CBS News paid a visit to the Animal Rescue League of Boston last week to interview Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare, about the rising trend of “puppy transports” – when animals are relocated from one community to another state or region for adoption.
Often because of socioeconomic or cultural, animal control facilities and shelters in many regions of the country find themselves with far more stray or abandoned puppies and young dogs than they can find homes for locally.
Since the practice of puppy transports began, many veterinarians have expressed concern about the health, welfare, and safety of animals traveling on a transport, as well as the risks that transported dogs may pose to dogs in the receiving communities. Veterinarians want to ensure steps are taken to control the spread and transmission of disease.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore offers her insights on the rising trend of puppy transports.
As the chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Animal Welfare Committee, Dr. Smith helped craft the AVMA’s policy on the relocation of animals for adoption. Ahead of her interview with CBS News, we sat down with her to talk more about what people should know about puppy transports.
ARL Blog: What are the major concerns veterinarians have about puppy transports?
Dr. Smith: The biggest concern veterinarians have is for animal and public health – that animals with mostly unknown medical backgrounds and lacking much preventive care would spread large amounts of infectious disease from the place they were leaving to the place they were headed. The health, welfare, and safety of animals during the transport–how they are treated and cared for during travel–is also something veterinarians care about very much.
They also care about their clients, who may end up heartbroken if the unwittingly adopt a sick puppy.
ARL Blog: If someone is considering adopting from a puppy transport, what do they need to know?
Dr. Smith: Learning more about the shelter or rescue group you’re adopting from to find out how the health and safety of animals and people are addressed before and during transport is very important!
One of the major goals of the AVMA policy was to provide organizations with guidance on doing transports safely and humanely. The public can also use the AVMA policy as a point of reference for the standards of care they should expect from any group transporting animals for local adoption.
Download the AVMA’s Best Practices for the Relocation of Animals for Adoption
Find out if and how the organization that is bringing the puppies in for adoption is helping the community where they came from. Are they giving back to the sending community to improve access to spay/neuter and other veterinary services? Organizations involved in puppy transports run the gamut from responsible, welfare-oriented groups, to uncaring individuals motivated by financial profit.
The ARL works with rescue partners to bring puppies from the South to our Brewster shelter several times a year. Our Boston shelter also receives occasional transports of chihuahuas from California.
ARL Blog: Has the increased interest in puppy transports had an impact on local animals who need homes ?
Dr. Smith: The AVMA policy encourages communities to assess their local animal population first to figure out if there’s a real shortage of adoptable animals. Because of higher spay/neuter rates of dogs in New England, for example, there aren’t as many stray or abandoned puppies as there are in other parts of the country.
There are dogs in many communities in Massachusetts that need help getting to a shelter where they stand a better chance of getting adopted. To address this issue, the ARL collaborates with the Massachusetts Animal Coalition’s AniMatch program.
The idea is for organizations to pursue their passion for helping animals find homes in a healthy, safe, and responsible way for all animals, people, and communities.
Special things in store for everyone who adopts today
All ARL shelters are open for business on Black Friday with a special “deal” of our own! Everyone who adopts from one of our shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham on November 28 will receive:
The unwavering love and loyalty of a shelter pet (no limit on supply!)
An ARL pet emergency backpack (cat or dog version, while supplies last)
Free first wellness visit at Boston Veterinary Care vet clinic
Free pet toothbrush and toothpaste (while supplies last)
Only in Boston and Dedham – Coupon for 20% off your entire purchase with PALS reward from Petco Unleashed
Only in Boston – Coupon for 20% off your entire purchase at D’Tails (73 Berkeley Street, Boston)
Only in Brewster – Coupon for $10 off your pet supply purchase of $40 or more at Agway
Maverick loves to play and sing. Come meet him on Black Friday at the ARL’s Boston shelter.
Carrie loves being the center of attention. Come meet her on Black Friday at the ARL’s Boston shelter.
Generous supporters of the ARL have also pre-paid the adoption fees on select shelter animals, including the bear-huggable Carrie and the ever-spunky Maverick.
Our Black Friday specials are part of our “Home for the Holidays” community outreach campaign to encourage adoption and support for animals in need in our community. Visit arlboston.org/homeforholidays for more information.
Shelter locations and hours on Black Friday are as follows:
10 Chandler Street, Boston
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
3981 Main St. (Route 6A), East Brewster
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month! Open Your Heart to Elle.
