ARL Joins City of Boston Animal Control Commission

Maryann Regan to serve on important animal welfare group

Late last week, Maryann Regan, the ARL’s director of shelter operations, received a letter announcing her appointment by the Mayor to the City of Boston’s Animal Control Commission. The Mayor convened the commission to ensure continued forward progress on animal care and control in the City.

After bringing concerning conditions at the Boston Animal Control facility in Roslindale to the attention of Mayor Walsh this summer, the ARL has continued to support the City’s reform efforts.

Maryann Regan signing

Maryann Regan signing after taking the Oath of Office

Yesterday, we followed Maryann to Boston City Hall where she completed the swearing in process. We’re happy to announce Maryann along with eight others are now officially members of the Animal Control Commission!

Members of the Animal Control Commission will meet at least once a month to coordinate the work of public and private agencies concerned with animal care, protection, and control. They will also establish and maintain a spay and neuter clinic within the city. For more information on the Animal Control Commission please visit

A special thank you to City Clerk Maureen Feeney and everyone at the Boston City Hall for graciously welcoming the ARL!

Maryann Regan and Maureen Feeny

Maryann Regan and Maureen Feeney share a hug at the end of the oath process.



Thank You Thursday – Boston City Council

Councilman Matt O’Malley Introduces World Spay Day Resolution

HUGE THANKS to Councilman Matt O’Malley for introducing a resolution to Boston City Council acknowledging World Spay Day in Boston!

boston city council omalley

Before the Boston City Council convened, Councilman Matt O’Malley took a pre-meeting with Jenny Lee, an adorable adoptable dog our friends at the MSPCA brought to celebrate the occasion.

World Spay Day is celebrated on the last Tuesday of Spay/Neuter Awareness Month – also known as February – to raise awareness and increase spay/neuter rates among owned, stray, and feral cats and dogs.

Councilman O’Malley invited representatives from the ARL, Boston Animal Control, and MSPCA to join him on the podium as he introduced the resolution.  He highlighted the importance of spay and neuter efforts to prevent animal homelessness, as well as the work the ARL and MSPCA do make spay/neuter affordable and accessible to Boston residents.

Thank you to the entire Boston City Council for supporting efforts to increase spay and neuter rates!

Need more information about why It’s Hip to Snip? The ARL is deeply committed to preventing animal homelessness from happening in the first place.  Because so many of the animals in shelters come from unplanned litters of puppies and kittens, increasing spay and neuter rates is critical to solving the problem.  Learn more at


Your Spay/Neuter and Winter Pet Health Questions, Answered

Dr. Schettino’s Answers to Spay/Neuter and Winter Pet Health Questions from Yesterday’s Twitter Chat

Thank you to all who participated in and submitted questions to yesterday’s World Spay Day twitter chat with the Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s director of veterinary medical services.

In case you missed it, you can see a transcript of the conversation below.01-11-14 Dr Schettino

Introduction: @ARLBoston: Welcome to the #ARLAskaVet twitter chat! @ARLDrS will take your Qs re: #spayneuter and winter pet health now!

Q: How old does my puppy need to be before she can be spayed? #arlaskavet
A: Dogs can be spayed and neutered as early as 12 weeks. Checking with your vet for the optimal age is best. #arlaskavet


Q: What would you say are the most common reasons people do not spay or neuter their pets? #arlaskavet
A: Great question: People want to have puppies or kittens from their pet, people want their family to witness the birth.
A: It is too expensive, they think their pet will “feel” less male or female; they don’t want their pet to get fat #arlaskavet


Q: Are there non-surgical options for spay or neuter? Do you ever recommend them? #arlaskavet
A: Yes for male dogs, but it is a new procedure and it is not for everyone or every dog. #arlaskavet


Q: @aaaltobelli: How long does the spay/neuter surgery take? @ARLDrS @ARLBoston
A: Neuters typically take 10-20 mins and spays 20-40 mins for the average veterinary #arlaskavet


Q: @pawspluspals: How risky is spay/neuter surgery for animals? #arlaskavet
A: Every surgery has a risk, however it is very minimal. Best to ask your vet about your individual pet #arlaskavet


Q: @ubergirl4: What are some of the health benefits of spaying or neutering your pet? #arlaskavet
A: Male dogs that are neutered, their risk of testicular cancer is eliminatedRisk of mammary gland cancer is severally reduced 4 spayed pets before their first heat cycle #arlaskavet


Q: My dog doesn’t like them, but is it better for him to wear booties with all salt on the ground? #arlaskavet
A: Some dogs won’t walk w booties, if your dog is 100% against them just wash their feet before coming inside #arlaskavet


