THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
< Back to front page Text size +

Max the military dog to be buried Saturday in Methuen

June 12, 2014 01:32 PM
max2.jpg
The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

As a bugler plays taps and a host of law enforcement and town officials stand guard, “Max” the war dog — who served in the US military from 2003-2007 before dying at age 10 on Memorial Day in 2012 — will be laid to rest on Saturday, June 14, at the MSPCA’s Hillside Acre Cemetery in Methuen,the MSPCA-Angell announced.
 
Watching with pride will be Pam Pelton of Northfield, N.H., who will no doubt be reflecting on the day she adopted Max in 2007 from the Military War Dog Agency at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio after he returned from four years of active duty. 
 
“It’s obviously a very bittersweet time,” said Pelton as she looked ahead to Max’s burial, the first for a war dog at Hillside since the 1950s.  “Having Max for five years was a highlight in my life — he was my walking buddy and near-constant companion.  It’s very hard to say goodbye but I take great comfort in the outpouring of love and respect he’s received.”
 
Pelton has for years been in touch with military officials to determine the nature of Max’s work and where it was performed.  “Unfortunately the exact details of the work Max performed — as well as the countries in which that work was performed — remain a mystery to me to this day.”  Given his service era, however, it is reasonable to suggest Max was stationed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
 
Max was trained as a “sniffing dog,” and may have been skilled at detecting explosive material that could endanger the life of servicemen and women, as well as civilians, in the arenas in which he worked.  According to Pelton, he never lost his fiercely loyal and protective nature.  

“Max literally saved my life years ago when we were walking in the woods and encountered two feral dogs.  The dogs jumped toward me and Max immediately sprang into action, fighting them off and very likely saving both our lives.”
 
Max is the ninth war dog to be buried at Hillside Acre Cemetery which for 80 years has been operated by the MSPCA and is now the final resting place for 18,000 beloved companion and service animals. 
 
Through the Heroes at Hillside program, military dogs such as Max are buried at no cost to their owner.  Dave Gordon, who manages the cemetery (400 Nevins Road) for the MSPCA, said: “Max served his country with honor and proved just as noble and loyal a companion to Pam after his military service ended.  He deserves our respect and we are proud to lay him to rest at Hillside Acre Cemetery.”

Pam Pelton of New Hampshire with Max (credit Pam Pelton).jpg
 
Pam Pelton photos

The beloved military dog was a trusting companion to Pam Pelton for years after his service ended.

Cinderella, Anastasia, and Drizella find comfort at MSPCA

May 20, 2014 08:05 AM

BEFOREANA.jpg

MSPCA/Angell photos

It took 90 minutes to remove Anastasia's matted fur.

The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

Three Lhasa Apso-mix dogs were surrendered to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen on May 7 with fur so matted and nails so ingrown that they could not walk, the organization announced.

The dogs were initially turned over to the Haverhill animal control officer after their previous owner refused to provide them with minimum standards of care, according to the MSPCA.

The MSPCA’s Law Enforcement Department is investigating and expects to bring charges against the animals’ previous owners, who have not yet been identified.

The dogs, which include mom “Cinderella,” age 7, and her two daughters “Anastasia” and “Drizella,” both 6, are recovering from their ordeal. Upon intake the dogs’ fur was shaved and their nails were trimmed. They have also required extensive dental work to repair their teeth, which deteriorated due to lack of care.

nails.jpg

A close-up of the dogs' ingrown nails.


According to Nevins Farm director Mike Keiley, both Anastasia and Drizella also have eye issues which are serious but treatable. The veterinary team concluded that their mother, Cinderella, is blind.

“These dogs were in terrible overall condition and it was obvious at first sight that they have gone very long periods without necessary veterinary care,” he said. “Their lives have been marked by neglect and we’re going to do all we can to get them well and get them into the loving homes that they deserve.”

The dogs were professionally shaved by the skilled team at the Grooming Emporium, the Lowell-based team that often volunteers its services for homeless animals. Their grotesquely overgrown nails also were trimmed. And despite the suffering and neglect they endured for years, their behavior assessment revealed that all three are friendly and social, making them prime candidates for adoption.

Keiley is confident the dogs will have a very bright future. Drizella, in fact, has already been claimed by a new owner and left Monday for her forever home. Cinderella and Anastasia remain at Nevins Farm.

“Lhasa Apsos are wonderful dogs, small enough for those living in tight spaces and very loyal and loving to those close to them,” added Keiley. Keiley also said it is relatively rare for Lhasa Apso-type dogs to be surrendered to the shelter, making them highly desirable.

The MSPCA-Angell’s three statewide animal care and adoption centers take in, and place into new homes, thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and other animals every year. Anastasia, Cinderella, and Drizella represent just some of the many animals who arrive every day, and whose futures are brighter as a result of the care they receive.

Readers can contribute directly toward the care of these animals by clicking here. Those interested in adopting Cinderella or Anastasia can visit www.mspca.org.

FULL ENTRY

Young cat rescued by MSPCA has a new home

February 18, 2014 01:29 PM

Marte, the young cat found tied to a radiator by a shoestring when a Lawrence animal control officer seized him Jan. 24, has been adopted.

