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.
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.
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:
- Prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age;
- Improve the “puppy lemon law” to better protect and provide recourse for families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy or kitten;
- Require the promulgation of rules and regulations for certain Massachusetts breeders;
- 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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
ARL Rescue with MDCR Ranger.
MDCR Ranger Lawrence Walsh with Cezar.
ARL Senior Rescue Agent Mike Brammer sitting with Cezar after transport.
Cezar was missing 2-3 days.
Awaiting patiently to be released from humane trap.
Cezar just wants to go home!
Cezar back home, curled up in his favorite spot -- under the bed.
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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:
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
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!
ARL Veterinary and Shelter Staff Taking Extraordinary Measures
The month of August proved to be unprecedented for veterinary and shelter staff at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). In just 25 days, 112 animals were removed from several different hoarding situations, 62 cats on one property alone. In the weeks that have followed, incredible measures have been taken to ensure the animals are safe and on a path to good overall health.
Nearly 40 cats are currently in isolation for treatment of zoonotic fungal infections, and must be handled delicately. Fulfilling basic tasks for the animals i.e. feeding, cleaning litter boxes and cages, requires Tyvek haz-mat suits, gloves, masks and other safety precautions. The treatment is extensive, and may last up to six weeks.
“It involves twice weekly baths, daily oral medications, and weekly fungal cultures,” said ARL veterinarian Dr. Kyle Quigley. “This process will need to continue for at least 30 days and may take longer to clear the infection.”
ARL’s MASH Unit
At least 15 cats that were removed were community or under-socialized outdoor cats. These cats had to be trapped and removed from the property by ARL due to the conditions on the property. While these cats had not been diagnosed with a fungal infection, ARL veterinary staff had to consider that they were exposed to it. Posing less of a risk to animals and people if they were spayed/neutered and released as quickly as possible, special arrangements needed to be made.
To eliminate the threat of spreading any possible infection, an outdoor spay and neuter clinic was set up at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center. Utilizing a simple camping tent, Dr. Quigley and staff examined, and spayed/neutered the cats. The animals were also given flea treatments and deworming medication. The MASH-type clinic reflects the challenges ARL staff has been presented with in treating these animals.
“Performing these surgeries in a tent isn’t exactly unorthodox, but it does present challenges,” Dr. Quigley said. “The outdoor process takes more than twice as many people as an indoor facility and requires extensive personal protection and disinfection protocols. The tent and any items that were not able to be sanitized were discarded at the end of the day.”
A hoarding situation kitten.
Pre-op for outdoor clinic.
More than a dozen cats needed to be spayed/neutered.
Prepping cats for surgery.
Dr. Kyle Quigley performing surgery.
Cooler temperatures and sunshine made for better surgical conditions.
The outdoor operation required more than twice the manpower than an indoor clinic.
The tent and any items that couldn't be sanitized were discarded after surgeries were completed.
Dr. Kyle Quigley just about finished.
A Life-Saving Approach
For many years, shelters have had to make tough decisions regarding animals diagnosed with or exposed to fungal infections. These decisions have historically been life or death. Unfortunately, cats were often euthanized due to the risk to other animals, people, and the cost associated with treatment. ARL has decided to take another approach — a life-saving approach.
“ARL is treating nearly 40 cats for this infection, and all of these efforts take an extraordinary amount of time and resources,” Dr. Quigley said. “Staff and volunteers must wear personal protection to limit their exposure to the fungus and we must take every precaution not to expose healthy animals in our care. Our dedicated staff and volunteers must spend countless hours working with these cats to give them the best quality of life whey they’re in our shelter, and the best chances we can provide them to find new homes after treatment — that is our charge and one we take very seriously.”
Your Support is Critical
As stated above, caring for these animals has required extraordinary measures, and will also require an enormous time and financial commitment. We need your help. By donating today, you will help:
- Support our special investigations and on-going rescue efforts
- Provide sanctuary and continued, extended care for these animals
- Help rehabilitate and prepare these animals for adoption
ARL is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. Our mission is made possible by your generosity and on behalf of every animal ARL serves — WE THANK YOU.
“Ted” Currently in Foster Care
When Ted was rescued from the Ted Williams Tunnel during Labor Day Weekend, injuries to his tail suggested that he was headed toward a four-month rabies quarantine period due to a wound of unknown origin. That however is no longer the case.
Ted did indeed suffer an injury to his tail, which needed to be amputated, but while he was under anesthesia, it was determined that no quarantine was necessary. That being said, Ted is currently not up for adoption, he is in foster care to work on his social skills.
While still a little fearful following his ordeal, Ted is doing well and will be up for adoption soon — stay tuned for updates!
For the second time this summer, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) joined forces with the Massachusetts State Police to save the life of a kitten on the side of a busy Massachusetts highway.
In June it was along Route 128 near Canton, over Labor Day Weekend, it was on the westbound side of the Ted Williams Tunnel.
State Police received a number of calls from passing motorists concerned about the little grey kitten who was seen wandering along the side of the road. Surveillance cameras zeroed in on the wayward kitty, giving Troopers a better idea of where he was located inside the 8,448-foot long tunnel. Once on-scene, Troopers closed one lane of traffic to keep not only the kitten safe, but ARL’s Assoc. Director of Law Enforcement Darleen Wood safe as well when she arrived to rescue the little guy. The rescue unfolded as a game of hide-and-seek.
“The kitten was roaming in and out between barriers along the side of the tunnel,” Wood said. “I was able to get on the service walkway above the barriers so he didn’t know I was there. When he stuck his head out, I was able to grab him by the scruff and bring him to safety.”
A spitfire, but he is adorable and friendly!
The rescue of Ted has made him a national star, as media outlets throughout the United States have covered this mischievous kitten’s journey from one Boston icon (Ted Williams Tunnel) to another (Animal Rescue League of Boston).
The 12-week-old kitten was brought to ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center where he was evaluated by shelter veterinary staff. Aside from being dehydrated and hungry, Ted also had visible injuries. His tail was void of fur, and the tail itself was described as being “necrotic and mummified” meaning that the injury likely happened several weeks prior to his rescue. Because of the condition of the tail, it will need to be amputated. Ted also had some fur loss around his left ear, indicating another injury that may have been caused by an altercation with another animal.
Because it is currently unknown how these injuries were sustained, Ted will be neutered, have his tail amputated, and then be placed into a four-month rabies quarantine, which is required by state law.
It should be noted that this past year Governor Charlie Baker changed state regulations to reduce rabies quarantine periods from six months to four. ARL lobbied for and strongly supported this change.
Because of the potential for a four-month quarantine, Ted is NOT currently available for adoption, and cannot be visited by members of the general public.
ARL would like to thank the Massachusetts State Police for collaborating on another successful rescue operation, as well as all the passing drivers who alerted authorities of the situation. ARL’s rescue and law enforcement work depends upon the compassion of citizens who want to help animals in need. By phoning or emailing tips, you help save lives!