Q: @TinyTobyTweets: Can rabbits and guinea pigs be spayed/neutered as well? #ARLAskaVet
A: Great question! Yes to all!!! Female rabbits 100% should be spayed to prevent ovarian cancer #arlaskavet


Q: Should I be concerned my cat’s weight or personality will change after he is neutered? #arlaskavet
A: No – cats gain weight because they eat too much and exercise too little.. just like us! #arlaskavet


Q: Can dogs and cats get frostbite? #arlaskavet
A: Yes, especially on their ears and paws. Just limit the amount of time outside on those very cold days (like today) #arlaskavet


Q: It’s shedding season for my cat! What do you recommend to prevent hairballs? He hates brushing. #arlaskavet
A: Brushing is best! However it can take some time 4 your cat 2 get used 2 this, go slow & respect their time limits #arlaskavet


Q: @leebren9: Are there additional risks in spaying an 8yr dog? #ARLAskaVet #SpayNeuter
A: Risks increase as your pet gets older it’s never 2 late 2 spay your dog, benefits outweigh the risks. #arlaskavet


Q: @amibowen723: Where can pet owners find out about affordable spay/neuter options in MA? #ARLAskaVet
A: Check out:  and … #arlaskavet


Q: @aaaltobelli: Can you spay a dog in heat? #ARLAskAvet
A: Yes you can spay a dog in heat, although it is best to wait until their heat cycle is over #arlaskavet @aaaltobelli


Q: Will a coat keep my dog warmer in the winter? Is it necessary? #arlaskavet
A: Yes it can but it is not necessary. Depending on your dog it can help although not all dogs are fans #arlaskavet


Q: Will my dog/cat be in a lot of pain from their spay/neuter surgery? #arlaskavet
A: It depends on your pet, most pets recover within 12-24 hours. The problem is keeping them rested! #arlaskavet


Q: On average, how long does it take a dog or cat to recover from spay/neuter surgery? #arlaskavet
A: Routine dental care is best. Talk to your vet, if you don’t brush regularly it may be time for a cleaning! #arlaskavet


Q: February is pet dental health month. How often should I get my dog or cat’s teeth cleaned?
A: Check out this link for our dental promotion  #arlaskavet


Q: Can a dog or cat be spayed or neutered after they’ve had a litter? #arlaskavet
A: Yes .. it is never too late to spay or neuter your pet!! #arlaskavet


Q: Since it’s #WorldSpayDay, please tell us the top 5 reasons it’s #hiptosnip. #arlaskavet
A: Check out the link … for 5 reasons it’s #hiptosnip #arlaskavet


Q: @AmandaLarosee: Will a male neutered cat still spray? #ARLAskaVet
A: It is best 2 neuter your cat before they start 2 prevent this behavior. If they started- neutering will help #arlaskavet

World Spay Day Event 12 PM Today!

Join ARL’s Dr. Schettino for #ARLAskaVet Twitter Chat

Join the conversation on World Spay Day, Tuesday, February 24, at 12 pm (Eastern) when our very own Dr. Edward Schettino, director of veterinary medical services, will host a #ARLAskaVet twitter chat.

Dr Schettino world spay day

Dr. Schettino and Socks preparing for the #ARLAskaVet twitter chat on World Spay Day.

As part of our “It’s Hip to Snip” spay/neuter awareness campaign, next week’s twitter chat will focus primarily on spay and neuter frequently asked question, as well as common misconceptions pet owners have about the low-risk surgery.

According to research conducted by PetSmart Charities and Ipsos Marketing, the top reasons given for not spaying/neutering a pet include:

  • 41% say “my pet is too young”
  • 32% say “it’s too expensive”
  • 21% say “haven’t gotten around to it/haven’t had time”
  • 11% say “don’t feel it’s necessary because my pet is confined to my home”

Dr. Schettino will provide information about age, how to find low cost options, and why it’s not a good idea to procrastinate when it comes to spay/neuter [HINT: in one year, an unspayed female cat can have as many as 6 litters of kittens!]

Read his recent interview on spay/neuter myths 

As a special bonus and inspired by the snowy and cold winter, Dr. Schettino will also take your winter pet health questions.

To participate in the conversation, follow the ARL on twitter (@arlboston) and submit your questions using the hashtag #ARLAskaVet. Questions may be submitted real time or in advance.