Marte at Home.jpgErin Backkom of Portsmouth, N.H., who has been fostering the 7-month-old cat since his recovery from surgery at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center, has decided to make him a permanent member of her household.

Marte underwent extensive surgery at the Angell center in Boston two days after being removed from the home. His owner, whose identity is not being released, is facing felony animal cruelty charges for failing to provide necessary veterinary care.

Preliminary exams at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen - where the cat was taken after being removed from the Lawrence home - showed he had swallowed a string weeks earlier, which had caused severe internal injury, according to MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin. He was immediately transferred to Angell.

During the surgery, doctors removed nearly half of Marte's intestines because they were so damaged by the string that he had swallowed.

Surgeon Andrew Goodman also had to re-route his gall bladder so that excess bile could continue to drain properly from his body.

After recovering at Angell for a day, Marte was moved back to MSPCA-Nevins Farm, and soon went into foster care with Backkom.

"We are thrilled that he is in a forever home, one that he so deserves," said Halpin.

Seized animals brought to rescues in Dedham, Methuen

February 11, 2014 09:28 AM

wendy.jpg

MSPCA photos

Wendy, a pony seized by MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement and currently in care at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen.

The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

The MSPCA-Angell’s Law Enforcement department announced Monday it has charged Dean Manual of Ludlow with 36 counts of animal cruelty after seizing 35 animals from his property last Friday.

Manual, 43, also faces two counts of assault and battery on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest. His arraignment has been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 12.

The animals seized include: four donkeys; eight ponies; six pigs (including three piglets); four goats; four alpacas; four ducks; two sheep; one goose; one emu and a rabbit.

The MSPCA combined forces with the Animal Rescue League of Boston to remove the animals. Twelve animals — including donkeys, ponies, goats, and sheep — were taken to the Animal Rescue League’s facility in Dedham. The rest were taken to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen.

The majority of the animals are underweight — including a severely emaciated pony who will be placed on a monitored re-feeding program. Some of the ponies have overgrown hooves and all of the animals will undergo further veterinary exams to assess other health issues that must be treated.

One alpaca was so weak that he could not stand on his own and was sent to the Tufts veterinary center in Grafton. The animal remains in the critical care unit while veterinarians determine the full extent of his health issues and how they may be treated.

The MSPCA-Nevins Farm has set up a donation page to enable members of the community to contribute to the care of animals.

The MSPCA previously charged Manual with 10 separate counts of animal cruelty after a Dec. 9 inspection of his property by officer Christine Allenberg found ponies and donkeys living in pens with no food or water, and no protection from the elements. The animals were wet and covered with ice and snow. Officer Allenberg gave Manual until Dec. 17 to build a shelter and charged him when he failed to meet the deadline.

Manual denied the charges at his Dec. 23 arraignment and was scheduled to appear in court on March 5 on those charges.

“Our primary concern now is the health and well-being of these animals — and we’ll do everything we can to help them regain their health,” said Officer Allenberg. “And, simultaneously, we will vigorously pursue justice as we do with every cruelty investigation we take on.”

pigs.jpg

Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs seized by MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement and currently receiving care at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.

MSPCA rescues sick cat tied to radiator in Lawrence

February 4, 2014 11:07 AM

The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

A 7-month-old cat named “Marte” is on the mend after he was found tied by his neck to the radiator of a Lawrence home.

cat1.jpgThe cat, removed from the home on Jan. 24 by the city’s animal control officer and taken to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in nearby Methuen, had swallowed a string weeks earlier, which had caused severe internal injury.

Marte underwent extensive surgery at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston two days after being removed from the home. His owner, whose identity is not being released, is facing felony animal cruelty charges for failing to provide necessary veterinary care.

By the time Marte was found he had been vomiting and was extremely dehydrated, thin and weak. Worse, the string he swallowed had lodged under his tongue and stretched all the way down his throat, wrapping around and damaging his intestines.

At Nevins Farm, director Mike Keiley evaluated young Marte and was shocked by what he saw. “This cat had clearly gone weeks with this string lodged in his body, creating untold damage to his insides,” he said. “The fact that he was tied by his neck only added to his misery.”

Keiley immediately transferred Marte to Angell where surgeon Andrew Goodman evaluated him. Marte was already septic — a condition marked by extreme internal infection — because the string had punctured his intestines in multiple areas. Dr. Goodman concluded that while surgery to remove the string and repair his intestines carried only a 30 percent chance of survival, Marte would certainly die without it.

Dr. Goodman had to remove nearly half of Marte’s intestines and re-route his gall bladder so that excess bile could continue to drain properly from his body. After recovering at Angell for a day, Marte was moved back to MSPCA-Nevins Farm where he remains in foster care.

“He’s definitely not out of the woods yet and we won’t know for at least a couple weeks whether he may need additional surgery,” said Keiley. “But we’re confident that he’s going to make it - so much so that we’re looking for potential adopters to step forward. We want to give him a home in which he’ll know only safety, warmth, and comfort for the rest of his life.”

