ARL President Testifies at State House in Support of Animal Protection Legislation

Proposed Legislation Would Have Wide-Ranging Impacts

This week Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) President Mary Nee and Law Enforcement Lead Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal appeared in front of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government at the Massachusetts State House, urging further discussion and ultimate passage of several important pieces of animal protection legislation.

The Bills

S. 1159 and H. 2419 — An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II), builds upon the original PAWS Act of 2014, and incorporates a number of recommendations made by the Animal Cruelty and Protection Task Force — which was born out of the PAWS Act.

PAWS II has many elements, from prohibiting discrimination against dog breeds, to mandating cross-reporting between human and animal service agencies. President Nee emphasized the latter to the committee.

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ARL President Mary Nee addresses Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.

“I believe this bill is an important tool for human service investigators,” Nee said. “Often victims are reluctant to speak about abuse directed at them but are more comfortable talking about their pets. In this way, it may facilitate the discussion about the larger violence or exploitation happening. Animal abuse is often the red flag warning sign of concurrent and future violence and the earlier professionals can intervene, the higher the rate of success for both the victims and the animals.”

To read President Nee’s entire statement click here.

S. 1145 and H. 416 — An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals, expands current law against cruel conditions to include farm animals. This proposal stems directly from the 2016 Westport animal cruelty case, which involved 1,400 animals. ARL was at the forefront of the coordinated rescue effort and law enforcement investigation.

“S. 1145 and H. 416 allows humane law enforcement to tackle misconceptions head-on by giving them and animal control officers an additional tool, and the people who own the animals a possible solution,” Nee said.

To read President Nee’s entire statement click here.

S. 1155 and H. 1080 — An Act relating to puppies & kittens also received a large amount of attention during this week’s hearing, and the bill would protect puppies, kittens, and consumers in a number of ways:

  1. Prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age;
  2. Improve the “puppy lemon law” to better protect and provide recourse for families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy or kitten;
  3. Require the promulgation of rules and regulations for certain Massachusetts breeders;
  4. Ensure that Massachusetts pets at pet shops only sell puppies and kittens from breeders who adhere to minimum animal health and welfare standards.

The Importance of Advocacy

Part of being a Champion for Animals means being a voice for animals. ARL will continue to support legislation that improves the protection, safety, and well-being of animals, and oppose reforms that will endanger the welfare of animals in Massachusetts. Check back often for updates on the legislative process!

 

Thank You Thursday: From Stray, to Surgery, to Adopted!

ARL’s Cape Cod Branch Gets Helping Hand from Veterinary Partner

In late August, “Gus” was transferred to the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center from Friends of Carver Animals. It’s estimated that Gus had been dumped into a feral colony about 10 years ago, and when he was recently trapped and neutered, because he was so friendly, it was decided he should be placed into a loving home, not returned to the colony.

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Gus following cleft palate repair.

When examined by ARL veterinary staff, it was noted that Gus had a cleft palate that was likely the result of an old injury rather than congenital, as well as a fractured upper canine tooth. A cleft palate for a cat can cause problems eating and swallowing, as well as respiratory complications.

 

Needing surgery, ARL teamed with Eastham Veterinary Hospital, with Dr. John Kelly performing the cleft palate repair, while extracting five teeth as well. Gus was returned to ARL to recover and was fed canned cat food diluted with water, and treated with antibiotics to prevent infection. Gus recovered quickly, and has since been adopted!

In one month, Gus went from a stray, to a rescue, to a patient, and finally to adopted! ARL wants to thank Eastham Veterinary Hospital for its partnership, and for giving Gus the chance to find a forever home.

 

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month: Why Adopt?

Special Study Highlights Why People Adopt Rescue Animals

It goes without saying, but we at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) love each and every rescue animal that comes through our doors. But what motivates the general public to adopt shelter animals, and why would they recommend adoption to others? A recently published study sheds some light on those questions.

The survey study of 1,400 people was conducted by the Shelter Pet Project, an Ad Council public service advertising campaign promoting pet adoption; and was funded by Maddie’s Fund and ARL national partner the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

That face and a handshake, how could you say no? Apollo was adopted this past spring.

That face and a handshake, how could you say no? Apollo was adopted this past spring.

 

So what motivates an adopter?

  •         Adopting a rescue animal is the right thing to do. According to this study, adopters feel good about saving a life and finding a companion in the process. A number of respondents also said adopting a rescue animal “saved them.”
  •         Joining a special group. One-third of respondents loved the idea of joining the passionate and special community of shelter-pet adopters.
  •         Great experience. This is something we hear a lot of at ARL. Survey respondents felt the adoption process was smooth, things were organized, and staff was knowledgeable. One-third said the process was fun!

Recommending adoption to others

  •         71 percent of respondents passionately recommend shelter/rescue animals — compared to 41 percent of those acquiring an animal from a breeder, and 21 percent acquiring from a pet store.
  •         Respondents felt adoption evokes a strong sense of pride, kindness and social responsibility to a degree not displayed among the breeder and pet store segments.

The complete study can be read here.

Saving Lives

When you adopt, you are giving your new companion a second chance, and are saving two lives — the animal you adopt, and the one that takes its place in our shelter. Create your own success story and visit ARL’s Boston, Brewster, or Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers today!

 

Happy Tails Tuesday: Collaborative Rescue Effort Saves Lost Dog in Blue Hills Reservation

Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement and Rescue Departments, Quincy’s animal control officer, and two rangers with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MDCR), a lost dog in the Blue Hills area in Quincy is home — safe and sound.

While driving through the Blue Hills recently, ARL Law Enforcement Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal noticed people on the side of the road interacting with a young pit bull-type dog. For Lt. Borgal, the job doesn’t stop, so he pulled over to offer assistance.

“The dog seemed friendly, but frightened, so he wouldn’t come,” Lt. Boral said. “At one point I turned around and just like that he was gone into the woods. There are all sorts of dangers in that area for domesticated animals, from wildlife and treacherous terrain to traffic congestion, so it was imperative to find this dog before something tragic happened.”

Lt. Borgal contacted MDCR Rangers Tom Bender and Lawrence Walsh as well as Quincy ACO Don Conboy to come up with a plan to capture the dog safely, with the hopes of returning him to his owner. It turns out the rangers had interacted with the dog, but had been unable to catch him so the best solution was to set a trap for the pup.

Lt. Borgal provided a humane trap, and once the rangers set it up, within hours the dog was captured!

Once on-scene, Lt. Borgal ARL Senior Rescue Agent Mike Brammer, and MDCR Ranger Walsh lugged the trap through the woods and transported him back to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center. It turns out that “Cezar” was microchipped, however the information hadn’t been updated in some time.

“It took a bit of detective work to find the owner of the dog,” Lt. Borgal said. “The owner brought Cezar to work with him and he wound up slipping away and was on his own for about three days.”

Cezar has been reunited with his owner, and is back to curling up in his favorite spot — under the bed. ARL would like to thank all those involved who made Cezar’s safe return possible and if you see a lost or frightened dog on a roadway, contact local police, animal control, or ARL so that animals like Cezar can be rescued out of harms way.

Update Your Information

Having a microchip implanted in your animal is important just in case he or she strays off. But it’s equally as important to make sure your information is updated whenever you move or change your contact information. Preparedness is responsible pet ownership!

 

Dr. Edward Schettino Selected for Prestigious UMass-Boston Fellowship Program

Each year the UMass Boston Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) brings together 40-50 rising leaders from the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors to build collaborative leadership strategies to benefit their respective organizations. Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services has been selected for the 2017-18 fellowship cohort.

The ELP recently kicked off with an intensive, week-long immersion seminar.

“Our first full week of the course challenged our thinking regarding purpose, trust, difficult conversations and identifying in ourselves as well as in our other fellows how our differences unite us and bring us closer together,” Dr. Schettino said. “We were privileged to have multiple guest speakers from current leaders in Boston.”

The program will continue with monthly forums through April 2017, and outcomes of the program include:

  •         Gaining confidence to enact the collaborative leadership model within their organization
  •         Ability to lead while encouraging leadership in others
  •         Forming deep, durable, and diverse relationships with peers across sectors and industries
  •         Becoming more aware of important social justice issues resulting in civic engagement

ARL President Mary Nee nominated Dr. Schettino for the ELP program, and the educational benefits and learning models will have a meaningful and long-lasting impact on ARL as a whole.

“I am excited to be part of this program and look forward to promote ARL in our workshops as well as to bring back new skill sets to share within our organization,” Dr. Schettino said.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Schettino on his educational achievement!

 

A Perfect Beginning to Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

ARL Receives Pups from the Tar Heel State

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and what better way to begin this celebration than by receiving a transport of rescue canines that are truly being given a second chance. This week, two dozen puppies and dogs made the 900 mile trek from North Carolina to Massachusetts, as the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) expanded its network of transport partners to the Tar Heel state.

The pups came from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Ashville, and Alexander County Animal Services in Taylorsville and were transported to ARL’s Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

The Issue

Because of accessible and affordable spay and neuter services, there is a large demand for puppies and kittens in Massachusetts, and the Northeast in general. Conversely, the Southern region of the country is seeing overwhelming numbers of animals in need.

“In the Southeastern region of the United States, many shelters are overwhelmed, which tragically results in high kill rates,” said Andee Bingham with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. “People in this area don’t understand the importance of spay and neuter. Resources are lacking and financially many people can’t afford to spay and neuter. We (Brother Wolf) pull these animals from these situations and save their lives through transport.”

“By transporting animals from that region to the Northeast, we’re able to extend ARL’s reach to help animals in need, while allowing those organizations to continue their important work,” said Caitlin Tomlinson, ARL’s Associate Director of Shelter Operations.

The pups have settled into their new surroundings, and after undergoing the state-mandated 48-hour quarantine period, medical checks and behavioral evaluations, these precious creatures will be ready to find their forever homes!

Adopt From a Reputable Shelter

Every animal that comes into the care of ARL is provided with kindness, extraordinary veterinary care, and daily behavioral enrichment to not only make them happy and comfortable while they’re in our shelter, but also prepare them for life in their future home. Additionally, when you adopt, you save not one life but two: the animal you adopt and the one that will take its place.

