If you see signs of blood sports, you say something – how you can help animals
As part of our “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” public awareness campaign this month, we are focusing on the topic of “blood sports.”
A dog who is a victim of the illegal blood sports known as “dog fighting” and “street fighting” suffers just as much on the inside as he does on the outside.
We sat down with Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare, to learn more about the effects of blood sports on the animals involved.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare, hosted a talk in January on dog fighting by the ASPCA’s Terry Mills in conjunction with the New England Federation of Humane Societies
ARL Blog: What are some common physically identifying signs of a fighting dog?
Dr. Smith: Fighting dogs end up bearing many scars, usually clustered around the face, neck, front legs and chest. Dogs can also suffer much more severe injuries such as broken bones and disfigurement of their ears, snouts, etc.
The scars that are visible on the outside of a fighting dog are only the tip of the iceberg in what the dog has suffered.
ARL Blog: What generally happens to the “winner” – or worse yet – the “loser” in a dog fight?
Dr S: Dogs who “win” will fight again and again, earning higher stakes with each victory.
Dogs who “lose” have a much sadder fate. They have been discovered on the side of the road, floating in the harbor, and in the garbage. They can die shortly after the fight from trauma, but more commonly they die from a lack of appropriate veterinary attention to their wounds.
Ultimately, all dogs become the “loser” and thus find themselves abused multiple times: by inhumane housing and emotional neglect, by the fights themselves, by the life threatening infections they develop, and by the cruel deaths they suffer at the hands of their owners.
ARL Blog: What are some other “blood sports” that people should be aware of and what are the physical effects on the animals involved?
Dr S: Cockfighting (two roosters) and finch fighting (perching birds) are common in Massachusetts.
During Cockfighting between two gamecocks, owners will inject a toxic form of pesticide to increase their endurance and often attach knives to the bird’s legs. Every fight ends in serious injury or death, often for both of the birds involved.
Finch fighting between two male and one female bird has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. During finch fighting the owner will attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure maximum injury to the female finch which ultimately results in their demise.
Learn more about signs of dog-related blood sports
We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.Learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.
Recognizing National Dog Fighting Awareness Day
The ASPCA designated April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day to increase understanding and awareness about dog fighting. As part of our continuing “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” campaign, we encourage animal-lovers to take action against all blood sports, an extremely brutal form of cruelty.
What are “blood sports”? Blood sports are defined as an illegal sport or contest involving the bloodshed of animals for the purpose of gambling or entertainment, and include:
- Dog fighting is a brutal sport or contest in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit/ring to fight one another for the purposes of entertainment and gambling. The fight ends when one dog can’t continue due to exhaustion, injury, or death. Each year in the US, an estimated 140,000 people and 250,000 dogs are involved in dog fighting despite the fact that it is prosecuted as a felony crime in all 50 states.
- Street fighting is an impromptu altercation between two dogs instigated by their respective owners or gangs in either a private location or common public gathering area, such as school yards, parks, or abandoned buildings. In some cases, the owner encourages their dog to attack a stray.
- Cockfighting is a sport in which two gamecocks (roosters), specifically bred for aggressiveness, are placed in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death. Owners often will inject doses of stimulant drugs, hormones, or vitamins to increase endurance and attach knives to the gamecocks’ legs.
- Finch fighting is a sport between two male and one female perched birds that has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. Owners typically attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure the female finch’s demise.
Our Law Enforcement team works with animal control officers to identify signs of blood sports. Here are 3 common warning signs:
Whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban neighborhood, animal “blood sports” happens in all types of areas across the country, including Massachusetts. The ARL’s Law Enforcement team, for example, continues to assist the Bridgewater, MA police department in an investigation involving two dogs who had sustained injuries consistent with involvement in blood sports.
Blood sports are a major concern for public safety as it’s often linked with gang activity and other serious crimes such as human assault, homicide, drug possession/distribution, and illegal gambling.
Based on the ARL Law Enforcement team’s experience, building an effective legal case against this type of crime is complicated, due to the multitude of individuals, groups, and gangs that can be involved. Fighting animals – especially dogs – are bred in Massachusetts and transported to other states to fight, making it very difficult to track the activity.
How can communities prevent blood sports from happening?
- Animal control officers and humane investigators focus on breaking up an animal fighting enterprise and immediately remove animals from the situation.
- You can help raise awareness and encourage intervention; both are critical to preventing this type of crime before it occurs!
We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.
Learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Awareness Month
In support of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month this April, the ARL is kicking off its Spring “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” campaign.
Animal cruelty comes in many forms, including physical abuse, neglect of basic care, abandonment, dog fighting, and animal hoarding. Because many studies have demonstrated a strong link between cruelty to animals and other forms of domestic and community violence, prevention plays a critical role in improving the safety and welfare of both animals and people in Massachusetts.
Know your state’s animal cruelty laws
In 2014, the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection assisted in over 300 animal law enforcement cases. Unfortunately, this is a small number when you consider the startling statistic that 4 out of 5 animal cruelty cases go unreported.
