Worcester Animal Rescue League Programs & Services|
Animal Control Officers, Injured/Sick and Lost & Found Animals
Although Worcester Animal Rescue League runs low-cost spay/neuter clinics staffed with veterinarians, WARL is not
a veterinary hospital. Injured or ill animals should be taken to a local veterinary clinic.
If you find a stray dog or lose your dog, call that town's Animal Control Officer. For the city of Worcester,
contact the city's Animal Control Office at 508-799-1211.
When WARL takes in a stray dog, there is a state-mandated 7 day hold period for it to be claimed by its owner. If
not claimed, the dog is temperament and medically evaluated, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and put up for adoption.
The dog will stay up for adoption until it finds a home. The same protocols are taken for cats with the exception of
the hold period.
Canine Community Program|
When you adopt a dog from WARL, it's not the end of a relationship for us, but the beginning of a new one. Developing a bond with your new companion and learning to understand each other is imperative to the success of the relationship. That's why WARL continues to support our dogs (and owners!) with our Canine Community Program.
Every Tuesday and Friday from 4:00-4:45, a free class is offered to anyone who has adopted a dog from WARL. Skills taught are based on the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program of responsible pet ownership and good-mannered, obedient dogs. Also invited to class are trained shelter volunteers who work to teach our dogs those skills. Pre-registration is not necessary. You can just drop in and introduce yourself to the instructor.
Whether it's sit, stay, come, walking without pulling the leash, or just learning to listen to you, we'll be able to offer guidance to help you train your new canine companion!
Baths / Nail Trim|
WARL staff will trim your pet's nails for $7.00 or give your dog a bath. The price ranges from $15 to $25, depending on your dog's weight.
Worcester Animal Rescue League has a separate boarding kennel for owned dogs. It has clean accommodations and climate control. Kennels are equipped with privacy panels to minimize contact with other dogs. There are also over-sized kennels for large breed dogs. All dogs are released individually into enclosed outdoor yards several times a day to get fresh air, relieve themselves and soak up some sunshine. Staff will feed your pet any food or medication that you bring. We can, also, provide your pet with food. Dogs are fed twice a day unless your dog requires more meals. All dogs receive a free bath after 5 days. Your dog must be up-to-date on rabies, distemper and kennel cough vaccines, and have received these vaccines at least 2 weeks prior to boarding. The boarding cost is $25 a day. We invite you to see our boarding facility before asking us to care for your pet while you're away.
Euthanasia services are strictly for a suffering animal. Medical and temperament evaluations must be sought by the
owner prior to considering euthanasia. Staff will not euthanize an old pet that is otherwise healthy, or an
'aggressive' pet because it is rambunctious and untrained.
WARL is not a veterinary hospital. Our staff can't diagnose or treat your pet, but with our experience we recognize when an animal is dying.
The pet's remains will be sent to a crematorium. If the owner wishes, the pet's ashes will be returned to them. Fees for this service range by species, size, and services requested, please call 508-853-0030 for more details.
The foster program is an extraordinary way for individuals and families to help animals. Foster parents provide love, care and attention to animals that need the comfort of a home for a variety of reasons.
The majority of foster animals are kittens with or without their moms. We also need foster homes for animals recovering from injuries or surgery, and for animals that can't tolerate shelter life. It's a very stressful environment for sensitive animals.
We placed over 400 cats in foster care in both 2009 and 2010. In addition to providing homes for needy animals, the foster program emptied cages and kennels that allowed WARL to take in more animals.
Fostering is a life-saving experience for animals and an enriching experience for families. Children learn compassion, patience and responsibility. Parents caught up in busy schedules undergo a change from having to find time to focus on an animal's needs to wanting to spend even more time with the animal.
The length of time for foster care varies from a couple weeks to a few months. WARL retains ownership of the animal and is responsible for its medical care. Shelter staff are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
If you would like to become a foster parent, download the Foster Parent Application form, fill it out then mail it to the shelter, fax it to 508-852-1868 or email it to email@example.com. A staff member will contact you to answer your questions about foster care.
Low Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic|
Every week WARL has low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Space is limited, and the clinics are popular, so call quickly to book the next available date for your pet. The fees are:
Female Dog: $215
Male Dog: $150
Female Cat: $90
Male Cat: $75
Blood tests and vaccines can be provided on the same day at additional cost.
FeLV / FIV Test for Cats: $25
Heartworm Test: $25
Hernia Repair / Cryptorchid (testicle that hasn't descended): $45
Deciduous (Baby) Tooth Removal: $25 per tooth
Payment by cash or credit card is due at the time of drop off. A confirmation call will be made a few days before
the scheduled appointment. If you do not confirm with WARL, we cannot guarantee that your pet will have surgery on
the scheduled day. Because WARL is not an animal hospital, surgery will not be done animals over the age of 4, and
we reserve the right to deny surgery on any pet due to medical concerns.
Drop your pet off at 8:30 in the morning then pick them up between 3:30 and 4:00 that afternoon.
Low Cost Vaccine & Microchip Clinic|
WARL offers a low-cost vaccine and microchip clinic. Dogs must be leashed and cats in carriers.
Call 508-853-0030 to confirm the next vaccine clinic date. Payment is by cash or credit card.
Vaccines are $15 each
Please note: We will not be hosting a vaccine clinic in December. January's vaccine clinic will be towards the end of the month. Check back for more details.
