UPDATE: Arraignments Begin for 27 Individuals in New England’s Largest Animal Cruelty Case
In late March, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced indictments against 27 people facing a collective 151 counts of animal cruelty, stemming from the horrific discovery of 1,400 animals living in squalid conditions on a 70-acre tenant farm in Westport, Mass. in July 2016. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) was at the forefront of this unfathomable incident. This week arraignments got underway at Fall River Superior Court.
On Wednesday, property owner Richard Medeiros, who’s facing 21 counts of animal cruelty, was arraigned, and according to published reports “absolutely denies” each and every count against him.
Medeiros’ attorney stated that her client allegedly offered to help law enforcement when the investigation began last summer, but received no reply, and added that she believes that the 83-year-old will be cleared of all charges.
Every defendant who has appeared thus far has pleaded not guilty.
ARL team on site rescuing animals in Westport, July 2016.
The Westport incident unfolded in July 2016, when local law enforcement, aided by ARL’s Law Enforcement Services, discovered 1,400 animals living in unimaginable conditions.
“This situation is unparalleled to anything I’ve seen in my 37 years as an animal law enforcement officer,” ARL Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal said at the time. “The sheer number of animals in dire need of care, and the cruel and unsanitary conditions we found were deplorable. It took an all-out effort of state and local officials along with multiple humane organizations to get all those animals out of that horrible situation.”
ARL confiscated and cared for 124 animals from Westport, who desperately needed treatment for a variety of health and behavioral issues — nearly all of these animals have been rehabilitated and are living in new homes.
NEU Police assist in rescue
Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) Rescue Services were dispatched Monday afternoon to the campus of Northeastern University in Boston to rescue a female black duck and her 11 ducklings that had become boxed-in near a building window well along World Series Way.
ARL rescue agent Mike Brammer got an assist from Northeastern Police Officers Alexandra Boudreau and John Sweeney, who helped keep the ducklings safe by blocking off a storm drain, and also kept onlookers out of the area.
Brammer was able to capture the mother duck and her young with nets, and once placed in transport crates, officers gave ARL an escort to the Back Bay Fens, where the ducks were released into the water.
Mama duck and ducklings walking along window well.
Ducklings ready to travel!
Mama and ducklings into the Back Bay Fens.
Mama and ducklings into the Back Bay Fens.
ARL's Mike Brammer with NEU Officers Boudreau and Sweeney.
ARL's Mike Brammer with NEU Officers Boudreau and Sweeney.
ARL receives many calls during the spring for baby birds in possible distress, and here are tips to follow should you come across a bird who may be in need of help.
Ready to Respond
ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a technically-trained rescue team that responds to animal-related emergencies and rescue situations. ARL Rescue Services can be contacted at (617) 426-9170.
Three-Legged Cat Ready for Puurfect Home
In his first year of life, “Sal” has endured quite a lot, but with perseverance and the help of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), the rest of this handsome tabby’s years should be smooth sailing.
Sal was in rough shape when he came to ARL’s Boston Animal Care & Adoption Center in late February; he was thin, his fur was grungy, and he was noticeably limping. An initial exam revealed previous trauma consistent with being hit by a car. Multiple fractures on Sal’s right front leg hadn’t healed correctly, and he had also suffered a left hip dislocation. Despite all the injuries and chronic pain, Sal was in good spirits and very friendly. His road to recovery however, would not be an easy one.
“Because of the poor healing of the fractures and his complete disuse of his right front limb, it was decided that the best (surgical) plan would be to amputate Sal’s right leg,” said Dr. Chelsea Reinhard, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Resident.
Additionally, Sal needed surgery to address the hip dislocation. A femoral head and neck ostectomy, or FHO was performed, and is a procedure that includes removing the top part of the thigh bone involved in the ball-in-socket hip joint. This helps relieve the pain, and will allow Sal to form a false hip joint and improve mobility. The two surgeries were performed at a partner organization simultaneously, which meant less time on the operating table, but a more difficult recovery.
Sal just after surgery.
Needing a quiet place and constant monitoring to heal, Sal has been in foster care for nearly two months, and because of his grit and determination, has made tremendous progress.
“He’s made a slow but steady recovery from surgery,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “Having both surgeries at the same time was necessary medically, but made for a bit of a challenging recovery despite extensive pain management. Thankfully he did steadily improve with his function of his three remaining legs over the time he’s been in foster care.”
Ready to go Home
It’s been tough couple of months, but Sal has shown his resiliency and remains a bright-eyed, loving young adult; and after just a few days, he has found his forever home and will join a family that already has a three-legged kitty! A happy ending for Sal, and you can help an animal find his/her own storybook ending by vising an ARL shelter and adopting! For more information, head to our adoption page.
Normally an indoor cat, on Sunday one-year-old August decided to dash outside to check out her Taunton neighborhood, and on Monday her owner’s family located her — stuck and scared near the top of a 50-foot tree.
After three days of being in the tree and showing no signs of being able to climb down herself, neighbors had called around for help but to no avail, and finally contacted the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services. Once on-scene and surrounded by a throng of bystanders, Manager of Rescue Services Brian O’Conner and Senior Rescue Technician Bill Tanguay assessed the situation, keeping in mind that action had to be taken quickly as August continued to climb and move around on the tiny branches.
“The tree she was in was skinny especially near the top, and wouldn’t be able to bear a lot of weight, so we decided that climbing an adjacent tree would be the best course, with the hopes that she would come to us,” Tanguay said.
August has nowhere to go.
Rescue Manager Brian O'Conner.
Senior Rescue Technician Bill Tanguay gearing up for a climb.
August starts to figure out that ARL is her ticket out of this tree!
How am I going to do this?
August mirroring the poster "Hang in there Baby!"
Not quite ready to go into the cat carrier.
Giving August a calming scratch.
Tanguay geared up and climbed the tree next to where August was, and she quickly realized that ARL was her ticket to get out of the situation. Not only becoming increasingly vocal, August also displayed her kitty nimbleness, using a number of slow and methodic moves to descend about 10 feet to get within reach of her rescuer.
“This rescue was more difficult than most,” Tanguay said. “We couldn’t get to where the cat was, but we got lucky and she saw us as her lifeline so the cat did the work and came to us.”
After climbing around Tanguay’s head and shoulders, August was placed in a protective carrier and enjoyed the slow repel to the ground and of course being reunited with her family.
“The Animal Rescue (of Boston) is the best, and he (Tanguay) is the bravest man I’ve ever seen!” exclaimed one bystander.
Who You Gonna Call?
ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts that has a technically-trained rescue team that responds to animal-related emergencies and rescue situations. If you need help for an animal, please call (617) 426-9170, then hit “1” for Animal Rescue Services. The ARL receives no government or public funding to help animals distressed, YOU make our work possible.
UPDATE: Attorney General Announces Indictments for 27 Individuals in New England’s Largest Animal Cruelty Case
In July 2016, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Law Enforcement Department, staff, volunteers, along with other humane organizations and law enforcement departments, helped remove more than 1,400 animals living in unimaginable conditions on a 70-acre property in Westport, MA.
Westport, July 2016.
What followed was the largest animal cruelty investigation in New England history, and today Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced the indictments of 27 people facing a collective 151 counts of animal cruelty.
The indictment returned by a Statewide Grand Jury on Thursday is the result of a collaborative investigation involving ARL, Westport Police, Massachusetts Environmental Police, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
ARL Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal was one of the first on-scene at the Westport Farm.
“This situation is unparalleled to anything I’ve seen in my 37 years as an animal law enforcement officer,” Borgal said. “The sheer number of animals in dire need of care, and the cruel and unsanitary conditions we found were deplorable. It took an all-out effort of state and local officials along with multiple humane organizations to get all those animals out of that horrible situation.”
