ARL at State House Today!

Special thanks to lawmakers for passage of Senate Bill 1172

Today, the ARL will join together with other animal welfare organizations, state legislators, and disaster protection agencies on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to celebrate the signing of Senate Bill 1172, “An act ensuring the safety of people with pets in disasters.”

Signed into law in March, the bill requires cities and towns to have a plan in place to address the evacuation and sheltering needs of household pets and service animals before, during, and after an emergency or natural disaster.

ARL Pet Disaster Dog Backpack 2

The ARL recommends having a sturdy backpack packed with pet feeding and care supplies ready to go in case of an emergency evacuation.

Mary Nee, president of the ARL, will speak at the event, and staff will distribute ARL pet emergency backpacks to legislators.

While having disaster plans in place for people and animals at the municipal level represents a major step forward in Statewide disaster preparedness, individual pet owners should to develop a plan to shelter and care for their animals in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Along with a crate or carrier to transport a pet, the ARL suggests getting a pet emergency backpack ready to go in case of an emergency evacuation.  For a list of supplies to include in a pet emergency bag, visit

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also recommends:

  • Getting a sturdy and comfy crate or carrier to transport your pet
  • Finding a shelter alternative that works for both you and your pet
  • Having a picture of you and your pet together in case you get separated during an emergency

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram for pictures from today’s event!

SPECIAL THANKS to Senator Karen Spilka (D – 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk Districts) for sponsoring Senate Bill 1172 and to all the legislators in the Massachusetts House and Senate for supporting its passage.


Closing Thoughts on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month From Mary Nee

Today, the last day of April, concludes Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.

Mary & Mickey square

ARL president, Mary Nee

Bringing greater attention to the issue is, of course, central to what the ARL does all year long, yet if you asked me why should we bring greater attention to the issue of animal cruelty, I’d say the reasons go well beyond the mission of our organization.

Reason #1: Animal cruelty is a big problem.

In 2013, the ARL assisted in the investigation of 567 cases of animal cruelty—that’s more than one case a day and we’re just one of many organizations and law enforcement agencies in the state legally pursuing animal welfare issues.

When you consider that at least 80% of animal cruelty remains undiscovered, the magnitude of the problem truly sinks in.

Reason #2: Animal cruelty can indicate other illegal activity, domestic abuse, and mental illness.

Animal cruelty can take many forms.  The intentions behind deliberately inflicting injuries or failing to provide minimum care and nutrition can vary.

Sometimes an animal is physically abused or denied basic care for sport or other financial gain, as in the case of staged dog fighting.  Other times, an animal is intentionally harmed to physically or emotionally intimidate a partner or family member.  In still others, a hoarding compulsion quickly overwhelms an owner’s ability to provide basic care and nutrition to the animals living in the home or on the property.

In each situation, however, the safety and well-being of animals, people, and our communities are all potentially at risk.

Startling statistics remind us of the strong connection between animal cruelty and other forms of violence and criminal behavior.  In a Massachusetts study, for example, 70% of animal abusers had criminal records including crimes involving violence, property, drugs, or disorderly behavior (Arluke & Luke, 1997).

Reason #3: What we do to address animal cruelty reflects our tolerance for other forms of family and community violence.

Heightened awareness of how animals are cared for and treated not only helps reduce the number of tragic cases of animal suffering, but also moves us closer to a more just and humane society where both people and animals are valued.

Whether it’s violence against an animal, child, or an adult, we should all do something to stop it from happening.

Reporting suspicions of animal cruelty to local authorities plays a critical role in prevention.  As we have talked about all this month, if when you see something, please say something and call your local police. 

You will make a tremendous difference in the lives of people and animals.

- Mary Nee, President of the Animal Rescue League of Boston

Test your knowledge of animal cruelty issues by taking the ARL’s Animal Cruelty Quiz and learn more about what you can do to prevent animal cruelty at


Today! Pet-Friendly Spring Event at BVC

Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny!

FIVER will be at BVC's event this afternoon.

FIVER  is one of the bunnies who’ll be at the event. His adoption fee has been waived thanks to a generous sponsor.

Please join Boston Veterinary Care for a special Easter event celebrating their dedicated clients and welcoming new faces.