Rescue Program / Collaboration|
Although Massachusetts laws regarding animal abuse and abandonment aren't as strong as WARL would like, the animals
in our state are much better off than animals in other parts of the country where they are regarded as livestock
When WARL has space, it contacts several organizations to take in stray dogs. The rescue dogs we accept have
been cleared by a vet in their place of origin and have been socialized through foster programs before beginning
the journey to WARL.
In Puerto Rico, sato means mutt or street dog. We collaborate with two organizations: Save a Sato and All Sato
Rescue. Before these organizations and similar ones were founded in Puerto Rico, dogs faced a horrid existence on
the island. There is even a beach called Dead Dog Beach where dogs were thrown to their deaths. Now dogs are
rescued, cared for then flown to the Northeast where shelters like WARL find homes for the dogs. The flight costs
are covered by people donating frequent flyer miles.
In some southern states in continental U.S., the euthanasia rate for dogs is so high that New England rescue groups transport dogs from high kill shelters to shelters like WARL. It is heartening to see the volunteer network that drives these dogs a couple hundred miles to meet the next volunteer who will chauffeur the dogs over the next leg of their journey.
Senior for Senior Program|
WARL is delighted to offer a free older pet (over 7-years-old) to a senior citizen. In shelters older animals are usually overlooked by people searching for a new pet. The haste to walk by an older animal is a senior's gain because older pets have so much to offer.
1. What you see is what you get: Older animals are open books. You'll see immediately how big the animal will be, its temperament and grooming requirements.
2. Easy to train: You can teach an old animal new tricks. Older animals have years of experience reading humans. They quickly figure out how to do what you're asking.
3. Older pets are very loving: The emails and letters we receive from seniors with senior pets contain beautiful stories of the love and companionship these older pets give, because they are grateful for the quiet lives they've been given. It's instant devotion on both sides.
4. They're not a 24/7 responsibility: Older animals don't require the constant attention of younger animals, which gives you more freedom to do what you want yet have companionship of a pet when you come home.
5. They settle in quickly: Older animals have been around the block a few times and already learned what it takes to get along with people. They bond with you quickly and vice versa.
6. Fewer Messes: Older animals are usually house-broken. If for some reason they're not, they have the physical and mental abilities to understand quickly (unlike younger animals) what you require of them. Older animals also are much less likely to be destructive.
7. They enjoy easy living: Every animal needs exercise and mental stimulation, but with an older animal you're getting a couch potato rather than a younger animal that will run you ragged.
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for Feral Cats|
Feral cats are not abandoned pet cats. Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats or other feral
cats; they don't typically want to interact with people. Feral cats do not belong in shelters. It's traumatizing
for them and often dangerous for staff. Like many shelters still do, WARL used to euthanize feral cats brought to
the shelter. Our policy changed because of the success of TNR programs. Feral cats are trapped, spayed/neutered,
then returned to the area they came from to resume their outdoor lives with a human caretaker providing food
and shelter. If you see feral cats or are involved with caring for a feral colony, WARL can give you the names of
local sources such as Spay Worcester Hotline at 508-304-9062 or check out TNR online.
Surrendering Your Pet|
There are instances when a pet must be surrendered to a shelter. If it's possible WARL will take in your animal,
but surrendering your pet should be your last option; not your first.
Surrendering because of behavior: Our experienced staff can offer many solutions, including behavior
training with dog and cat experts. First recommendation is to take the pet to your vet to rule out a medical cause.
If there isn't a medical reason, it's highly likely that your pet's bad behavior was created in your home. There
won't be an instant fix, but working with a suggested trainer is the best solution. It takes trial & error plus time
to change unwanted behavior. Please give it a good faith effort. You owe it to your pet to change its behavior so
the animal's life and yours are more enjoyable.
Surrendering because of age: WARL will not accept surrendered pets over 9 years of age because of the trauma
and stress it causes the animal. If the pet is old but healthy and you positively cannot keep it, find it a home
with friends or family. The easiest transition for your beloved old pet that still has some good quality years left
is to be sleeping on your bed one night and on the bed of someone it knows the next night.
To surrender a dog: Download and complete our dog surrender form; Mail it to the shelter, fax it to 508-852-1868 or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit a photo of the dog you wish to surrender. You'll be contacted when we have space. Surrenders are made by appointment only. The surrender fee for an altered dog is $100, unaltered is $150.
To surrender a cat (owned or stray): Call the shelter and ask if there is room available for a surrendered cat(s). If room is available, we can accept your cat that day and ask that you fill out the cat surrender form. If there are no open cages, we can not accept the cat at this time and request you call every day until we have the room. Surrenders are made by appointment only. The surrender fee for an altered cat is $50, unaltered is $100.
Above all, do not abandon your pet. It cannot care for itself on its own nor is it likely that it will be found
and taken in by a loving stranger. Instead it will face a miserable death, either becoming ill from lack of food
and exposure to the weather; being hit by a car, abused by cruel people, attacked by a predator. Assuming your pet
is rescued and brought to a shelter, you have robbed your own pet of its identity. No one will know its name, age,
that it's afraid of toddlers, sirens, has a grain allergy, or an old hip injury. A cat vaccinated for FeLV or FIV
to protect its life will test positive for the diseases because of the vaccination, which could cause the cat to
be euthanized in a shelter.
FYI: It is against the law in Massachusetts to abandon a pet. The punishment is a $2500 fine.