Elle is a beautiful 3-year-old athletic dog who loves to play! She has lots of energy and will need a person who will keep her busy and spend time with her outside.
Elle has been at our Dedham shelter since August 4. She came to the ARL from another shelter and it seems like she never had much contact with other dogs. While Elle loves to play with her fellow canines, she may be too much for some dogs to handle. Elle plays very rough and does best with dogs who play like her and who correct her if she is being too rough. Because Elle is a big, powerful dog, she would do best in a home without children.
Elle is a sweet, quirky girl. One of our Dedham staff members has been bringing Elle home for the past few weeks to give her a taste of family life and she has shown that she is a very good house dog. She is learning her basic commands and is getting a jump start on house training. She loves playing with squeaky toys and will bop around your house chasing one. Watch her adorable video below!
Elle enjoys going for walks and does well on leash when walked using a Gentle Leader. She would make a great companion for someone who has lots of energy to dedicate to Elle. She is a very sweet dog
Visit our Dedham Shelter Tuesday-Sunday 1:00-6:30pm to meet this amazing young lady!
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.
So many reasons to adopt from the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Bringing an animal into your home and making them a part of your family is a very special event indeed. In fact, some of the happiest work we do at the Animal Rescue League of Boston is helping you find a super pet!
The ARL finds homes for about 3,000 animals every year, including cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, ferrets, cows, sheep, horses, snakes, and lizards. We take in animals from a variety of circumstances, but a large portion are responsibly surrendered to us because of “people-related” reasons—their owners were moving, had no time because of a job or life change, or suddenly became sick or financially unable to care for their pets.
Animals like Pringle (pictured upper right), Cupid (pictured middle right), and Peach and Rosalina (pictured bottom center), all have big hearts with lots of love, loyalty, and good company to give to human companions—day and night!
When you adopt from a shelter, you’ll feel good about giving an animal a chance at a better life. And not just one animal – when you take your new pet home with you, the ARL can take in another at one of our shelters.
In addition to those fantastic feelings of helping a fellow living thing in need, you can also rest assured that, before they go to a new home, every adoptable animal at the ARL receives:
Health screening and veterinary examination
Behavior screening and evaluations
Flea, tick and mite treatment
Feline Leukemia test for cats/Heartworm test and preventive medication for dogs
Microchip identification and registration
With the help of the dedicated staff at our animal shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, you can learn more about whether a particular animal you meet at our shelter is a good pet-match for you before you bring them home.
Sugar – A Young Horse at our Dedham Shelter Finally Found a Home this Weekend!
After 399 days at the Animal Rescue League’s shelter in Dedham, Sugar, a playful three-year-old filly, went home with a wonderful new family over the weekend. She’ll be living on beautiful Cape Cod with a family that’s excited to take on the feat of starting her under a saddle and treating her like a family pet.
Sugar first came to us with her mother back in July of 2013 after we rescued her from a small tenant farm in Southeastern, MA. She was severely neglected – left on a muddy paddock with no food or water – and had never been trained to interact with humans.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston and Boston Veterinary Care Offer Pet-riotic Advice For July 4
Boston, MA – As temperatures start to sizzle, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to help dog owners keep their canine companions healthy and safe in the summer heat and bustle of activity this July 4.
“We live for the summers in New England. We want to be outside and do more things, and we want our dogs to be part of the fun,” explains Mary Nee, president of the ARL. “We need to keep in mind what’s fun for us, might actually cause discomfort and injury to our much-loved pet.”
She points to firework displays as a good example of where people and dogs may not agree.
The loud popping and banging noises and fiery flashes of light easily startle and alarm dogs. Animal control officers receive a large volume of calls about pets who broke loose from their families or escaped from yards after getting frightened by the noise of parades and fireworks.
Another popular Fourth of July activity, backyard barbeques can also pose problems for dogs. The smell of food, a large group of adults, playing kids, and other excited pets can easily overstimulate a dog, increasing the potential for poor behavior and bites.
“Leaving your dog at home as you head out for holiday activities and events is the best thing for you and your pet,” adds Nee. “Prevention is responsible pet ownership.”
Allowing your dog to wait for you at home and not in your hot car is another pet-friendly summer habit.
“On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can top one hundred degrees in less than 10 minutes – even with all the windows cracked,” explains BVC veterinarian Dr. Rashel Shophet-Ratner. “That’s why leaving a pet inside a parked car is the most common cause of potentially deadly heat stroke.”
