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.
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.
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.
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.
Wally’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.
Please visit arlboston/kintera.org/wally or click the button below to make a donation to help pay for the care and treatment of Wally and other animals like him.
The ARL Accepts Car Donations
Did you know that you can donate your car for to the Animal Rescue League? We accept donations of cars, boats and other vehicles. Our agent will collect the vehicle at no cost to you and will handle the title transfer. They will also supply you with a tax-deductible donation receipt.
When you donate your vehicle to the ARL’s Wheels for Wags program you receive the following benefits:
- Fast, free pick-up
- Donate online or call 1.800.240.0160
- Donate a car, truck, boat, RV, motorcycle, jet-ski, trailer, & more
- Not running – no problem
- No registration – no problem
- No inspection - no problem
- No paperwork hassle – we do it all
- Maximize your tax deduction
- Absolutely free, no hidden costs
Call 1.800.240.0160 to schedule your pick-up appointment. If you would rather have someone call you, fill out our online car donation form.
Donate your car to a great cause today!
September 14 is National Pet Memorial Day
“A pet is never truly forgotten until it is no longer remembered.”
Today we observe National Pet Memorial Day honoring our pets both past and present.
The loss of a pet is never easy. National Pet Memorial Day is an opportunity to bring closure to the departure of your beloved furry family member.
Here are a few ways to commemorate your lost pet on National Pet Memorial Day:
- Reflect upon pleasant memories of your pet
- If you buried your pet somewhere, go for a visit
- Contribute to your local animal shelter
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter
- Create a memorial flower garden in your yard
- Plant a tree or a shrub as a living memorial
Final care is a sensitive and important time in the life of a family pet and no one understands this better than the caring staff at the ARL’s Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery, located next to our Dedham Shelter.
Established in 1907, Pine Ridge is the oldest pet cemetery in the country owned and operated by an animal welfare agency. It’s situated on the grounds of the summer home of the ARL’s founder, Anna Harris Smith. In fact, her own beloved pets were among the first to be buried here.
The staff at Pine Ridge are dedicated and compassionate. Mike Thomas, our cemetery caretaker has been working at Pine Ridge since 1972. Watch a video about him and his incredible work with ARL.
The grounds are a beautifully kept, serene place to visit and tour the historical section for a glimpse into the duration and depth of the human-animal bond.
Spay/Neuter & Exams for Cat Owners with Financial Need on October 2
The Animal Rescue League of Boston, Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society and MSPCA are teaming up to provide spay/neuter services for Boston cats. During the “Boston Spay-Neuter Day for Cats,” pet owners in financial need can have their cats spayed or neutered for the low cost of just $25 per feline. Priority will be given to residents of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.
Call 617.226.5685 to book an appointment for your cat today!
Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats
October 2, 2014
9AM – 4PM
United House of Prayer for All People
206 Seaver Street Dorchester, MA 02121
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
If your cat is already spayed/neutered please help spread the word about Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats, by sharing this blog post with your friends!
Animals helped us respond, recover and move on…
Every year on the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy we take a moment to reflect and honor the nearly 100 loyal search and rescue dogs and their brave owners who worked the scenes in New York City and Washington DC to help with rescue efforts.
While many of the dogs who were an integral part of the rescue efforts on 9/11 have since passed, their memory lives on. This beautiful slideshow from The New York Times shows some of the heroic canines 10 years after that tragic day. It’s difficult to keep your eyes from welling-up as you look at their expressive, gray faces.
Animals play important roles in our lives. Whether they’re recovering victims after a disaster, sniffing for threats at our nation’s airports, visiting with patients in hospitals or greeting us at the door with wagging tails after a tough day’s work, pets make our lives better.
In big and small ways animals helped us respond, recover and move on. Our thoughts, today, are with all of those who lost loved ones, human or canine, on or as a result of September 11.
Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar to Donate Proceeds to ARL and Wild Care on September 19
On Friday, September 19, the iconic Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham will donate all proceeds from the sales of food, ice cream and mini-golf to the ARL’s Brewster animal shelter and Wild Care of Cape Cod. Thanks to the generosity of Arnold’s, you can feel especially good about dining out on the 19th!
Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar has built a reputation for the highest quality seafood with “white glove” cleanliness. Large portions, friendly customer service and affordable prices continue bring visitors and locals alike to this classic Cape Cod spot.
Arnold’s is located at 3580 Route 6 in Eastham. Hours on Friday, September 19 are 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
All-day festivities will include:
- Pet-friendly swag from the ARL (while supplies last)
- Photo fun with the ARL’s “Super Pets” photo backdrop
- Temporary tattoos and stickers for kids and fun-loving adults
- Treats for dogs and door prizes
- Information about adoptable dogs at the ARL’s Brewster shelter
Have a canine family member who’d like to join you? Well-behaved dogs can join their families on the patio!
We’re very grateful to Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar for organizing and hosting this generous fundraising event for our Brewster shelter.
Remember: it may be your last clam bake of the summer, but proceeds from the event will help animals on Cape Cod all year long!
