The Dangers of Tethering

“Diesel” Suffered Necrotic Foot Due to Tethering

In mid-October, Diesel, a five-year-old black lab mix, was seized by the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after undergoing an emergency leg amputation at a partner care facility in Norfolk County. The dog was tethered in his previous home, and as a result wound up having his right hind leg entangled in the chain. The chain cut off the circulation, his foot became necrotic and painful, and Diesel was discovered chewing on his foot as a result of the injuries.

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Diesel has no problems getting around after his amputation surgery.

Because his foot was beyond repair, amputation was the best surgical option, however, despite being sans one leg, Diesel has not let this slow him down at all.

“Diesel is a wonderful, energetic dog,” said ARL Veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon. “He is healing well from his surgery and gaining weight appropriately. He should have no lasting effects from this incident and gets around well on three legs.”

Diesel’s case serves as a reminder of not just the dangers of tethering, but also the legal ramifications of excessive tethering.

Massachusetts Tethering Statute Updated

In 2016, the state’s anti-tethering statute was updated as part of S.2369, An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death – a piece of legislation that ARL strongly advocated for. Under the law dogs cannot be:

  • Tethered to a stationary object for longer than five hours in a 24-hour period
  • Tethered outside from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m., unless not for more than 15 minutes and when the owner, guardian, or keeper is present
  • Confined outside when a weather advisory, warning, or watch is issued by local, state, or federal authority; or when environmental conditions such as extreme heat, cold, rain, snow, or hail pose as adverse risk to health or safety of the dog, based upon the dog’s breed, age, or physical condition and unless tethered for less than 15 minutes.

Additionally, law enforcement officers from ARL and MSPCA, who come upon situations where this new law is being violated, now have the authority to issue citations to violators when an Animal Control Officer is unavailable or unresponsive. ARL’s Law Enforcement Department also held a series of forums with Animal Control Officers in the spring to discuss the changes to the law.

“This statute is important on a variety of fronts,” said ARL Law Enforcement Lead Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal. “First off, tethering a dog can have tremendously negative impacts. The animal can become lonely, anxious, which may lead to aggressive behavior. Secondly, there is a high risk of injury with tethering including hanging and entanglement, which sadly was the case with Diesel. These laws are in place to protect these animals, and to ensure that they are being taken care of properly.”

Vigilance is Key

While the outcome for Diesel will ultimately be positive as he will wind up in a loving home, the same cannot be said for countless animals that are constantly tethered. ARL is a Champion for Animals, and you can be too by keeping a watchful eye, and if you see anything you may deem as cruel, report it immediately to ARL Law enforcement, or your local authorities.

 

Helping Animals and Communities in Need

Community Cats Initiative Surpasses 500 Rescues

Back in the early spring, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) hired the organization’s first dedicated Community Cat Rescue Agents, and in just a few short months, more than 500 cats have been rescued through the Community Cat Initiative!

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ARL Rescue Agents Suzanne Trasavage (L), and Theresa Vinic with two rescued kittens.

Community cats include friendly strays, feral, abandoned, and owned animals that are allowed outdoors to roam. Living outdoors they face many challenges, including risk of illness and injury. Additionally, without spay/neuter surgery, these cats can produce many litters, continuing the cycle of large colonies of unowned and unwanted cats.

Through ARL’s Community Cat Initiative and Community Surgical Clinic, these animals are trapped, given veterinary exams, and spayed/neutered. Only 18 percent have been returned to their respective colonies, while those deemed friendly and adoptable have been placed into loving homes — including 270 kittens!

In September, ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center found homes for 105 cats, more than any month over the past decade, a sign that the program is indeed working.

“While we knew there was a need for this important work, we have all been surprised at the number of kittens that otherwise would have grown up in the streets, and now they can be adopted into loving homes,” said Cheryl Traversi, ARL’s Associate Director of Community Services.

Changing Lives

ARL has only scratched the surface on the community impact the Community Cat Initiative can have in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. We are excited for the opportunity to keep animals safe and healthy in the habitats in which they live, however this initiative needs your support in order to be a success. To fully support these innovative programs and help more than 1,500 cats lead healthier lives, ARL needs to raise $204,000 annually. For more information, contact Rick Tagliaferri at rtafliaferri@arlboston.org.

 

Update: Maybelle Finds a Forever Home

A Six-Month Heroic Journey Comes to an End

Since early May, the journey of Maybelle, a one-year-old obese pot-bellied pig, has been chronicled by local and national media, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) collective staff and volunteers, and even by everyday visitors to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center. Maybelle’s final chapter has unfolded, and we are happy to report that our famous girl has been adopted!

A West Bridgewater couple saw Maybelle on the news recently, and thought they could give her a loving and happy home.

“We had a pig before for 20 years, so we know what we’re getting into,” said Gail Pepe. “We wanted to help her because we know she was abused. We have a spot for her and (even) built her a house.”

The couple brought Maybelle to her new home this past weekend, and along with constructing an enclosure to suit Maybelle’s needs, they have also consulted with their veterinarian to ensure that she will continue to make progress.

Everyone at ARL is thrilled that Maybelle is getting the second chance she deserves!

Maybelle’s Weight-Loss Journey

Maybelle came to ARL weighing roughly 200 pounds, after allegedly being given a poor diet and kept indoors for her first year of life. She was depressed, immobile, uncomfortable, and unhealthy. While in the care of ARL, six small meals a day led to Maybelle losing approximately 25 pounds, and she slowly regained the ability to move around freely. She also became more outgoing and responsive to human interaction.

To follow Maybelle’s complete journey, click the links below:

ARL in Action

Maybelle’s case involved a number of ARL programs including: Law Enforcement Services, Rescue Services, Shelter Veterinary Medicine, and plenty of support from shelter staff and volunteers. ARL receives no government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to fulfill our mission and vision. YOU make our work possible, and Maybelle is a shining example of what makes ARL a CHAMPION FOR ANIMALS. Please consider lending your support today!

 

UPDATE: Cats Rescued From Hoarding Situation Progressing

Extraordinary Measures Taken by ARL Volunteers and Staff

In late August, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) rescued nearly 50 cats from a hoarding situation in Bristol County. Many of these animals were in rough shape, and more than three dozen tested positive for a fungal infection that is transferable to other animals and humans as well. Extraordinary measures had to be taken to rehabilitate these cats, while keeping our staff, volunteers, and other animals safe from infection.

For the past seven weeks, the cats have been given daily medication, weekly cultures, and donning Tyvek suits and other protective gear, a dedicated group of volunteers bath the cats with pure oxygen twice a week. Additionally, while bathing the cats, our amazing volunteers also play with the kitties, improving their social skills and helping their true personalities come out. Most of the cats have shown to be very outgoing and regularly solicit attention.

Treating these cats has been an expensive endeavor and has presented logistical challenges as well.

“We decided with the number of cats to actually shut down an entire room in our holding area to treat these animals,” said Jessica Wright, ARL Veterinary Technician. “It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly because it impacts the rest of our shelter operations.”

A number of these cats have already found forever homes, and more are expected to be medically cleared and available for adoption soon. It’s truly been a group effort, and these animals have come a long way in the past month and a half. Click here to see a special report by WFXT in Boston on these ongoing efforts.

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Jazzy (L) was recently cleared medically and has found her forever home, while Baby Butch (R) is currently available!

“It’s really satisfying to see how different they look,” said Jane Urban, an ARL volunteer. “At the end of the day, these cats are going to good homes, so it’s extremely rewarding.”

Get Involved

ARL volunteers are special, and with nearly 550 individuals donating their time to help animals in need, they are the oil that keeps the ARL engine running. There are constantly volunteer opportunities available, please check our website often to get involved!

 

ARL Discusses Law Enforcement at Fall Educational Forum

Lt. Alan Borgal Highlights the Importance of Law Enforcement to ARL’s Mission

Over the weekend, more than 40 of ARL’s biggest supporters gathered at the Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center for the President’s Council Fall Educational Forum. Those in attendance included ARL President Mary Nee, members of ARL’s Board of Directors, and President’s Council members — individuals who donate $1,000 or more annually to help animals in need.

Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, began the forum with an overview of the organization’s seven operational programs and how they work as one to fulfill ARL’s mission and vision. The programs are:

  •         Community Veterinary Services
  •         Shelter Veterinary Services
  •         Volunteer Services
  •         Community Programs — Rescue Services, Healthy Animals, Healthy Community Initiative, Community Cat Initiative
  •         Shelter Operations — Boston, Brewster, Dedham, Behavior and Enrichment
  •         Boston Veterinary Care
  •         Law Enforcement
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ARL President Mary Nee (R), with President’s Council member Sadhana Downs.

Dr. Schettino highlighted a recent hoarding case along the South Shore that showed how these programs are intertwined, and how each program played a pivotal role in rescuing, rehabilitating, and saving the lives of nearly 50 cats.

Talking Law Enforcement

With 42 years of service, Investigative Specialist Lt. Alan Borgal is an encyclopedia of knowledge, and shared with forum guests how the department has evolved over the decades, and how cases can sometimes bring about legislative changes that enhance the protection of animals across the Commonwealth.

“It was an honor speaking directly to ARL supporters, being able to convey both professionally and personally how their support leads to the direct care and protection of law enforcement rescued or seized animals in my career as a humane officer spanning over 42 years,” Lt. Borgal said.

Thank You!

ARL would like to extend a special thank you for those who attended the Fall Educational Forum, if you have been thinking about joining ARL’s President’s Council, now is the time to do so! Thanks to the generosity of 13 extraordinary supporters, a $50,000 Challenge Grant has been established to inspire new membership in our President’s Council giving society. Click here to learn more about how you can take advantage of this amazing opportunity to help animals in need!

 

ARL President Testifies at State House in Support of Animal Protection Legislation

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.

The Bills

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.

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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:

  1. Prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age;
  2. Improve the “puppy lemon law” to better protect and provide recourse for families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy or kitten;
  3. Require the promulgation of rules and regulations for certain Massachusetts breeders;
  4. 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!

 

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month: Why Adopt?

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.

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.

Saving Lives

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!

 

Happy Tails Tuesday: Collaborative Rescue Effort Saves Lost Dog in Blue Hills Reservation

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!

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!

 

A Perfect Beginning to Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

ARL Receives Pups from the Tar Heel State

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and what better way to begin this celebration than by receiving a transport of rescue canines that are truly being given a second chance. This week, two dozen puppies and dogs made the 900 mile trek from North Carolina to Massachusetts, as the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) expanded its network of transport partners to the Tar Heel state.

The pups came from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Ashville, and Alexander County Animal Services in Taylorsville and were transported to ARL’s Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers.

The Issue

Because of accessible and affordable spay and neuter services, there is a large demand for puppies and kittens in Massachusetts, and the Northeast in general. Conversely, the Southern region of the country is seeing overwhelming numbers of animals in need.

“In the Southeastern region of the United States, many shelters are overwhelmed, which tragically results in high kill rates,” said Andee Bingham with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. “People in this area don’t understand the importance of spay and neuter. Resources are lacking and financially many people can’t afford to spay and neuter. We (Brother Wolf) pull these animals from these situations and save their lives through transport.”

“By transporting animals from that region to the Northeast, we’re able to extend ARL’s reach to help animals in need, while allowing those organizations to continue their important work,” said Caitlin Tomlinson, ARL’s Associate Director of Shelter Operations.

The pups have settled into their new surroundings, and after undergoing the state-mandated 48-hour quarantine period, medical checks and behavioral evaluations, these precious creatures will be ready to find their forever homes!

Adopt From a Reputable Shelter

Every animal that comes into the care of ARL is provided with kindness, extraordinary veterinary care, and daily behavioral enrichment to not only make them happy and comfortable while they’re in our shelter, but also prepare them for life in their future home. Additionally, when you adopt, you save not one life but two: the animal you adopt and the one that will take its place.

 

How Maybelle the Pot-Bellied Pig Got Her Groove Back

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.

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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.

Long-Term Commitment

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!