Her sweet face is happy and eager to please. That’s why it’s so hard to imagine why someone would abandon her, scared and shivering, tied to a pole in a Malden, Massachusetts, playground.
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Big Momma, as the mastiff has since been named, was found in the cold the night of Dec. 14 on a pole in Trafton Park, “whimpering and screeching for help,” said Kevin Alkins, Malden police’s animal control officer She had a massive, 13-lb. tumor on her belly.
A good Samaritan brought her to Malden police, and local kennel owner Bill Bowdridge stepped in.
“It was the first dog I’ve ever witnessed that cried real tears and the more we wiped the more the tears came. It would break anybody’s heart,” he said.
Money was crowdsourced and extensive surgery was done. Luckily, the tumor is benign, and the roughly 2-year-old mastiff was in good health otherwise.
Bowdridge, who owns Big Daddy Doggie Daycare, is fostering Big Momma and will try to adopt her.
“She’s not the same dog. Being with us now, she lays on her back with all four legs in the air,” he said.
Meanwhile, police are looking for whoever left her in that park.
“We feel the culprit of this planned this out,” said Atkins. “We do not believe it was a Malden resident.”
Just this week, the Animal Rescue League helped launch an animal cruelty task force in neighboring Suffolk County to try and combat animal cruelty like this.
“It is a felony in Massachusetts to abandon a dog. This is a violation of the Mass. cruelty law,” said Malden Police Officer Lt. Alan Borgal.
Massachusetts had animal cruelty cases jump 70% between 2019 and 2022, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said, citing a review of trial court records, while in 2023 alone, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated 684 allegations of animal abuse.
In Middlesex County, Borgal said, they’re seeing too many abuse cases: “We’re getting calls from other counties that want to start programs like this or at least communicate and coordinate more.”
He added that animal shelters and police stations are always better places to leave an animal if you cannot care for them.
Luckily for Big Momma, there’s a community of people who care. Bowdridge said he reassured her of that: “Just kinda told her no one was ever gonna leave her again. Not on my watch.”
If you have any information on who left the dog, call Malden police at 781-397-7171 or the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Law Enforcement Department at 617- 426-9170, ex. 110.