 

How Maybelle the Pot-Bellied Pig Got Her Groove Back

A Much-Anticipated Weigh-In

You may remember Maybelle. The obese one-year-old pot-bellied pig has been in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) since May and the main goal for her rehabilitation has been simple — to lose weight. Maybelle has made tremendous progress during the summer months, and this week ARL staff decided it was time to get her on a scale to really see how much weight she has lost.

Maybelle came to ARL weighing 196 pounds, but is now down to about 175!

Twenty pounds may not seem like a lot, but for Maybelle’s overall status, losing 20 pounds has been transformative.

Maybelle scale body pic

A tale of two pigs.

Strutting Her Stuff

Pigs are highly intelligent animals, and when Maybelle arrived at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, she was very depressed. Her depression stemmed from not only her obesity, but her lack of mobility and extreme discomfort. However over the last few months, and particularly in the past few weeks, we have seen a remarkable change.

Maybelle has made ARL’s iconic Dedham barn into her own personal walking track. She’s moving freely and on the day she was weighed, she put on quite a show for staff, volunteers, and media members in attendance. While showing off her mobility, she was playful, happy, and interactive, which is a great sign moving forward. Click here to see video of Maybelle strutting her stuff!

While continuing her weight-loss program, Maybelle is currently up for adoption, however any potential adopter would have to be able to provide a sufficient environment to house a pig, and be committed to her continued rehabilitation.

Long-Term Commitment

Despite the weight-loss, Maybelle still has a ways to go. She should weigh somewhere between 120-130 pounds, so her diet of six small meals a day will continue, and ARL staff and volunteers will give this famous pig all the support and encouragement she needs until the goal is reached. ARL’s veterinary team estimated that Maybelle’s weight-loss will take nine months to a year to complete, so stay tuned for updates on her progress!

 

A-List Vote Proclaims ARL as Best Local Charity — Again!

ARL Claims Top Spot for Fourth Time

The Boston A-List, presented by WGBH, represents the best that the City of Boston can offer in 189 different categories, and once again the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has been chosen as Best Local Charity!

ARL also claimed the title of Best Local Charity in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Nearly 32,700 online votes were tabulated to determine the winners, and for ARL, the A-List acknowledgement is a tribute to the important work that’s being done every day by ARL’s staff and volunteers to help animals in need.

“I am very proud of all the volunteers and staff whose compassionate care of animals was recognized by the Boston A-List,” said ARL President Mary Nee. “Their efforts, along with the thousands of donors who make this work possible, reached nearly 18,000 animals in 2016. We are all, animals and the people that love then, a better community because of this.”

Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), the clinic with a mission, claimed the number two spot in the Best Veterinarians category for the 2017 Boston A-List, this after being named number one in 2014 and 2016.

To everyone who voted to support ARL and its mission, we THANK YOU!

 

ARL Takes in Kittens from Irma-Impacted Florida Shelter

On Thursday, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) received an emergency transport of 10 kittens from the Palm Beach, FL-based Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, who was directly impacted by Hurricane Irma.

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An ARL new edition.

In the days following both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, ARL has been in constant contact with individual shelters as well our national partners, and has made it known that if animals need to be transported from Texas, Florida, or other areas, ARL will make space available.

 

“By taking in these animals who were in Peggy Adams’ shelter, it allows that organization to open up space to be able to assist stray, hurt or abandoned animals that need treatment and shelter in the wake of the storm,” said Caitlin Tomlinson, ARL’s Associate Director of Shelter Operations.

ARL recently partnered with Peggy Adams in a transport of 60 kittens in August, and was happy to be involved in the organization’s transport of about 100 animals to the Northeast. As cleanup efforts continue in all the storm-ravaged areas, ARL may be taking in more animals in the days and weeks ahead.

The kittens will undergo medical evaluations, and should be available to find forever homes by early next week.

 

September is Emergency Preparedness Month

Ensuring Your Pets are Included in Emergency Plans

September is Emergency Preparedness Month in Massachusetts, and as part of this important campaign, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind the public that pets need to be included as a part of planning for any natural or man-made disaster. Massachusetts is susceptible to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, and a number of other potential emergency situations. Experts say that being prepared is always the best way to endure any emergency.

When it comes to pets, it starts with having a sturdy and comfortable crate at the ready, should the need to transport your animal arise. Additionally, your pets need a go-bag to make sure they’re taken care of. The bag should be waterproof, and contain necessities for your animals including:

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A sample emergency kit.

  •         Several days’ worth of food and water
  •         Portable food and water bowls
  •         A manual can opener and utensils
  •         Kitty litter and disposable litter boxes, newspaper, potty pads
  •         Trash bags, paper towels and other pet sanitation needs
  •         Pet first-aid kit
  •         Collar with ID tags
  •         Extra leashes
  •         Grooming items
  •         Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof bag
  •         Toys and treats
  •         Bedding

Preparing this kit is also an opportunity to ensure that your pet’s microchip information is correct and up-to-date. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests carrying a picture of you with your pet, just in case you become separated.

Preparedness is responsible pet ownership!