmore comments to CBS News
CBS News paid a visit to the Animal Rescue League of Boston to interview Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare, about the rising trend of “puppy transports” – when animals are relocated from one community to another state or region for adoption.
Watch the CBS Evening News story
Often because of socioeconomic or cultural, animal control facilities and shelters in many regions of the country find themselves with far more stray or abandoned puppies and young dogs than they can find homes for locally.
Since the practice of puppy transports began, many veterinarians have expressed concern about the health, welfare, and safety of animals traveling on a transport, as well as the risks that transported dogs may pose to dogs in the receiving communities. Veterinarians want to ensure steps are taken to control the spread and transmission of disease.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore offers her insights on the rising trend of puppy transports.
As the chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Animal Welfare Committee, Dr. Smith helped craft the AVMA’s policy on the relocation of animals for adoption. Ahead of her interview with CBS News, we sat down with her to talk more about what people should know about puppy transports.
ARL Blog: What are the major concerns veterinarians have about puppy transports?
Dr. Smith: The biggest concern veterinarians have is for animal and public health – that animals with mostly unknown medical backgrounds and lacking much preventive care would spread large amounts of infectious disease from the place they were leaving to the place they were headed. The health, welfare, and safety of animals during the transport–how they are treated and cared for during travel–is also something veterinarians care about very much.
They also care about their clients, who may end up heartbroken if the unwittingly adopt a sick puppy.
ARL Blog: If someone is considering adopting from a puppy transport, what do they need to know?
Dr. Smith: Learning more about the shelter or rescue group you’re adopting from to find out how the health and safety of animals and people are addressed before and during transport is very important!
One of the major goals of the AVMA policy was to provide organizations with guidance on doing transports safely and humanely. The public can also use the AVMA policy as a point of reference for the standards of care they should expect from any group transporting animals for local adoption.
Download the AVMA’s Best Practices for the Relocation of Animals for Adoption
Find out if and how the organization that is bringing the puppies in for adoption is helping the community where they came from. Are they giving back to the sending community to improve access to spay/neuter and other veterinary services? Organizations involved in puppy transports run the gamut from responsible, welfare-oriented groups, to uncaring individuals motivated by financial profit.
The ARL works with rescue partners to bring puppies from the South to our Brewster shelter several times a year. Our Boston shelter also receives occasional transports of chihuahuas from California.
ARL Blog: Has the increased interest in puppy transports had an impact on local animals who need homes ?
Dr. Smith: The AVMA policy encourages communities to assess their local animal population first to figure out if there’s a real shortage of adoptable animals. Because of higher spay/neuter rates of dogs in New England, for example, there aren’t as many stray or abandoned puppies as there are in other parts of the country.
There are dogs in many communities in Massachusetts that need help getting to a shelter where they stand a better chance of getting adopted. To address this issue, the ARL collaborates with the Massachusetts Animal Coalition’s AniMatch program.
The idea is for organizations to pursue their passion for helping animals find homes in a healthy, safe, and responsible way for all animals, people, and communities.
Celebrating the holiday season with furry friends
It’s crunch time for holiday shoppers and finding that perfect gift that makes a friend or family member stand up and jump for joy remains very much on the minds of many this week.
Giving the gift of a new furry, feathered, or scaled family member is a frequent choice for a real WOW-factor holiday present. That said, if a new pet is on your mind this holiday season, here are five things to consider.
Thumper would love to come home with you for the holidays!
Manage the surprise. Even at the risk of spoiling the surprise, make sure that the intended recipient wants a new pet. Check with parents that they are willing to help a child care for an animal, for instance, and ensure they are able to financially take on the responsibility.
- Don’t make them sneeze. Confirm any allergies among all household members. No one wants to go get an allergy shot after opening what’s supposed to be an extra special gift, after all.
- Know where they live. Even if you know your intended recipient really wants a cat or dog, make sure they don’t live in a building or development that doesn’t allow pets.
- Find out what they can handle. You want to make sure you know the animal you are getting matches the lifestyle, physical limitation, ages, and personalities in the household.
- Adopt from a shelter. When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life. Adopting from a reputable animal shelter like the ARL’s locations in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham also has many practical benefits. All our adoptable animals, for example, receive spay/neuter services, vaccines, and a health and behavioral screening.
“At the ARL, the visitors who come in looking for a pet to give as a gift to a friend or family usually know their loved ones, what they can take on, and the kind of animal they would like to have as a pet,” explains Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations.
Sometimes our whole shelter staff even gets to be part of the gift-giving experience.
