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!
Kitten Found Along I-93, Suffering From Severe Heat Exhaustion
This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reunited Massachusetts State Trooper John DeNapoli with a kitten he helped save several weeks earlier, and also presented the trooper with a certificate of recognition for his life-saving actions.
Everything unfolded on the afternoon of June 13. ARL’s Rescue Department received a call from a concerned motorist about a kitten along the median of I-93 northbound, just before the exit for Route 138 in Canton. ARL Rescue Agent Theresa Vinic proceeded immediately towards the area.
“We’re close to that area, so I drove out from the opposite direction to get a visual on the kitten, but was directed not to stop along the roadway for safety reasons,” Vinic said.
Once spotting the kitten, ARL dispatch coordinated with the Massachusetts State Police, and Trooper DeNapoli responded with the hopes of finding the kitten.
“I pulled in nice and slow to not scare him. He was scratching and biting a bit, he was definitely freaking out,” DeNapoli told the Boston Herald. “So he wanted out as soon as I grabbed him, then animal rescue was already on their way.”
With DeNapoli’s cruiser stopped on the median, Vinic was able to safely pull up in front of the vehicle to gather up the kitten. DeNapoli had placed the kitten in an empty flare box, and in a situation where every second counted, these actions truly were life-saving.
“We didn’t have to spend time locating and trapping the kitten, he was ready to go,” Vinic said.
Kitten in Trouble
When Vinic returned to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center, the kitten, named “Trooper” by Vinic, was in serious trouble as temperatures that day soared into the 90s and the heat coming off the roadway only made matters worse. He was frothing at the mouth and panting excessively — a clear sign of heat exhaustion. With a body temperature of 106 degrees and climbing (normal temperatures range from 101-103 degrees), he quickly needed to cool down. ARL staff placed the little guy on an ice pack, poured alcohol on his feet pads, and gave him subcutaneous fluids.
Twenty minutes later Trooper’s temperature dropped, and staff was able to begin working on the rest of the kitten’s issues. Trooper was covered in dirt, had ants crawling on his fur, and also had abrasions on his nose, mouth, and around his left eye. Additionally he weighed just 1-pound-9-ounces.
Showing his toughness, Trooper rebounded quickly and was adopted by a woman who actually witnessed Trooper DeNapoli rescue the kitten on that busy highway.
Trooper, now named "Basil" on the day he was rescued.
Massachusetts State Trooper John DeNapoli reunited with Basil a.k.a. Trooper.
ARL award Trooper DeNapoli with certificate of recognition for his life-saving actions.
ARL Rescue Agent Theresa Vinic posing with Basil a.k.a. Trooper.
During a special ceremony at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center, Trooper DeNapoli was reunited with the kitten, and was amazed at how Trooper, now named “Basil,” has rebounded.
“It feels good to see the comparison to recovery from when he came in,” DeNapoli said.
Getting a Second Chance
Basil is happy and thriving in his new home, and it took an amazing collaborative effort from not only ARL and State Police, but also from the compassionate people who contacted dispatch to report the kitten’s location. While a positive outcome, this incident also has a troubling element, because it’s likely that Basil was abandoned.
“We’re not certain how it ended up in the middle of the freeway,” Vinic told the Boston Herald. “No dwellings appear to be around and when he arrived he appeared to be social, he was rolling around and purring, which leaves us to believe that he did have human contact prior.”
ARL wants to remind you that if you are no longer able to care for an animal, they can be surrendered to organizations like ARL, or a local shelter, or even a local police or fire department. There are resources available, and abandoning an animal is ILLEGAL and NEVER an option.
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.
10 Puppies to find Forever Homes
This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston partnered with Puerto Rico-based All Sato Rescue, transporting 10 puppies from the U.S. territory island to Boston.
It was quite a journey for the puppies, as weather and mechanical issues delayed their arrival into Logan International Airport, but despite the delays, once on the ground the puppies put on a cuteness display for local media, showing their personalities and putting smiles on the faces of anyone in the vicinity.
A cute “sato” is ready to find his forever home!
The pups are now in a mandatory 48-hour quarantine period, and will be checked by ARL shelter veterinary staff to ensure the puppies are ready to go home. Click here to see video of the puppies getting their first glimpse of Boston!
Why Puerto Rico?
“Sato” is a slang term in Puerto Rico for a mixed-breed dog — or mutt. All Sato Rescue is dedicated to finding these forgotten dogs homes and estimates there may be more than 100,000 stray and abandoned dogs on the island, and shelters are simply overwhelmed. Lack of spay and neuter programs and economic hardship are some of the reasons that account for the staggering number of homeless animals on the island.
Here in the Northeast, spay and neuter programs and public awareness campaigns are extremely effective and there is a strong demand for puppies, which allows ARL to broaden its reach to help animals in need. By partnering with organizations like All Sato Rescue, ARL is able to find these puppies loving homes, while at the same time help free up space for other homeless animals on the island.
ARL is committed to helping 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, an adult dog, cat or small animal, ARL’s staff and volunteers at its Boston, Dedham, and Brewster Animal Care & Adoption Centers are there to answer your questions to ensure that the life you save is the right animal for you and your family.
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.