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.
“Sunshine Kitties” Travel in Style
This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) rescued 60 kittens from a Palm Beach, Florida rescue organization, an operation that had been several months in the making.
What made this transport unique? Besides the sheer number of kittens, these felines traveled in style — aboard a Falcon 900 private jet! It’s the third Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League to the Northeast since June, and the flights have been made possible through that organization’s donors.
ARL joined other organizations at Logan International Airport to pick up the jet-setting kitties, and begin finding them loving homes. Click here to see video of the transport!
Crew unloads kitten cargo.
Kittens are cute--and sometimes a little crazy!
This kitten is standing tall!
Kittens--what's not to love?
Waiting for their companion.
Across the Commonwealth there’s an estimated 700,000 cats that are roaming free, 70,000 in Boston alone. ARL is the first animal welfare organization in Massachusetts to hire a dedicated rescue agent to work specifically with community cats. Deploying a trap-neuter-return (TNR) strategy, ARL is working to decrease the numbers of homeless cats, and to date the program has rescued more than 250 kittens and cats.
Despite these ongoing efforts, there is still a high demand for kittens, due to the success and availability of affordable spay and neuter programs, such as ARL’s Spay Waggin’. Other areas of the country, including Palm Beach, FL, are inundated with animals and need to transport to organizations like ARL to reduce their numbers and allow them to help more animals in need.
This year alone, ARL will transport an estimated 400-500 animals!
Ready to go Home
Per state mandate, the kittens were placed in isolation for 48 hours, were evaluated medically, and are now available for adoption! The kittens will be divided between ARL’s Boston, Brewster and Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers. Stop by today, or check our adoption page to find your perfect match!
Animal abuse is cruel – but it is not always intentional – It can be a sign or product of Human illness
ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is committed to preventing animal cruelty, neglect and suffering in Massachusetts. This is achieved in numerous forms: from citations and filing animal cruelty charges, to working with, and educating pet owners. The latter played a large role during a recent hoarding incident.
Assisting local officials, ARL Law Enforcement recently removed 25 dogs from a Central Massachusetts property, which are now in the care of ARL. DUE TO THE SENSITIVE NATURE OF THE CASE, ARL WILL NOT BE RELEASING THE LOCATION OR NAMES OF THE PARTIES INVOLVED.
In this particular case, there were no signs of intentional or egregious levels of neglect or abuse; due to extenuating circumstances the animal owners were simply overwhelmed.
Hoarding situations are delicate, and ARL’s law enforcement officers recognize that compassion must be given to both the animal and human players involved.
One of 25 dogs removed from hoarding situation.
“Any time we have a hoarding case, we are cognizant to both the animal concentration and the owner awareness,” said Darleen Wood, ARL’s Associate Director of Law Enforcement. “As much as we consider the mental and emotional state of each animal, we duplicate this concern for the animal owner. We do not approach any of these cases with judgement or insolence and each case is unique and each animal owner requires individualistic services which could include elderly, veterans or addiction services.”
Along with contacting human service agencies, ARL Law Enforcement has also coordinated an effort to help the animal owners clean up their property in order to retain ownership of several dogs.
Animal Hoarding Explained
Animal hoarding is a serious, yet under-recognized community issue in Massachusetts that is responsible for extensive animal suffering. It can often be associated with adult self-neglect and/or mental illness, and animal hoarding can also put children, the elderly, dependent adults, property, and public health at risk. Unfortunately, the hoarding situations that ARL encounters are becoming more frequent, and increasingly complex.
Animal hoarders typically fall into one of the three following groups:
- Overwhelmed caregivers are often well-intentioned in their behavior and experience a steady decline in animal caretaking ability due to changes in financial or medical circumstances.
- Rescue hoarders are those who acquire animals due to their strong sense of mission to save animals from death or other circumstance and will not seek the assistance of animal welfare agencies or authorities.
- Exploiter hoarders acquire animals to serve their own needs and lack guilt and remorse for the harm that their actions may cause animals or other humans.
The four main characteristics of animal hoarding are:
- Failure to provide minimal standards of sanitation, space, nutrition, and veterinary care for animals.
- Inability to recognize the effects of this failure on the welfare of the animals, humans in the household, and environment.
- Obsessive attempts to accumulate/maintain a collection of animals in the face of progressively deteriorating conditions.
- Denial or minimization of problems and living conditions for people and animals.
ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is here to help, and if you know of or suspect a hoarding situation you can call 617-226-5610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support ARL’s Law Enforcement Efforts
In 2016, ARL’s Law Enforcement Department inspected nearly 2,300 kennels, farms and pet shops; assisted 151 local police and state agencies; prosecuted 68 individuals involved or accused of animal cruelty/neglect; and was the lead agency on the Northeast’s largest animal cruelty case in Westport, MA, which involved more than 1,400 animals.
ARL does receive any government funding and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to continue our important work. Please donate today to help animals in need!
“Satos” in Need of Good Homes
This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) received its second transport of puppies from All Sato Rescue, a Puerto Rico-based rescue organization.
Ten adorable and energetic mixed-breed pups are now in the process of being evaluated medically, and will soon be available for adoption.
“Sato” is a Puerto Rican slang term for a mixed-breed dog — or mutt. Puerto Rico has an immense population of homeless dogs, nearly 100,000 according to some estimates, and All Sato Rescue is dedicated to getting these dogs off the streets and into loving homes. A lack of spay and neuter programs and economic hardship are just some of the reasons that account for the staggering number of homeless animals on the island. The 10 puppies which arrived this week are sure to be adopted quickly, and are sure to make wonderful pets.
At Logan Airport's cargo area.
Getting loaded for transport to ARL.
Ready to roam after a long flight!
Sato may mean mutt, but it should mean "adorable".
Satos ready for a car ride.
Back at ARL, getting a little outside time.
Satos exploring ARL's outdoor space.
After a long flight, some much needed play time!
In the Northeast, affordable spay and neuter services, like ARL’s Spay Waggin’, are readily available, and animal welfare organizations like ARL have educated the public about the importance of having animals spayed or neutered. Given those efforts, there is a large demand for puppies. What makes transport programs like this so impactful is that it allows ARL to broaden its reach in helping animals in need, helps fill the demand for puppies, and allows organizations like All Sato Rescue to continue their important work.
Additionally, ARL also transports puppies from the Southern region of the United States, where there are also high numbers of homeless animals. This year alone ARL anticipates that more than 400 dogs will be transported to our shelters!
The Animal Rescue League of Boston is an unwavering champion for animals in need, and remember that when you adopt you save not one but two lives — the animal you adopt, and the animal that can take its place. Whether it’s a puppy, adult dog, kitten, adult cat or small animal, ARL’s staff and volunteers at its Boston, Brewster or Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers are there to answer your questions to ensure that the life you save is the right animal for you and your family.
When the Temperature Rises — It’s Too Hot for Spot
Following the tragic and senseless death of a dog left in a hot car in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday, animal advocates, fellow animal welfare organizations, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are joining the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in reminding the public that leaving an animal in a hot car isn’t just a health hazard — it’s also illegal in Massachusetts.
“It is terrible to lose an animal under such preventable circumstances,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement to ARL. “As we close out the final weeks of summer, I remind all Bostonians to never leave pets alone in the car, especially on a hot day. If you see an animal locked in a car and are not able to immediately locate the owner, please call 911. You could help save a life.”
The investigation is ongoing, however officials believe the dog’s owner left the animal alone, in a pickup truck with California tags, for the better part of three hours. Despite the valiant efforts of first responders, the dog was unable to be saved.
While New England is in the height of summer, it’s important to remember that with temperatures even below 80 degrees, the threat for heat stroke still exists. Pets don’t sweat like humans do, making them unable to cool their bodies off efficiently in the heat.
Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important guidelines:
- Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a low humidity and temperature-controlled room.
- If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
- Hydration. This is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
- Exercise wisely. Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest.
- Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. When the outside temperature is just 80 degrees, inside a parked car, the temperature can rise to more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, leaving your pet susceptible to deadly heat stroke.
Too Hot for Spot Legislation
With the passage of S. 2369 in November, 2016, it is now illegal in Massachusetts to confine any animal in a vehicle when extreme heat or cold could be dangerous to the health and well-being of the animal. The law also allows Animal Control Officers, law enforcement officer and firefighters the legal right to enter a vehicle to retrieve an animal in danger. Regular citizens can also act to save an animal in danger, however only after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner, and contacting first responders. Pet owners can be cited up to $500 and face possible forfeiture of the animal.
Spread the Word
This tragic death certainly could have been avoided, and prevention is a part of responsible pet ownership. Never leave your animal in a hot car, and if you see an animal in distress, take action by contacting your local authorities immediately.