For more information about spay/neuter and low-cost resources visit

It’s Hip to Snip Fun Fact: Former Mr. Bond actor Pierce Brosnan teamed up with the California Spay and Neuter License Plate Fund Inc. and the Veterinary Medical Board for the special Pet Lover’s License Plate Program. The initiative provides funding for free and low-cost spay/neuter. The special license plate boasts original artwork by the actor and features his family’s adopted pets – Shilo, their dog, and Angel Baby, their cat.


Winter Weather Animal Rescues

ARL’s Rescue Services Team On the Snowy and Icy Scene

winter animal rescue duck

Many wild birds like this goose spotted behind a store in Quincy have had difficulties finding food this winter.

This winter has been rough for everyone in Massachusetts, including our four-footed and winged friends.  Luckily for animals in distress, the ARL’s rescue team has been on the scene to help.

The storms have especially taken their toll on wild birds, including ducks, geese, and swans.  Not only are they turning up in unusual and less-than-safe places such as busy parking lots looking for something to eat and a place to rest, but they are also getting injured.

Just this week alone, the rescue team scooted out on the ice to help an injured goose on the frozen Charles River in Waltham,  assisted a sick swan who had been sitting in the middle of a driveway in Lynn for quite some time, and waded through the icy waters in Gloucester to help a duck entangled in netting.

Other types wildlife have had difficulties, as well.  On Wednesday evening, the team assisted in the rescue of a coyote stuck out on the ice in Quincy.  The team helped move the animal back to shore as his or her nervous mate paced anxiously back and forth.

winter animal rescue netting

The ARL rescue team pulled this duck entangled in netting from the icy ocean waters off Gloucester.

Between the frigid temperatures and snow, stray and feral cats have also been struggling this winter.  One injured stray cat wedged itself behind some boards in Boston covered by a huge snow drift.  The rescue team dug her out and brought her back to our Boston shelter for further care.

After a concerned citizen reported a feral cat had been stuck in a heating vent after snow from the last several storms covered the opening, the City of Boston lent a hand to the rescue team to get through the snow and free the trapped animal.

As a feral cat, he (or she) was not too keen on sticking around to thank his human rescuers, but community members have since spotted him and say he appears to be doing fine.

When a horse barn in Stoughton collapsed from the weight of the weekend’s snow, the ARL rescue team was also on the scene to provide assistance moving horses to new shelter.  Luckily, no horses were injured in the collapse.

winter animal rescue feral cat

The rescue team worked alongside the City of Boston Inspectional Services to remove snow in order to free a feral cat stuck inside a heating vent for over a week.

THANK YOU to all the animal control officers, the City of Boston, and the many kind citizens who are looking out for animals in our community this winter!

YOU CAN HELP TOO!  The ARL doesn’t receive government or public funding to provide rescue services to animals in distress.  Make a donation today to ensure domestic animals and wildlife get assistance when they need it most!



New shelter hours starting this week!

Starting tomorrow, new adoption center hours at all ARL shelters

valentines day pet dogPlanning a visit to an ARL shelter during February school vacation week?  Be sure to check out the new hours at our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham!

PLEASE NOTE: Our adoption centers are closed to the public today in honor of the President’s Day Holidays!

Beginning Tuesday, February 17, all shelters will be open 1 pm – 6:30 pm, Tuesday – Sunday, to allow for extended adoption hours.  Our shelters will accept adoption applications until 6 pm to allow us time to send home your new pet.

Our Boston shelter will begin extended weekend hours on February 27 – Boston adoption center hours ONLY will remain the same, 1 pm -4 pm, Friday, February 20 – Sunday, February 22.

When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life.  All adoptable animals at the ARL also received:

  • Spay or neuter services
  • Health screening and veterinary examination
  • Behavior screening and evaluations
  • Vaccinations and flea/tick/mite treatment
  • Microchip identification and registration

Search adoptables now

Come find your pawsitively purr-fect match at an ARL shelter soon!


Winter Weather Closing Info

Staff providing care as the snow flies today

Once again, due to the snow storm, our adoption centers in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham will be closed today.  Shelter and facilities maintenance staff, however, stayed at our shelters last night to make sure the animals remain safe, warm, and in good spirits during yet another major snow event!

winter shelter ferl cats

The ASPCA says an elevated foam bin filled with straw provides warm shelter for feral cats.

Our rescue and law enforcement teams will also stay off the roads today for safety.

With all this snow, we have received an increasing number of calls from concerned citizens with questions about feral cats.  Our rescue team suggests trying to coax a feral cat indoors to a garage or basement if possible for shelter during snowstorms.

If that’s not possible, the ASPCA has put together a  “how to” guide for making an inexpensive cat shelter.  You can line the inside with straw and use cinder blocks or boards to get the cat shelter off the ground.