Bring the whole family (pets too) today, Saturday, April 12 from noon-3pm for photos with the Easter Bunny, refreshments, and Easter egg hunt and YES live, adoptable bunnies from the ARL!

Learn more at

Special thank you to the Berkeley Perk Cafe for donating refreshments for the event!


See What’s New at the ARL in Our Magazine

Fall Issue of Our Four-Footed Friends Available Online Now

The latest issue of our magazine, Our Four-Footed Friends is now available online.

Stories include:

  • OFFF Fall Cover PhotoMessage from the President
  • Going Above and Beyond: Michelle Gelnaw, Board of Overseers
  • 10 Minutes with Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore
  • Hope for Food Aggressive Dogs
  • A Season for Rescue
  • Puppy Doe: Stunning Cruelty that Shocked us All
  • Any many more

Read the electronic version of Our Four-Footed Friends and find out how your donations are helping animals in need.


The ARL and Cruelty Prevention

How We Give A Voice to the Victims of Animal Cruelty

Ollie, one of the original Middleboro Puppies who has already been adopted! (Photo: Amelia Hughes)

Ollie, one of the original Middleboro Puppies who has already been adopted! (Photo: Amelia Hughes)

The public and media attention to the recent cases of Puppy Doe, Kitty, and the Middleboro puppies has shined a light on the issue of animal cruelty, and many are calling for tougher laws.

We wholeheartedly endorse legislation that helps to protect animals in Massachusetts to the level that they deserve. Heightened awareness of penalties not only helps reduce the number of tragic cases of animal suffering, but also moves us closer to a more just and humane society where both people and animals are valued.

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys released a strong statement of principles regarding the prosecution of animal cruelty crimes which we applaud.

Now some of our readers might be thinking, that’s all well and good, but what exactly does the ARL do about it?

First, we can tell you that we meet with elected officials and legislators at the local and state level to help them understand and craft animal welfare policies and laws.   Members of our staff attend and testify at public hearings as different legislative committees and state agencies review practices, policies, and laws.

We also actively collaborate with the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in pursuit of legislation that advances animal welfare and protection.

To further influence positive change for animals in our state, we also work with organizations and agencies such as Massachusetts Animal Coalition, the Department of Agriculture, and the Animal Control Officers of Massachusetts on a variety of animal welfare issues.

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore

By way of specifics on our legislative and policy work…..

  • The ARL’s Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore serves as the chair elect of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.  This committee makes policy recommendations for issues related to animals on a national level and influences national animal welfare law and practices by working closely with federal agencies such as the USDA, APHIS, and others.
  • We have prepared a friend of the court brief in conjunction with Animal Legal Defense Fund for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court Massachusetts, in support of granting police the ability to enter a property without a search warrant if they believe any animals are in immediate danger. A hearing will be held at the SJC on December 3rd.
  • The ARL also participated in the development and passage of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Act (HAPCA), the tax check off that will help to provide training to Animal Control Officers in Massachusetts to advance the level of humane care of animals.  The HAPCA also supports the spaying and neutering of homeless animals and animals owned people of limited economic means in the state.

Learn more by visiting



Puppy Doe Update: Next Court Date Continued to 12/20

The Norfolk County District Attorney’s office announced that Quincy District Court has issued a continuance in the case of Puppy Doe, the young adult female dog found severely injured and starved near a park in  Quincy.   The Court continued proceeding to December 20.

Earlier this month, the suspect in the case was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty.  He remains incarcerated as the investigation in the case continues.

Were it not for people expressing their concerns to authorities about the injuries Puppy Doe sustained, the world might never have known about one of the worst cases of animal abuse anyone at the ARL has ever seen.

Learn more about how you can give a voice to victims of animal cruelty by visiting

11-6 See something say something

The Latest Version of Our Magazine is Now Online!

Check-out the latest issue of Our Four-Footed Friends, the League’s magazine, for stories about what we’ve been up to for the last few months!