Recently, one merry gift-giver came in after seeing an adoptable dog he knew would be just what his girlfriend wanted. The next day, he brought his girlfriend to the shelter to meet the pup. It was love at first sight, so he surprised her then saying the dog was his special gift to her!
The ARL has many deserving animals looking for a home for the holidays – search adoptables now.
Pet of the Week: Greg has been waiting since October
Greg is a goofy and active 2-year-old pup who loves a good squeaky toy! He’s been patiently waiting for a home since October and would like nothing more than to go home with you for the holidays!
He was a long-term stray before being transferred to us from a local animal control facility, so he is thrilled to have recently discovered squeaky toys. Because he is so playful, he can sometimes become overexcited and grab for his toys, so he would do best in a home without small children.
He’s a very clean dog and doesn’t make a mess in his kennel in between walks.
Greg’s ideal home would have a large fenced yard where he can run around during supervised time outside and play fetch or catch a Frisbee
After enough exercise, Greg likes to be a couch potato and settle down inside. He is also treat motivated and would be a great candidate for obedience classes, which are offered here at ARL, which are discounted for adopters.
Greg is a fast learner and a pro at playing fetch. Watch the video below to see his skills!
View his online profile to see more videos of Greg.
Will you bring Greg home for the holidays? If you’re interested in meeting this playful pup, please stop by ARL’s Boston shelter during our open hours.
Not able to adopt, but still want to help? Please share Greg’s story with your friends and family!
Greg trying to catch snowflakes.
Pet of the Week: 1-Year-Old Prince
Meet Prince! This handsome 1-year-old pup has been at our Boston shelter since October 2 and would love to come home with you for the holidays.
Prince is a sweet boy who loves people and playing with toys. He’s eager to please and wants to learn as much as you’re willing to teach him.
He is very intelligent and responds to his name, as well as come basic commands – “sit”, “look”, and “touch.” Prince can be a lot for another dog to handle, as he is quite pushy and will get in their face; therefore, he will need to go to an experienced owner who will be able to manage his dog-to-dog interactions well.
Prince is still a young boy and he needs lots of exercise, play time, and training. If you’re interested in meeting him, please stop by our Boston shelter!
Read Prince’s profile.
Special things in store for everyone who adopts today
All ARL shelters are open for business on Black Friday with a special “deal” of our own! Everyone who adopts from one of our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham on November 28 will receive:
- The unwavering love and loyalty of a shelter pet (no limit on supply!)
- An ARL pet emergency backpack (cat or dog version, while supplies last)
- Free first wellness visit at Boston Veterinary Care vet clinic
- Free pet toothbrush and toothpaste (while supplies last)
- Only in Boston and Dedham – Coupon for 20% off your entire purchase with PALS reward from Petco Unleashed
- Only in Boston – Coupon for 20% off your entire purchase at D’Tails (73 Berkeley Street, Boston)
- Only in Brewster – Coupon for $10 off your pet supply purchase of $40 or more at Agway
Maverick loves to play and sing. Come meet him on Black Friday at the ARL’s Boston shelter.
Carrie loves being the center of attention. Come meet her on Black Friday at the ARL’s Boston shelter.
Generous supporters of the ARL have also pre-paid the adoption fees on select shelter animals, including the bear-huggable Carrie and the ever-spunky Maverick.
Our Black Friday specials are part of our “Home for the Holidays” community outreach campaign to encourage adoption and support for animals in need in our community. Visit arlboston.org/homeforholidays for more information.
Shelter locations and hours on Black Friday are as follows:
10 Chandler Street, Boston
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
3981 Main St. (Route 6A), East Brewster
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
55 Anna’s Pl, Dedham
1:00 pm – 6:30 pm
November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. Open Your Heart to Rudy!
Rudy is a 10-year young chihuahua. This senior dog is really just a friendly, silly little boy.
Don’t let his senior age fool you, he has lots of spunk in his tiny body and enjoys playing and running around. He’ll wiggle around on the rug and put a show on for you.
He does pretty well on crate training but could use some reminders when going home.
This sweet dog has been at the ARL since October 24. Rudy doesn’t ask for much, he just wants a human to love and a little fleece blanket to burrow in and he’ll be one happy man. He would like nothing more than to have a caring home for the holidays!
Watch his adorable video below and you’ll fall in love with him!
Read Rudy’s profile.
If Rudy sounds like the pup for you, come meet him at our Boston shelter this weekend. He’s waiting for you!
Maverick Has Been Patiently Waiting for a Home Since August 2
Maverick is a handsome 5-year-old cat with real pizzazz! He came to us when his original owner was transferred overseas for work and was absolutely heartbroken about having to give him up. The person knew that he would be in good hands with the ARL and brought all of Maverick’s toys, blankets, brushes, and treats, so he could feel comfortable here while he waited for his new family.