For more winter weather pet safety tips, visit


ONE MORE DAY and $5K to Go – Support Spay/Neuter!

Support spay/neuter and enter to win 1 night stay at Boston’s Seaport Hotel

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and the Ellen B. Gray Memorial Fund challenged us to triple a $5,000 donation to spay and neuter programs at the ARL. We kicked off the 15-day “It’s Hip to Snip” Fund Drive to meet that inspiring challenge.

Tomorrow is the last day of the fund drive and we have $5,000 left to go to meet our goal!

Donate Now

hipToSnipStickers_catAll funds donated during the “It’s Hip to Snip Fund” Drive benefit the ARL’s spay/neuter programs and services.

Because so many of the animals coming into our shelters come from unplanned or abandoned litters of puppies and kittens, everyone at the ARL is deeply committed to increasing spay and neuter rates among owned, stray, and feral animals in Massachusetts.

Last year, more than 5,500 cats, dogs, small animals, and livestock were spayed or neutered through the ARL’s mobile Spay Waggin’, shelter medicine, and feral cat programs…and there’s still more to do in 2015 to prevent pet overpopulation!

Donate $50 or more today and automatically enter to win a one night stay at Boston’s Seaport Hotel!  Click here to donate.

SPECIAL THANKS to the Ellen B. Gray Memorial Fund, The Seaport Hotel in Boston, and supporters like you who have made a contribution to support spay/neuter efforts in our community!

It’s Hip to Snip spay/neuter fun fact: Your mother always said to listen to and respect your elders, so let’s all pay attention to Golden Girl Betty White who is serious about preventing pet overpopulation. In 2010, White launched her “Betty’s Bucks for Balls Spay/Neuter Campaign,” asking people to donate as little as $1 to help subsidize spay and neuter surgeries. She continues to work tirelessly for the cause.



Valentine’s Day and Your Pet

Chocolate, flowers, and pets are not a purr-fect match!

Now that you’ve managed to dig your way out after the snow earlier this week, you can finally turn your attention to Valentine’s Day! [hint: it's this Saturday, February 14]

valentines day pet dog

Spread the love this Valentine’s Day and adopt! Looking for your purr-fect match? Consider adopting a pet from the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Many of us purchase tokens of love for the special people  in our lives.  While these gifts may be good for our relationship with our Valentines, many of the  common items people give or get to celebrate the romantic holiday can pose pet health concerns.

Here are three things your pet definitely DOES NOT want for Valentine’s Day:

1. Chocolate and candies.  Chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Many candies and gums contain Xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets. Always keep chocolate and candies out of your pets reach.

2. Flowers.  Certain flowers and plants can be harmful or even deadly to cats and dogs. Flowers such as lilies are highly toxic if ingested by pets. Make sure to keep a special eye  on cats, their excellent climbing skills can give them easy access to flowers and plants.  And indoor cats especially are prone to nibble on greenery!

3. Decorations. Discarded ribbons and packaging can be toxic and even deadly to pets if they are ingested. Balloons also pose a big risk to our furry friends. If swallowed, balloons can cause chocking or blocked airways. Clean up after you’ve opened presents and make sure balloons are resting some where away from your pets.

Need a gift suggestion for your pet this Valentine’s Day? Give them what they really want, of course – extra love and attention, cheek scratches and tummy rubs!

SPREAD THE LOVE and make your valentine smile by helping animals in need!  Make a donation to the Animal Rescue League of Boston and select “I would like to make a tribute” at the bottom of the donation form.  Your loved one will receive a personalized card.

Or purchase a gift certificate from an ARL shelter in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham so your special someone can make the purr-fect match with an adoptable animal.


Winter Weather Schedule Updates

Check here for weather-related closures and delays at the ARL

winter closure

ARL adoptable dog MILO may be the only Bostonian left who still loves the snow! He’s pictured above after a snowy pleasure roll.

Planning a trip to one of the ARL’s shelters or programs today?  Please check the schedule below for information about closures and delayed openings.


Boston – Our adoption center is closed to the public on Tuesday, February 10, so staff can focus on animal care.

Dedham – Our adoption center is closer to the public on Tuesday, February 10, so staff can focus on animal care.

Brewster – Open as scheduled, 10 am – 4 pm.


Delayed opening – BVC will open at 12 pm today to allow staff additional travel time.


Closed – please contact the Spay Waggin’s scheduling office at for rescheduling information, at (877) 590-7729 or

SPECIAL THANKS to our shelter and facilities management staff for working through the storm to care for the animals!

For helpful winter weather pet health and safety information, please visit