In this issue you’ll learn about:

  • How our new President, Mary Nee and League Founder, Anna Harris Smith are similar
  • The League’s public policy agenda and six animal welfare bills that we support
  • How regular people helped save the lives of animals
  • Eye-opening findings on breed identification research
  • Our amazing volunteers
  • Upcoming events
  • And much, much more!
  • CoverPhotoToUseForSharing

    Governor Appoints Dr. Smith-Blackmore

    Pg 8 Dr. SmithGovernor Patrick recently appointed the League’s Vice President of Animal Welfare, Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, as a member of the advisory committee for the Mass Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund. The committee will advise the State on distribution of funds collected through voluntary income tax donations for services for homeless animals including, spay/neutering, vaccinations and Animal Control Officer training. This committee is a result of the new animal control acts of 2012.

    Congratulations, Dr. Smith!

    This fund is important for animals in Massachusetts because, contributions to the fund will:

    • Help reduce the number of homeless animals.
    • Assist families who would not otherwise be able to obtain the spay/neuter surgery or vaccinations.
    • Provide training to municipal animal control officers so that they can safely and effectively protect animals and people in their communities.

    Double Your Fun With Sancho And Jack

    photo (20)This dynamic duo is sure to bring some fun into your life. Sancho and Jack are a pair of DECLAWED male cats who are best buds. Jack is often a lap cat and Sancho (the grey and white one) is most comfortable sitting close to you. In his previous home, Sancho responded very positively to “kiss” sounds! Jack is described as being friendly with visitors right away. He enjoys a scratch behind the ear and being petted. Sancho can play a bit rough and was known to be scared of children in his previous home, so we think this pair would do best in a home with adults only or older children.

    Here’s a little more about Sancho and Jack:

    • They are 7-year old neutered males.
    • Allergies are the reason they were surrendered to the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
    • They are very bonded to each other. 
    • Their favorite things are hanging out together, snacking on treats, and attention from people!

    Sancho&JackManCaveIf you’d like to meet Sancho and Jack, you’ll find them hanging out in their very own “man cave” at our Boston Adoption Center. Want to learn more about them before stopping by, give our Animal Care & Adoption Agents a call at 617.426.9170!

    Gwen Stefani Finds The Perfect Match


    Our staff says goodbye to Gwen Stefani. Photo Credit: Allison Evans

    Where would we be in life if it weren’t for second chances? When Gwen Stefani walked through our doors in March of 2012 we knew there was something special about this pretty girl. She had been found in Saugus as a stray, tied to a post. Though we didn’t know her full history, we could see that she was a very sweet and very sensitive dog. She had been with us for several months and had spent some time in a foster home until she was adopted in July of 2012. We we very happy that she had found a great home, but in the end it wasn’t a match. Gwen is a good dog, they were good people, but because they had an active household, and Gwen has a really sensitive personality she was not able to thrive there. And so in January of this year she came back.

    Prior to her 2012 adoption she had spent several months in foster care with the CSD’s Dr. D’Arpino. Living with other dogs and a young child allowed her to alleviate the stress of her long term stay at the shelter. When she returned to our shelter in January we immediately started a kennel destress program with her since we were familiar with her anxiety issues and she spent most days upstairs in Dr. D’Arpino’s office where she felt comfortable.

    gwen2Our volunteers and staff all loved taking photos of Gwennie and Gwen soon became a regular on our Facebook Page and Instagram. Last week we received a call from someone who was interested in adopting Gwen Stefani. When Silvana originally saw Gwen on our website, she instantly fell in love with her. Since she’s also a fan of Gwen Stefani, Silvana thought it was a sign that it was really meant to be! Silvana and her boyfriend first came in last week and met with Gwen while she was upstairs in office foster. Even though Gwen can be a little fearful of men, she went right up to both Silvana and David (her boyfriend) to say hi and tried to get them to play with her. Aimee, one of our Adoption Agents took them outside to the yard for a bit more space and Gwen was running side by side with David off leash. They came in again with David’s son and he got along great with Gwen. We knew that Gwen had found her forever home! She went home yesterday with her new family!

    It’s been a just over a year since Gwen first stepped through our doors and we’ve all grown to love her so much. We are thrilled that she has finally found the perfect match! Rock on Gwen Stefani!

    If you would like to help us continue helping animals like Gwen find the perfect match, you can donate today.

    Gwen tries to go for a walk with her teddy bear. Photo Credit: Hannah Kahler

    Gwen tries to go for a walk with her teddy bear. Photo Credit: Hannah Kahler