Property owner Richard Medieros is facing 21 counts of animal cruelty, and all but two of the defendants are facing more than one count of animal cruelty.
“Hundreds of animals on this farm were kept in deplorable and dangerous conditions, with inadequate food, water, or shelter, many of them suffering from severe health ailments that required them to be euthanized,” said AG Healey. “As a result of our investigation, the owner of this farm and its tenants will be held responsible for the inhumane treatment of these animals.”
The defendants are expected to be arraigned in Bristol Superior Court at a future date.
Deer was Found Upside-Down After Getting Trapped Between Two Fences
Animal League of Boston (ARL) Rescue Services were dispatched to Foxboro at around 9:30 a.m. Monday (3/27/17) morning to assist the town’s Animal Control Officer in freeing a deer that had become trapped between two eight-foot fences that funneled into an enclosure at 191 Mechanic Street in Foxboro.
The width between the two fences where the deer was trapped was only between five inches and a foot wide, and in its panic to get free, the deer wound up upside-down and wedged in the tight space. With the land owner’s permission, a section of the fence was removed, and with some assistance, the deer was able to roll over, stand up, and was soon walking normally. Despite being shaken up and suffering several abrasions, the deer appeared to be uninjured from the ordeal, and when ushered to the edge of the property, Foxboro Police stopped traffic so the deer could cross the street and return to the wild.
Despite being turned upside-down when trapped, this deer avoided serious injury and returned to the wild safely.
The ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with a technically-trained rescue team that responds to animal-related emergencies and rescue situations. ARL Rescue Services can be contacted at (617) 426-9170.
The ARL provides tips on when and how to rescue a baby bird on the ground
Spring has sprung. The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. And baby birds are learning to fly.
This time of year, The ARL receives phone calls from concerned citizens who come across baby birds on the ground. Although this sight may seem alarming, remember that part of the process of learning to fly comes with being on the ground. It’s typically best to keep a safe distance and not to intervene unless you’re sure the bird is orphaned or is in immediate danger.
To decide whether or not to step in the next time you spot a baby bird on the ground, follow this helpful flow chart:
If the flow chart points you toward intervention, follow these 11 steps to ensure a safe rescue:
How to rescue a baby bird*†:
- Grab clean container with a lid and line the bottom with a soft cloth. Poke air holes if there are none.
- Wear gloves to protect yourself from the bird’s beak, talons, wings, and any potential parasites.
- Cover the bird with a light sheet or towel.
- Gently pick up the bird and place it in the prepared container.
- Warm the bird if it’s chilled by placing one end of the container on top of a heating pad (low setting) or in a shallow dish of warm water. You can also wrap the container with the warm cloth.
- Tape the container closed.
- Note exactly where you found the bird. This will be very important for release.
- Keep the bird in a warm dark quiet place away from children and animals. Do not give it food or water.
- Wash your hands and any clothing and objects that were in contact with the bird to avoid spreading any potential parasites.
- Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, state wildlife agency, or wildlife veterinarian.
- Get the bird to the wildlife expert as soon as possible. It is against the law in most states to keep wild animals in your home if you do not have a permit, even if you plan to release them.
To find a wildlife expert in your area, contact the New England Wildlife Center.
*Only adults should rescue baby birds. Before rescuing an adult bird, seek guidance from a wildlife expert.
†Source: Healers of the Wild: People Who Care For Injured and Orphaned Wildlife, By Shannon K. Jacobs
Meet Zim: From a Rescue, to Patient, to Adopted!
Zim, an 11-month-old tabby classic, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after being trapped for more than two days nearly 50 feet off the ground in a tree in Brockton, MA. Responding to calls from surrounding neighbors, ARL’s Rescue Services was able to scale the tree and save the scared and vocal stray.
“He was certainly happy to be out of that tree,” said Mike Brammer, ARL’s Assistant Manager of Rescue Services. “Almost immediately you could tell that he’d been around people and was very friendly.”
