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WBZ Cares: Animal Rescue League of Boston Help Keep Animals Safe and Healthy

BOSTON (CBS) - Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization, and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month's organization, The Animal Rescue League of Boston, has been working tirelessly for more than a century to rescue and care for animals in need, and now boasts three shelter locations.

When the league formed by Anna Harris Smith in 1899, horses and carriages were the main means of transportation in and out of Boston.

During that era, Harris Smith, a big-hearted social worker working with families in the city's South End neighborhood, was appalled by the treatment of horses and conditions of cats and dogs on the street.

Anna Harris Smith, Founder of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (Photo Credit: Animal Rescue League of Boston Archives)

"She was also equally as appalled by the fact that children were witnessing animal abuse," said league president Mary Nee.
Shortly after opening the Chandler Street location, Harris Smith opened a shelter in Dedham, Mass where she would rehabilitate horses during the summer months according to Nee.

"She would spend the summers there, and have horses from Boston come out for a week of respite, actually revive themselves," Nee said.

Today, the Animal Rescue League of Boston has expanded to three different locations: Boston, Dedham, and Brewster.
"We also have law enforcement, we do anti-cruelty investigation; we have emergency rescue services, community veterinary services. Our spay wagon moves all through the South Shore and Cape Cod," Nee said.

Throughout its 118-year history, the mission of the Animal Rescue League remains the same.

"Keep animals safe and healthy and habitats and homes. We would really like to see animals never having to come to a shelter," Nee said.

"People can keep their animals that they have the resources to provide adequate veterinary care. And working with people that are struggling out there," she said.

The shelter takes in about 6-thousand unwanted animals per year and about 90-percent of them are adopted. Nee says it is the many happy endings of seeing animals finding a forever home that makes it worthwhile for the staff and volunteers.

"When you spend any amount of time here, you fall in love with the place. The connection between people and animals is just so profound," Nee said. "Really the miracles that happen every day, the animals that come in from sometimes really horrible situations and then after some care, they go out the door and really, they add to families. Families write to us all the time, it is the phrase, 'Who Rescued Who?'

For more information about The Animal Rescue League of Boston, visit. or the WBZ Cares section on the website during the month of March.

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