We could feel how loved he was.
After a few days at the ARL, Maverick settled in and we could understand why his original owner was so devastated about having to surrender him. “Maverick is one of the greats. I got to know him and he’s just wonderful,” says Marna, one of our most experienced cat volunteers.
“He just adores being around people and you don’t even have to interact with him all the time, just be near and he stretches out and enjoys your presence.”
Maverick is playful, talkative and affectionate. He always appreciates a cheek scratch and he has an adorable little chirping way of talking to you. Maverick gets lonely sometimes, he doesn’t get along with other cats, but we think that he would do well if he had a cat savvy canine friend to keep him company when his family is not home.
He’s been at the ARL since August and we need your help to find him a home. Please share his story with your friends and family.
Watch the video clip below to get a glimpse of how charming he is.
Read Maverick’s profile.
If Maverick sounds like the cat for you, come meet him at our Boston shelter today. He’s in one of the feline suites upstairs, so be sure to specify that you’re here for him!
It’s the last day of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Open your heart to Carrie!
Carrie is a fun 2-year-old dog, who loves to play and will do anything for a treats. She was surrendered to the ARL when her previous owner’s work schedule changed and she was too active for the household. She’s been at our Boston shelter since August 14 and we hope she finds the loving home she deserves, very soon.
Carrie enjoys going for walks and spending time with her human friends. She is very playful and loves to chew on stuffed toys.
Carrie can be picky of her dog friends, but has made a few in her time here at the shelter. Her best bud, Tyson, just went home last week, so she’s hoping it’s her turn now.
One of Carrie’s favorite things is to be at the center of attention, and she would prefer being the only dog in the home.
You’ll notice that Carrie is a bit on the tubby side, and while she looks adorable as she is, she would benefit from a diet. Luckily, she loves to run and play so helping her trim down will be a breeze for someone who has the time to dedicate to her.
A generous adopter has paid part of Carrie’s adoption fee forward to help her find a home during Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, so her fee is discounted by $125.
If Carrie sounds like the dog for you, please visit the ARL’s Boston shelter to meet her! She’d love to be your new best friend!
Read Carrie’s profile.
Carrie being a goofy girl with shelter agent, Laura.
October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month! Open Your Heart to Elle.
Elle is a beautiful 3-year-old athletic dog who loves to play! She has lots of energy and will need a person who will keep her busy and spend time with her outside.
Elle has been at our Dedham shelter since August 4. She came to the ARL from another shelter and it seems like she never had much contact with other dogs. While Elle loves to play with her fellow canines, she may be too much for some dogs to handle. Elle plays very rough and does best with dogs who play like her and who correct her if she is being too rough. Because Elle is a big, powerful dog, she would do best in a home without children.
Elle is a sweet, quirky girl. One of our Dedham staff members has been bringing Elle home for the past few weeks to give her a taste of family life and she has shown that she is a very good house dog. She is learning her basic commands and is getting a jump start on house training. She loves playing with squeaky toys and will bop around your house chasing one. Watch her adorable video below!
Elle enjoys going for walks and does well on leash when walked using a Gentle Leader. She would make a great companion for someone who has lots of energy to dedicate to Elle. She is a very sweet dog
Visit our Dedham Shelter Tuesday-Sunday 1:00-6:30pm to meet this amazing young lady!
Read Elle’s profile.
October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month! Open Your Heart to Louisa.
Louisa is a gal who knows what she wants – a human to call her very own. She’s a tiny 5-year-old chihuahua who came to the Animal Rescue League from another shelter after having puppies and has been waiting for a home since September 5.
She can be shy with strangers, but once she knows you’re here to stay, she’ll be your shadow. She gets very attached to her person and would be happy to hang out with you all day and snuggle. But, as much as she enjoys staying at home, the moment she sees her leash and you tell her she’s going for a walk, she gets very excited and dances in circles all around you! Watch her video below to see what we mean.
While she is very small, Louisa does have a mighty bark and will sound the alarm when you aren’t by her side, so she’ll need a little help working on her separation anxiety. Because she can be a little nervous, we think she would prefer a quiet home without a lot of visitors and activity, so a home with small kids would not be ideal.
Louisa would make the perfect lap dog for someone who spends a lot of time at home and can give her all the love and attention she needs. She wouldn’t mind being your spoiled little princess!
If Louisa sounds like the perfect dog for you, come meet her at our Boston adoption center and help make this a fantastic Adopt-a-Dog Month for Louisa!
Read Louisa’s online profile.