Zim’s beautiful markings and sweet demeanor garnered instant attention, but so did a congenital defect called Eyelid Agenesis that was discovered during his intake exam. It’s a condition where part of the eyelid doesn’t form properly, causing fur to rub up against the cornea, resulting in chronic irritation. For Zim, both eyes were affected, increasing the concern.
“If the condition is left untreated, this chronic irritation can permanently damage the cornea and cause vision impairment,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “This chronic irritation also causes significant discomfort.”
The only way to truly fix the condition is with a skin graft; however the surgery is complicated and requires extensive post-operative care. While Zim’s condition affected both eyes, it wasn’t extremely severe, making cryosurgery an option. Zim had the procedure done by an ophthalmologist at a partner organization less than a week after being rescued out of the tree in Brockton.
“Cryosurgery does not fix the eyelid, but is used to freeze the hair follicles of the fur that is rubbing on the cornea,” Dr. Doyle said. “As such, the cryosurgery removes the chronic irritation caused by the fur and restores comfort to the eyes.”
Zim recovers from cryosurgery wearing a protective cone.
ROAD TO RECOVERY
With the surgery complete, Zim settled in for a few days to recover. Despite undergoing the procedure and being placed in a protective cone, he continued to showcase his personality, purring almost immediately for all the shelter staff and volunteers who would check on the handsome tabby.
Making an excellent recovery, ARL’s veterinary staff determined exactly one week following his surgery that Zim was ready to find his forever home. Certainly not a surprise to anyone at ARL who came in contact with Zim, just a few days after being made available, he has been adopted!
Zim is ready to go to his forever home!
DOING THE WORK ONE ANIMAL AT A TIME
Zim represents the collaborative effort that is necessary to fulfill ARL’s mission of being an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. No matter how they come into our shelters, all animals are treated with kindness and compassion, but we cannot do the work alone.
ARL receives no government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to support programs that help animals in need. Please lend your support so ARL can continue to give animals like Zim a second chance at life.
ARL programs and administrative offices will be closed on February 9
Due to the winter weather, ARL will be closed to the public on Thursday, February 9:
- Administrative offices
- Adoption centers in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham
- Boston Veterinary Care
- Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery
- Rescue Services
- Spay Waggin’
Dedicated staff and volunteers will remain at each shelter location to make sure that the animals in our care remain safe, warm, and in good spirits as the snow flies.
When a snow storm hits, we often receive an increasing number of calls from concerned citizens with questions about feral cats. We suggest trying to coax a feral cat indoors to a garage or basement for shelter. If that’s not possible, watch our helpful how-to video to build a DIY cat shelter.
For more winter weather pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health.
DO YOU RECOGNIZE THIS DOG? Contact Hingham PD (781) 749-1212
Note: Due to ongoing investigation, the Hingham dog is currently NOT available for adoption.
Earlier this week, a young Maltese-type dog was found abandoned in a crate along Downer Avenue in Hingham, MA. He was left with a blanket, toys, and food; but he was also left shivering in near-freezing temperatures along a busy street.
Do you recognize this dog? If so, please contact Hingham Police Department at (781) 749-1212.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is currently providing veterinary care, shelter, and kind attention for the Hingham dog. An exam by ARL’s lead veterinarian concluded that the dog is approximately 2-years-old, is not neutered, and is in good health. Volunteers and staff have remarked at how sweet-natured the dog is… and how much he loves his little treats!
The Hingham dog was not found with any identification or a microchip.
Animal abandonment is a felony offense under Massachusetts law, however surrendering is a way to give an animal a second chance at finding a forever home. An animal can be brought to organizations like ARL, a local shelter, or even a police or fire department. There are always options, but abandonment should never be one of them.
DO YOU RECOGNIZE THIS DOG?
ARL’s Law Enforcement Department is assisting the Hingham Police Department in this ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Hingham Police Department (781) 749-1212 or ARL’s Law Enforcement Department (617) 226-5610.