As part of their “Too Hot for Spot” campaign, the ARL and BVC will continue to offer pet safety tips throughout the summer. Visit arlboston.org for more campaign information and updates in July and August.
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 Boston Veterinary Care
BVC is a clinic with a purpose: providing high quality veterinary care to Boston pet owners while supporting the services of the ARL. The friendly and caring staff at BVC provide a full range of outpatient veterinary services to pet owners at the clinic’s location in Boston’s historic South End. All profits support the care and rehabilitation of homeless animals at ARL shelters. Visit arlboston.org/bvc for clinic hours and appointment information.
“Cases like hers are the reason that many of us got into the business of rescuing animals: there is nothing more rewarding than seeing an animal that was previously neglected transform with some TLC.” – Dr. Kate Gollon, shelter veterinarian at the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Almost two months ago, a very kind person brought Madeline to our Dedham shelter after discovering the 8-year-old cat unable to move in the backyard of her home where someone had left her. Shelter staff instantly observed the fur on Madeline’s hind quarters appeared thickly matted and that she couldn’t move her back legs.
Her sweet temperament and soft, steady purr touched the hearts of shelter veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon and all the Dedham staff as they worked to make her comfortable with pain medications and by shaving off the mass of tangles on her lower body.
Dr. Gollon determined Madeline had nearly 4 inches of mats over 70% of her body. The bag of her shaved matted fur tipped the scales at over a pound. The twisted condition of her coat had clearly forced her to go to the bathroom on herself and likely prevented her from walking for some time. Even after shelter staff shaved her fur, she couldn’t walk on her very weak back legs.
When diagnostic tests including x-rays and bloodwork did not provide a more definitive reason for the weakness in her back legs, Dr. Gollon prescribed a regimen of daily physical therapy to help Madeline recover her strength and mobility. Staff gave Madeline time post-shave to recuperate and get to know them before carefully and caringly beginning to work with her to get her walking.
At first, staff gently moved her back legs for her, three times a day. Gradually, they helped her stand by placing her in a sling to support her weight while getting her up on all fours. Once her ability to support herself improved, staff worked with her on walking across the floor and maneuvering changes in elevation. To give her some added traction on the polished cement floors at the shelter, staff would place a touch of Vaseline on her paw pads.
Everyone at the Dedham shelter felt as proud as mamma cats watching Madeline’s amazing progress as she confidently strolled to them and maneuvered up carpeted steps for the first time!
A dedicated ARL foster volunteer brought Madeline to her home to help her re-acclimate to living with people. Though the determined kitty remains a bit unsteady on her hind legs, she shows no signs they are holding her back. According to her foster mom, Madeline loves to explore and happily curls up on the couch for a good snooze afterwards.
We’re very happy to report Madeline is ready for adoption! Scotties Facial Tissue will cover her adoption fee this weekend, so come visit the ARL’s Dedham shelter and read her adoption profile to learn more about her.
Because of her unsteady legs, she would do best in a home with carpet. A one-story house or apartment, or a home where she would spend most of her time in one big room or have access to her litter box and food without having to climb stairs would make for the ideal situation for Madeline.
In the words of Dr. Gollon: “Madeline is a special cat and quite a survivor! The family who adopts her will most definitely fall in love with her as much as we have at ARL.”
Scotties Facial Tissue covers adoption fees on ALL cats 1 year-old and up!
During the last full week of National Adopt-a-Cat Month, our partner Scotties Facial Tissue will cover the adoption fees on cats 1 year-old and up!
How could you say no to that face! Scotties Facial Tissue will cover the adoption fees on 5+ old cats like Care Bear, June 22-29.
Starting today through June 29, the ARL hopes to find homes for a variety of fuzzy and fluffy, playful and peaceful cats and kittens.
Cats like Care Bear (pictured right) who love a good cheek scratch and to chase the laser pointer a bit before curling up on the couch for a snooze would make the purr-fect feline companion!
“Our goal for this partnership is to help a great organization do what they do best – finding good homes for these loving animals,” said John Robertson, director of marketing for Scotties Facial Tissues. “We hope that our donation will act as an incentive for caring people to come forward and open up their homes.”
When you adopt a cat from an animal shelter like the ARL, you give a cat a chance at a better life. All adoptable cats and kittens at the ARL also receive: