Animal welfare activists are rallying around “Puppy Doe,” a female pit bull who was found so badly abused after she was apparently abandoned by her owner in August that she had to be euthanized. In response to a call for help from the Quincy, Mass., police and the Animal Rescue League of Boston, outraged Facebook users have established a page dedicated to bringing the animal’s abuser to justice.
By Tuesday, the page had more than 30,000 likes on Facebook. Animal activists used the page to share information about incident, and even called a vigil for Saturday in Puppy Doe’s memory.
According to the Boston Herald, the puppy was discovered abandoned near a playground in Quincy on Aug. 31, suffering from injuries reminiscent of “medieval” torture. On Wednesday, the publication reported that the dog’s original owner had identified herself, and told reporters that she had given the animal, originally named Kiya, away to someone she found on Craigslist after her landlord told her it couldn’t stay in her apartment.
Laura Hankins told the paper that she believed the Grafton woman she gave the puppy to later turned her over to someone else. “The guilt and responsibility I felt — my heart broke. It was my responsibility to find her a good home,” Hankins said. “No one was willing to rent to someone with a pit bull and two other dogs. We looked for four months. We even offered our landlord more money.”
When police reportedly contacted the woman from Grafton, she told them she had no information about the dog and hung up the phone, the Herald reported.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, vice president of animal welfare at the Animal Rescue League who performed the necropsy of Puppy Doe, said the animal’s injuries suggested a sickening level of sadism. The wounds inflicted on the animal included not only starvation and beating, but being stabbed in the eye, and having her tongue sliced down the middle to resemble that of a serpent’s.
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“There is no dental injury or abnormality, nor are there any injuries or malformation to her lips. The lack of a hallmark of attendant injuries or congenital malformations to the lips or teeth suggest that this serpent-like split to her tongue is non-accidental in origin,” Smith-Blackmore wrote in her report.
Smith-Blackmore reported that the dog, who she estimated was between one and two years old, weighed roughly half her normal weight when she was found. She concluded of the alleged abuser: “They’re a freak, a total freak… It’s the totality of the types of injuries. Not only was she beaten, she was stabbed [and] she was burned… It’s a sick mind that can do this to an animal.”
Mary Nee, president of the Boston branch of the ARL, said it was vital that authorities immediately identify the animal’s abuser. “Words cannot adequately describe the shocking suffering that Puppy Doe endured or capture the urgency in identifying who did this to her,” Nee said.
Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey corroborated Nee’s assessment, asking the public in a press release for urgent help finding the culprit. “We need anyone who knows who owned and abused this dog to contact authorities,” Morrissey said. “The injuries cataloged in the post-mortem examination are grotesque and indicate consistent starvation and abuse over an extended period of time. It is highly unlikely that this level of sadistic cruelty could be shown to one animal and not be part of a pattern involving other animals or perhaps vulnerable people. We need to find the person who did this and see what else they are doing.”
Although Puppy Doe was discovered in Quincy, Morrissey said authorities are not convinced that the dog was from there, and are urging residents in other parts of the state to come forward with any helpful information.
“We do not have reason to believe or disbelieve that the dog was originally from Quincy before being found near the park,” Morrissey said. “We are asking anyone from eastern Massachusetts to contact us if they believe they recognize this dog.”
People with potential information about Puppy Doe are urged to contact the Animal Rescue League of Boston, Law Enforcement Department, which can be reached by phone at (226) 526-5610, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to call Quincy Police Detective Thomas Pepdjonovich at 617-745-5774.