We all have a role to play in prevention. Be aware and get to know the animals in your neighborhood. If you suspect animal cruelty, call your local authorities right away. Help raise awareness and educate others about this issue.
Learn the 7 most common warning signs of animal cruelty and take action!
While most of us recognize that punching, kicking, burning, choking, or hitting an animal with an object are acts of animal cruelty, there are also several more subtle warning signs of animal cruelty to watch for that could indicate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse:
- Howling or barking for a sustained period of time or hearing an animal cry in pain with higher pitched, more persistent vocal sounds than usual.
- Singed, matted, chronically or excessively dirty hair or fur.
- Wounds, unusual scars, hair loss, frequent limping often on different legs, or signs of improper nutrition such as weight loss or prominent visible ribs.
- Animals kept caged or tied with little room to move for long periods of time or without regular interaction with people
- Lack of protection from the weather or fece- or debris-strewn living areas for animals.
- Collars, leashes, or halters so tight they visibly dig into the animal’s face or neck.
- A large number of animals coming or going from a property.
If you know of or suspect animal cruelty, report concerns to your local authorities. Learn more about how you can prevent animal cruelty at arlboston.org/take-action
Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you see something, say something.
Big and Lovable Lovable Dog thriving after surgery
Titan, 6-year-old Mastiff, needed a $2,000 surgery to remove and test a large tumor in his abdomen.
During a routine neuter surgery, our shelter veterinarian discovered shelter dog Titan had a large mass in his abdomen. X-rays confirmed the 6-year-old big and loveable Mastiff had a tumor.
According to ARL shelter veterinarian Dr. Erin Doyle, about 50% of this type of tumor are benign and the other 50% are cancerous. Sadly, dogs with the cancerous-type of tumor have a 6-month life expectancy after the tumor is removed without additional medical intervention.
Titan needed a $2,000 surgery to immediately remove the tumor and test for cancer. The ARL moved quickly to get Titan the medical care and testing he needed.
Titan’s goofy grin and happy-go-lucky personality had quickly warmed the hearts of everyone at the shelter. Everyone was hoping for the best when he underwent surgery a week later.
Thankfully, we got what we were hoping for!
A recovering Titan (Mastiff on the right) post-surgery posing for a photo with his new family on his adoption day!
“Titan’s tumor ended up being a very rare type of benign kidney tumor,” happily reported Dr. Doyle. “Now that the tumor has been removed, Titan should be able to go on to live a normal life.”
With the tumor gone, Titan was cured and medically-cleared for adoption. He went home with a new family shortly after surgery and by all reports is doing better than ever!
Would you like to help Titan and other animals like him?
Only with your support can dogs like Titan get emergency medical assistance when they need it most.
The ARL doesn’t receive any government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters like you to provide veterinary care and treatment for shelter animals who have no one else to turn to for help when they’re sick or injured.
MAKE YOUR DONATION GO FARTHER NOW! The Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund will generously match your donation today dollar for dollar!
Please visit arlboston/kintera.org/titan or click the button below to make a donation to help pay for the care and treatment of Titan and other animals like him.
The ARL’s Dot Baisly on working with shelter dogs
Ever wonder what goes on in a shelter dog’s mind? You know, aside from the usual, “When is it time to eat? When can I go outside to play? When is it time to eat….?”
Dot Baisly, the ARL’s new shelter enrichment and behavior manager, may not know exactly what shelter dogs are thinking at all times, but what she does know are the best methods to help them adapt to their new environment and get them ready to find a new home.
The ARL Blog sat down with Dot to learn more about how the ARL approaches shelter dog enrichment and giving potential adopters a profile of a dog’s behavior.
ARL Blog: What are some common behavioral issues that you come across related to shelter dogs and how do you work with them?
DB: The most frequent issue in shelter dogs is over-arousal and “jumpy mouthy” behavior. This issue is common for many reasons, such as lack of stimulation, the animal’s adolescent age, and a lack of proper training.
I like to treat the animal holistically by working to enrich their daily experience while teaching impulse control, and by finding ways to help the dog relax and find a quiet space at least three times a week.
Dot Baisly faces every day at the ARL with a positive attitude–and with her party hat (a.k.a. ARL adoptable rooster Leonidas – come meet him at our Dedham shelter!)
ARL Blog: When the ARL does a “behavioral screening” for animals, what exactly does that mean?
DB: Our behavior evaluation process takes in all the information available to us for each animal. When possible, we start with a profile when an owner relinquishes a pet to us. If the animal comes in as a stray, we do everything that we can to gather as much information about an animal’s behavior.
We process all dogs through a systematic behavior evaluation in which the animal is screened for friendliness to humans, excitement levels, fear, aggression, and how well they know cues.
Finally, we gather and report all behavior observed in the shelter and compile this information to best match each individual dog with a new home.
ARL Blog: What is a typical enrichment plan that you give to a shelter dog?
DB: A typical enrichment plan should address the individual needs of each dog. For heavy chewers, for example, we feed them from a toy daily so that food acquisition is a mentally stimulating part of their day.
Basic obedience training is a part of every enrichment plan and quiet time outside of the kennel should happen regularly.
In many cases, we encourage play to learn impulse control and other aspects of interacting with humans. This can be done with fetch, tug, and other games for the young adolescent dogs in need of physical exercise. When possible, I also include agility, appropriate social interactions with other dogs, and handling/massaging from humans.
MORE ABOUT DOT – Dot first came to the ARL as an under-grad looking for a part-time job. She found she loved the work so much, she joined us full-time for several years before going back to school for her master’s degree. She operated her own dog training business, through which she continued to work with shelters.
Most recently, Dot worked at the SPCA of Westchester, New York, designing and implementing a volunteer-based dog walking and training program and fulfilling all behavior needs of that shelter.
November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. Open Your Heart to Rudy!
Rudy is a 10-year young chihuahua. This senior dog is really just a friendly, silly little boy.
Don’t let his senior age fool you, he has lots of spunk in his tiny body and enjoys playing and running around. He’ll wiggle around on the rug and put a show on for you.
He does pretty well on crate training but could use some reminders when going home.
This sweet dog has been at the ARL since October 24. Rudy doesn’t ask for much, he just wants a human to love and a little fleece blanket to burrow in and he’ll be one happy man. He would like nothing more than to have a caring home for the holidays!
Watch his adorable video below and you’ll fall in love with him!
Read Rudy’s profile.
If Rudy sounds like the pup for you, come meet him at our Boston shelter this weekend. He’s waiting for you!
It’s the last day of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Open your heart to Carrie!
Carrie is a fun 2-year-old dog, who loves to play and will do anything for a treats. She was surrendered to the ARL when her previous owner’s work schedule changed and she was too active for the household. She’s been at our Boston shelter since August 14 and we hope she finds the loving home she deserves, very soon.
Carrie enjoys going for walks and spending time with her human friends. She is very playful and loves to chew on stuffed toys.
Carrie can be picky of her dog friends, but has made a few in her time here at the shelter. Her best bud, Tyson, just went home last week, so she’s hoping it’s her turn now.
One of Carrie’s favorite things is to be at the center of attention, and she would prefer being the only dog in the home.
You’ll notice that Carrie is a bit on the tubby side, and while she looks adorable as she is, she would benefit from a diet. Luckily, she loves to run and play so helping her trim down will be a breeze for someone who has the time to dedicate to her.
A generous adopter has paid part of Carrie’s adoption fee forward to help her find a home during Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, so her fee is discounted by $125.
If Carrie sounds like the dog for you, please visit the ARL’s Boston shelter to meet her! She’d love to be your new best friend!
Read Carrie’s profile.
Carrie being a goofy girl with shelter agent, Laura.
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!
Read Elle’s profile.
October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month! Open Your Heart to Louisa.
Louisa is a gal who knows what she wants – a human to call her very own. She’s a tiny 5-year-old chihuahua who came to the Animal Rescue League from another shelter after having puppies and has been waiting for a home since September 5.
She can be shy with strangers, but once she knows you’re here to stay, she’ll be your shadow. She gets very attached to her person and would be happy to hang out with you all day and snuggle. But, as much as she enjoys staying at home, the moment she sees her leash and you tell her she’s going for a walk, she gets very excited and dances in circles all around you! Watch her video below to see what we mean.
While she is very small, Louisa does have a mighty bark and will sound the alarm when you aren’t by her side, so she’ll need a little help working on her separation anxiety. Because she can be a little nervous, we think she would prefer a quiet home without a lot of visitors and activity, so a home with small kids would not be ideal.
Louisa would make the perfect lap dog for someone who spends a lot of time at home and can give her all the love and attention she needs. She wouldn’t mind being your spoiled little princess!
If Louisa sounds like the perfect dog for you, come meet her at our Boston adoption center and help make this a fantastic Adopt-a-Dog Month for Louisa!
Read Louisa’s online profile.
October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month! Open Your Heart to Rita.
Rita is an approximately 10-year-old rat terrier mix who came to us after being found as a stray. Don’t let her age fool you – Rita is very active and full of spunk! She is curious about everything and gets very excited when she see squirrels. Despite being very energetic, she also has a cuddly side to her too and will enjoy hanging out with you on the sofa after a long walk.
Rita is a bit overweight, so she’ll need a home where she’ll receive regular exercise along with a proper diet to get back down to a healthier weight.
Rita loves to go for walks and play with her toys. She gets along well with some dogs, but can be a bit choosy. If you have any dogs at home, be sure to bring them along with you to meet Rita.
Thanks to a very generous donor, Rita’s adoption fee is only $100 and includes:
- Spay services
- Health screening and behavioral evaluation
- Heartworm test and preventative medication
- Microchip identification and registration
- Collar and leash
If Rita sounds like the perfect dog for you, come meet her at our Boston adoption center and help make this a fantastic Adopt-a-Dog Month for Rita!
Read Rita’s online profile.