20 ARL Cats Found Homes on Super Caturday!
Our Super Caturday Adopt-a-thon was a huge success! Half of the adult cats we have available for adoption found wonderful homes.
We felt especially happy for cats like Nyla and Short Cake who had been waiting for a home for many long weeks!
Nyla is an energetic, 6-year-old tortie cat who had been at our Dedham shelter since the end of May. This spunky girl came to the ARL as a stray and while many people expressed interest in her, she just couldn’t seem to find her purr-fect match until this past Saturday!
Four-year Short Cake had been with us for 65 days and had already won the hearts of staff and volunteers at our Boston shelter. Our shelter staff was fond of saying that while her eyes may look a little somber, her heart is full of love. We’re sure her new family is experiencing just how affectionate she is right now!
Congrats to all 20 adult cats who found homes last Saturday!
Adoption promotions like Super Caturday help bring potential adopters to our shelters to meet cats like Nyla and Short Cake. If you’d like to support our adoption efforts, please consider becoming a member of the ARL’s Champions Circle.
Register for Fall Dog training Classes at ARL
Back to school isn’t just for kids! The fall is a great time to get you and your pup involved in dog training. As you figure out your fall schedule, be sure to save some time for enriching your dog’s life.
Why send your dog to school? Training your dog benefits him, your family, and everyone around you. Not only does it teach your pup rules and good manners, it also keeps him from getting bored.
Pets can become bored when left alone all day while the family’s at work and school. In a survey, Pet360 discovered that 20 percent of pet owners with school-age children said their pets showed signs of anxiety when everyone in the house went back to their normal routine at the end of the summer. Dog training classes are a fantastic way to bond with your pup and create a fun, challenging routine that will keep your pet active.
The Animal Rescue League offers a variety of dog training classes as part of our commitment to supporting positive relationships between people and their pets.
Our certified, experienced and caring dog trainers help you teach your dog basic and advanced commands, as well as house and outdoor manners. We also offer fun dog sports and agility classes if you’re looking for something more laid back.
All classes are held at our Boston shelter and we offer free on-site parking for your convenience.
Here are a few of our classes that start soon.
- Puppy Kindergarten: Tuesdays September 09 at 6pm and Sunday September 28 at 10am
- Good Manners: Tuesday, September 09 at 7pm and Sunday, September 28 at 11am
- Advanced Puppy Training: Sunday, September 28 at 9am
- Sniffing for Fun: Sunday, September 28 at 12pm
- Canine Good Citizen: Sunday, September 28 at 1pm
Recent ARL alums receive a 25% discount. Boston Veterinary Care clients receive a 10% discount.
For more information and to enroll in a dog training class visit arlboston.org/dog-training.
BOSTON, MA – Animal protection groups including the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and MSPCA-Angell today lauded the passage of Senate Bill 2345 that establishes harsher punishments and financial penalties for animal cruelty and aims to prevent abuse from happening in Massachusetts.
The measures take effect in 90 days once the bill is signed into law by Governor Patrick.
The bill raises maximum penalties for animal cruelty convictions from five to seven years and increases the maximum fine from $2,500 to $5,000. The bill also allows a penalty of up to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000 for repeat convictions. 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.
“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. “This law is an urgently needed update to outdated penalties and ensures that legislators continually receive the best advice on how to combat animal cruelty in our Commonwealth, directly from the experts who deal with it most frequently.”
“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 Mary Nee, president of the ARL.
Prior to the passage of this new law Massachusetts maintained some of the most lenient fines in the nation for animal abuse, with a maximum of $2,500. Many other states have higher prison sentences as well. The new law marks the first update of these penalties in nearly ten years and reflects broad public consensus that animal cruelty must never be tolerated.
Representative Bruce Ayers stated, “The passage of the bill is evidence that lawmakers are listening to their constituents, who—especially in the wake of the horrific Puppy Doe animal abuse case in Quincy, my district, last year —are demanding stricter penalties for those who abuse or kill animals. As the sponsor of this animal welfare bill, I am pleased with this outcome.”
Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell states, “We’re very pleased that this crucial legislation has passed, and we extend our thanks to all of the bill’s sponsors and supporters who championed these reforms. We also thank every caring citizen who contacted state legislators to urge for stronger laws to both punish animal abusers and, importantly, work to prevent cruelty from happening the first place. Animal lovers around the state can today celebrate these efforts and hopefully can find some peace knowing that from such tragic incidents, like Puppy Doe and others, awareness has been generated that will now prevent harm to other helpless animals.”
“Abusive acts toward animals are unacceptable, and all too often can lead to violence toward people. Our laws need to strongly and clearly penalize those who commit the kinds of brutal acts we’ve seen in the Puppy Doe case and others, and this legislation makes major progress in achieving that goal,” said Senator Bruce Tarr. “It couldn’t have been accomplished without organizations like the ARL and the MSPCA the thousands of individuals who have driven this effort from the drafting of the bill to its arrival on the Governor’s desk.
About the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Founded in 1899, the ARL is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. In 2013, the ARL served over 14,000 individual animals through our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, and our law enforcement, rescue, and veterinary services. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need. Visit arlboston.org for more information.
About the MSPCA-Angell
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization.