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.
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
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.
Spring into action today and support the ARL’s Rescue Services!
From high in trees to icy ocean waters, from burned out building to spillways with surging currents, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services team has trained to save domestic animals and wildlife from all these situations and more.
The ARL is the only animal welfare organization in Massachusetts that has an entire department dedicated to rescuing animals from a variety of emergency situations. Domestic animals and wildlife can get trapped, displaced, injured, or otherwise distressed anywhere at any time of day, and our Rescue Services team stands ready to help as quickly as possible.
Our rescue services team swam out to save this poor duck trapped on the ice, tangled in finishing line.
Whether it’s a duck trapped in fishing line, a mother cat and kittens stuck under a shed, or a deer trapped in mudflats, having trained and experienced rescue team to call is critical to protecting the safety and welfare of animals in our community. But providing emergency rescue services for thousands of animals every year is very expensive.
The ARL does not receive any government or public funding for rescue services and relies entirely on supporters like you to continue this important work!
An anonymous donor has challenged us to double a $5,000 donation and raise $10,000 in just 7 days for animal rescue. In other words, your donation today to the ARL’s Spring Into Action Rescue Fund Drive will go even further aiding animals in distress!
All donations made from April 7-14, 2015 will go directly to support our Rescue Services program.
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.
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.
Thanks to fast efforts from his caregiver, park rangers, and the ARL’s rescue services team, a family dog is warming up after he realized a little too late that it wasn’t a good day for a swim.
Energized by the warmer temperatures and sun as he was playing at West Roxbury’s Millennium Park on Tuesday afternoon, the happy-go-lucky dog decided to take a dip in the inviting stream running on the outskirts of the park.
ARL senior rescue technician Danielle Genter gave the chilly dog a towel rub down after his rescue from a stream.
After one pass across the stream, he decided that the water was just a little too cold for his liking. Unfortunately, an icy shelf stood between him and dry land, and he seemed none to eager to swim back across. Searchers found him hanging on the icy shelf waiting for help.
Working alongside the dog’s caregiver, Boston Park Rangers, and the Boston Police, senior rescue technician Danielle Genter extended a catch-pole across the narrow stream to grab hold of the dog.
The grateful pup got the picture and allowed Danielle to move him off the ice, back across the water, and on to solid ground. He hopped right in to the awaiting warm vehicle to get a towel rub down.
The dog appears to be doing well and our rescue team recommended he get a check-up with his veterinarian to make sure all was well.
With fluctuating temperatures, the snow and ice are definitely starting to melt! While this is a happy sign that Spring is just around the corner, it’s also a sign to stay alert with your pet.
Keep your dog on a leash and if you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember ice is not always uniformly thick or stable. In addition to the dangers of falling through thin ice, also remember dogs don’t consider the water temperature before bounding in for a swim. For more winter pet health and safety tips, visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health
SPECIAL THANKS to Boston Park Ranger Sergeant Al Hurd and the Boston Police Departmentwho provided help and assistance to our rescue team today!
So many reasons to adopt from the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Bringing an animal into your home and making them a part of your family is a very special event indeed. In fact, some of the happiest work we do at the Animal Rescue League of Boston is helping you find a super pet!
The ARL finds homes for about 3,000 animals every year, including cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, ferrets, cows, sheep, horses, snakes, and lizards. We take in animals from a variety of circumstances, but a large portion are responsibly surrendered to us because of “people-related” reasons—their owners were moving, had no time because of a job or life change, or suddenly became sick or financially unable to care for their pets.
Animals like Pringle (pictured upper right), Cupid (pictured middle right), and Peach and Rosalina (pictured bottom center), all have big hearts with lots of love, loyalty, and good company to give to human companions—day and night!
When you adopt from a shelter, you’ll feel good about giving an animal a chance at a better life. And not just one animal – when you take your new pet home with you, the ARL can take in another at one of our shelters.
In addition to those fantastic feelings of helping a fellow living thing in need, you can also rest assured that, before they go to a new home, every adoptable animal at the ARL receives:
Health screening and veterinary examination
Behavior screening and evaluations
Flea, tick and mite treatment
Feline Leukemia test for cats/Heartworm test and preventive medication for dogs
Microchip identification and registration
With the help of the dedicated staff at our animal shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, you can learn more about whether a particular animal you meet at our shelter is a good pet-match for you before you bring them home.
Senior Rescue Technician, Bill Tanguay retrieving a kitten.
About a month ago the ARL Boston Rescue Team received a call from a hair salon in Chelsea about some kittens that seemed to be stuck in their ceiling. The stylists could hear the sound of pitter-pattering above them as they worked.
Our rescue team went to the scene and from what they could see, it was clear that there were a lot of kittens stuck up there and this rescue would be no easy task. Rescue technicians were visiting the hair salon every few days to try to catch more kittens, this became a true team effort.
Brian O’Connor, Manager of Rescue Services at the ARL said “The most challenging part was that they were all stuck in a drop-ceiling in a business. so they were surrounded with wires.” The Chelsea fire department even came in with their infrared camera, but because of all the wires they couldn’t discern where the kittens actually were.
At one point it was clear that one of the kittens had actually ended up behind a wall and after receiving permission from the business owner, one of our rescue technicians cut a hole in the wall to retrieve the poor little guy.
The kitten rescued from inside the wall.
One-by-one, all of the kittens were saved! Thank you to everyone at the hair salon for their patience as we helped get this little family out.
In total, seven kittens plus mom were rescued from the Chelsea hair salon. We’re happy to report that everyone is doing well. The kittens were brought to our Dedham shelter where they were placed in foster homes and the mom is currently in our Boston shelter undergoing evaluation.
Great work everyone!
Kitten number 6!
Finally, kitten number 7! A little frightened and dirty, but okay!
On May first the Animal Rescue League of Boston received a call from Tyngsborough animal control in regards to an injured juvenile bald eagle.
With the assistance of the animal control officer our rescue team was able to quickly set up their bow net which was recently donated by the Harmony Foundation, bait it with food and humanely catch the injured bird in minutes.
ARL helping rescued animals recover from neglect and find new homes
At the end of February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) partnered with MSPCA-Angell to remove 199 animals from a home in Lynnfield, Massachusetts.
In one of the largest hoarding situations the ARL has responded to in recent years, a wide range of species including dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles lived in unsanitary conditions, stacked in cages and crates in different areas of the home. All of the animals were voluntarily surrendered to the ARL and MSPCA-Angell.
After the ARL’s Rescue Services team removed animals from the home, the team brought 60 to our Boston shelter for emergency medical care. According to Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, vice president of animal welfare at the ARL, many of the animals had serious health issues resulting from neglect.
“When people suffer from the complex psychological conditions that lead to animal hoarding, they become overwhelmed with caring for all the animals they accumulate,” explains Dr. Smith-Blackmore.
“In hoarding situations, both the owner and the animals need help. If you see something that suggests an animal hoarding situation, say something to your local authorities.”
Working together, our veterinary and shelter staff mobilized a temporary isolation area for the cats requiring long-term medical treatment and found places for them at the Pat Brody Shelter for Cats in Lunenburg, where they will continue to receive rehabilitative care. The ARL also asked Jabberwock Reptiles in Winchester, for assistance taking in the reptiles recovered from the home, including sickly blue-tongued skinks and snakes.
The 6 dogs and 13 birds remaining at the ARL’s shelters continue to make progress in their recovery. Broadway Dog Spa in South Boston generously donated grooming services and the Boston shelter has already begun to identify potential adopters for the shy, but very sweet dogs.
All three of our shelters have taken in the birds. Staff members are getting to know their unique personalities, while providing proper nutrition and care.
If you would like to help these animals and others like them recover from neglect, click the green button below to make a donation.