New Bedford Cat Organization Utilizing ARL Community-Based Services
This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Spay Waggin’ made its usual monthly stop in New Bedford, setting up shop in front of Habitats for Cats. The nonprofit is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and has been utilizing ARL’s Spay Waggin’ for nearly a decade.
On this day upwards of 36 cats were spayed or neutered, some of which will be returned to feral colonies, while others will be put up for adoption. For the organization who specializes in trap-neuter-return or TNR, the Spay Waggin’, which offers low-cost spay and neuter services, has helped the organization tremendously in shrinking feral cat colonies and finding adoptable cats good homes.
“Without the Spay Waggin’ we couldn’t do what we do,” said Ginny McMahon-Higgins, a member of Habitat for Cats’ board. “Having ARL come to the site is a huge help, otherwise we’d have to transport our cats, and cost-wise it’s something we wouldn’t be able to do.”
“I find it very rewarding to be working with an animal welfare organization located in an area with a large population of community cats in need,” said Dr. Kate Gollon, ARL Shelter Veterinarian. “Community cats — both feral and stray — are the primary contributors of kitten intakes into shelters. Having ongoing, active TNR programs in neighborhoods with large populations of community cats is essential in reducing shelter populations and improve individual cat welfare. ARL’s Spay Waggin’ working with Habitat for Cats has allowed these efforts to continue.”
ARL Spay Waggin' on-site in New Bedford.
Habitat for Cats has been working with the Spay Waggin' for nearly a decade.
Cat carriers lined up outside the Spay Waggin'.
A videographer catching the action as cats are prepped for surgery.
ARL Shelter Veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon operates.
A homeless kitten taken in by Habitat for Cats.
Habitat for Cats volunteer.
Along with utilizing the Spay Waggin’, Habitat for Cats has also been promoting Healthy Moms, Happy Litters, a new community-based program which provides complimentary assistance to local families and their pets to help prevent animal homelessness, suffering, and neglect.
“They (ARL) are out in the community, providing services that more people should be taking advantage of,” McMahon-Higgins said. “The more people who know these services exist, the less animals there are on the streets, and that’s the goal.”
The vision of ARL is that animals are healthy in the communities where they live. Having active programs like the Spay Waggin’ and Healthy Moms, Happy Litters, gets ARL out into the communities we serve, and are certainly generating results.
“New Bedford is a working class area, and because of financial constraints, we have historically seen a drastic number of homeless animals,” McMahon-Higgins said. “Community cats are still an issue, however with the help of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, we have made significant progress in this area.”
Here to Help
If getting your animal spayed or neutered is cost-prohibitive, ARL is here to help. The Spay Waggin’ provides low cost, high-quality spay/neuter services along the South Shore, South Coast, and Cape Cod. Services also include a brief veterinary exam, vaccinations, treatment for fleas, ear mites and intestinal parasites, and a nail trim. Click here to see a complete list of services, costs, scheduled stops, and to make an appointment.
Why a Senior Animal May Make Sense for You
We all love puppies and kittens. They’re cute, cuddly, the subject of countless adorable viral videos. But they’re also energetic, untrained, destructive, and deserve and demand a level of commitment that some people may not be ready or willing to accept. If you’re ready to have a new best friend in your home but lack the time, lifestyle or patience to deal with the growing pains of an infant animal, then adopting a senior dog or cat may be right up your alley.
“A puppy or kitten will definitely give you a run for your money,” said Carolyn Curran, Manager of ARL’s Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center. “Adult and senior animals are just looking to enjoy life and make wonderful companion animals.”
A senior dog requires less walking and exercising, sleeps a lot, and can be left alone for longer periods of time, which may fit the bill for many working professionals. Puppies require constant exercise, supervision, socialization and training.
Joy is spoiled in her kennel, but she’d rather have a home and loving family to spend her golden years.
Speaking of training, when adopting a senior dog, more often than not, the animal will be house-trained and know basic commands. While training is beneficial for an animal at any age, a senior animal will most likely need less of it.
A sunny spot, warm couch, a comfy lap, or a nice blanket. That’s what a senior animal is looking for. Senior animals tend to be more mellow, and simply want to enjoy the space they’re in. In terms of behavior, when you adopt a senior animal, their personalities have developed, so you know what you’re getting when you get the animal home. Senior animals typically are just happy to be around you and tend to fit into their new homes easily.
“In puppies and kittens, their personalities develop over time, but for senior animals, they are who they are,” Curran said.
What to Prepare For
Because of age, you can anticipate more frequent visits to your veterinarian. Like humans, animals tend to develop medical issues as they get older, so that’s something to prepare for. Many people also shy away from senior animals because they’ll have less time with the animal because of their age. Losing a pet is heart-breaking. However no matter what age, it’s important to enjoy each day you have with your animal, and to ensure that they’re healthy and happy.
Ready to Adopt?
When you adopt a senior animal, you can feel good that you’re opening up your heart and home for an animal during their “retirement years.” Adoption fees for older animals are less than that of a puppy or kitten, and when you adopt an animal at any age, you’re not saving one life but two — the animal you’re adopting, and the animal that will take its place. ARL wants you to go home with the right pet for you, so if you’re ready to adopt, visit our Boston, Brewster or Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Centers today and find your perfect match!
Cat in Desperate Need of Medical Attention Discovered at Marconi Beach
Thanks to the life-saving efforts of three Cape Cod National Seashore employees, a former stray cat is now on the mend and in the care of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL).
The rescue occurred on the day Marconi Beach opened for the summer season. An off-duty National Park Service employee was showing his family the work that had been done at the beach following a harsh Cape Cod winter, and noticed a calico cat, who looked like she needed assistance, taking shelter under a bench.
Park Rangers Meghan Farrell and Tyler Paul responded to the call and began searching for the cat. Outside one of the Marconi Beach bathrooms, the rangers heard a pleading meow.
“We entered the bathroom, and found the cat wedged between a toilet and the wall,” Farrell said. “She was in really rough shape, was soaking wet from the rain, was covered in ticks, and looked very thin.”
With the cat secured, the rangers contacted the Wellfleet Animal Control Officer, who contacted ARL. Aptly named “Marconi” was then brought to ARL’s Animal Care & Adoption Center in Brewster. She was indeed in rough shape.
Marconi getting looked over.
Painful ulcerations on Marconi's paw pads.
Marconi on the day of her rescue.
Marconi looking much better!
Marconi getting her confidence back.
Marconi has gained two pounds since being in foster care!
Thanks to the CC National Seashore and ARL, Marconi is getting a second chance.
“Marconi arrived at the shelter hypothermic and dehydrated,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “She clearly didn’t have appropriate access to food or water, but she was treated by the Brewster staff with supportive care immediately after intake and quickly began improving.”
Additionally, dozens of ticks needed to be removed, and Marconi had ulcerations to her pads that were likely related to a viral illness induced by the stress of her situation. Her injuries have been treated, and since being in foster care she has gained two pounds. Once Marconi is given a clean bill of health, she will be available for adoption.
ARL wants to remind you that if you see a stray or any animal in need, to please contact your local animal control officer, and/or ARL’s Rescue Services immediately.
Weight Loss to be Gauged by Inches Lost
When Maybelle the pot-bellied pig first came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) several months ago, she weighed 196 pounds and could barely stand, let alone walk; and her overgrown hooves were causing severe discomfort. While she is still grossly overweight, Maybelle is making progress.
Because she is still relatively immobile, getting Maybelle on a scale is a difficult task. So this week Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center staff recorded her first waist measurement, and will chart Maybelle’s progress in the coming months by the number of inches she loses.
Currently Maybelle’s waist measures 48 inches– that’s 4 feet round!
Maybelle relaxing in her stall.
Maybelle's getting measured.
Maybelle's treat for being a good sport--a stalk of celery.
While it may be difficult to physically see her weight loss, Maybelle has shed some pounds, and is able to stand and move around a little easier–a roll of fat is unfortunately still blocking her eyes so she can’t see. A secondary concern for the pot-bellied pig was her mental state. Maybelle was depressed when she came to ARL, however she seems to be turning a corner, thanks to constant visits and encouragement from ARL staff and volunteers. She has also grown a fan-base, as many people who come to the Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center ask to see her. Overall, there’s a long road ahead, but Maybelle is certainly trending in the right direction.
ARL’s veterinary staff want Maybelle to lose weight safely–meaning it will be a slow and steady process. She is still receiving 6 small meals a day and has drastically reduced her caloric intake. Make sure to check back often to see Maybelle’s progress!
It’s expected that Maybelle’s weight loss and rehabilitation will take up to a year, meaning she will be in the care of ARL much longer than a typical shelter animal. From food and shelter, to on-going veterinary care, costs to take care of Maybelle will run in the thousands. ARL does not receive government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to help animals in need like Maybelle. Please donate today by clicking the icon below to help Maybelle and animals like her.