The MSPCA-Angell’s three statewide animal care and adoption centers take in, and place into new homes, thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and other animals every year. Marte represents just one of the many animals who arrive every day, and whose futures are brighter as a result of the care they receive. Readers can contribute directly toward the care of these animals by clicking here.


About the MSPCA

The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, nonprofit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mspcaangell.

MSPCA rescues 65 birds from Lawrence home

January 24, 2014 05:50 PM

crammed.jpg

MSPCA-Angell photos

65 birds were crammed together in dirty cages in the Lawrence home.

The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

Sixty five birds - including a variety of parrots, doves, and finches - were removed Friday from a dirty and overcrowded home in Lawrence and taken to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen, the organization has announced. The birds, crammed together in a small room that lacked proper heat and ventilation, were surrendered along with three young kittens.

The birds will live at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm until permanent homes can be found. The new arrivals have strained an already overloaded bird room at the facility's Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center, which is now housing close to 90 birds ranging from macaws, cockatiels, parrots, parakeets, and more.

The MSPCA came to the birds' aid after the Lawrence animal control officer received complaints about the birds being kept in unsanitary conditions in the home's enclosed porch. The owner of the birds, whose identity is not being released, agreed to turn the animals over to the MSPCA when it was clear that the living conditions posed a significant threat to their health. Nevins Farm Director Mike Keiley has made the birds' safety and comfort the top priority.

"Not only have these birds endured a level of overcrowding typically seen in hoarding conditions, but their socialization and overall health needs have gone unmet for years," he said. "Many of them are fragile and scared ... and you can imagine how bad the conditions were when for their own well-being we opted to take them from the home on a day when the temperature was hovering around 10 degrees."

For the most part the birds are healthy, despite being hungry and cold. Keiley expects all of animals, including the kittens, to recover and be placed into permanent homes.

The MSPCA-Nevins Farm is no stranger to large-scale animal surrenders. In November 2013, 33 guinea pigs were surrendered after living in an overcrowded home in New Hampshire. And 71 birds were taken in on a single day in February 2012.

Keiley stressed the need for both prospective adopters and donors to step forward and help create a brighter future for the birds. "Monetary donations are very important in these times because of the now greatly expanded number of animals who need our care," he said.

Anyone interested in adopting one or some of the animals is encouraged to visit the MSPCA-Nevins Farm Animal Care and Adoption Center at 400 Broadway, Methuen or visit mspca.org. Those who wish to donate to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm can do so by clicking here.

The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, nonprofit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit mspca.org.

Cockatiels.jpg

Cockatiels make themselves at home at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.

MA Board of Higher Education to improve math programs

December 10, 2013 02:53 PM
By Lauren Spencer, Globe Correspondent

In an effort to improve student preparedness for the worforce, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education is encouraging college campuses to revise their developmental math programs. 

With 38% of public college and university students enrolled in non-credit remedial coursework during their first semester, the Board approved a series of initiatives that aim to help students more quickly advance to credit-bearing courses while still obtaining the skills necessary for college-level work. 

According to a task force appointed by Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland, there were 11,000 community college students taking remedial math in the fall 2010 semester and 9,000 of them have yet to pass a credit-bearing math course. 

In order to improve those statistics, campuses will create new, academically rigorous math course sequences, specific to students’ individual areas of study. For example, a liberal arts student might pursue quantitative reasoning, while a social sciences major might study statistics. 
 
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted to declare the 2014-15 academic year as a “pilot study year” for campuses to try out different revisions to their offerings. 

“This is indeed a national problem and Massachusetts is in the vanguard of states that are moving to improve remedial math instruction”, said Freeland. 

“Our research indicates that students who take math that is appropriate for their interests and career goals are more successful in their courses and more likely to complete college. This should matter to everyone, given the Commonwealth’s growing need for high-skilled college graduates in the coming years.”

Stolen beagle from MSPCA in Methuen returned; Couple faces charges

November 20, 2013 09:34 AM
sophiedoor.jpg

MSPCA-Angell photos

Sophie appears to be walked out the door by the man and taken to the couples' car.


The MSPCA has reported that Sophie, the beagle taken from the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen, was returned Tuesday morning by the man seen on videotape along with his wife as they left the shelter with her over the weekend.  

ccording to MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin, the couple is facing larceny charges, but the Methuen Police Department will not release their names or place of residence until an arraignment date has been set. Halpin said the MSPCA has been assured the couple will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The publicity surrounding the case prompted the couple to come forward and return Sophie to the MSPCA’s care, Halpin said. 

The dog is well and is under close watch by the shelter staff, Halpin said. Would-be adopters can contact Nevins Farm director Mike Keiley at mkeiley@mspca.org.

The dog was taken from the Methuen adoption center at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16.

The stolen dog, a 7-year-old beagle named “Sophie,” weighs about 40 pounds, is mostly white with a brown face, and has black fur covering much of her back. Surveillance video from Nevins Farm’s recently installed video monitoring system shows a white couple, who appear to be in their 60s, standing in the adoption center lobby before the man — wearing a white jacket over black slacks — is seen exiting the rear door with Sophie.

  sophiecar.jpg

Sophie's alleged abductors getting into their silver Jeep Liberty.

The couple was then filmed getting into what appears to be a newer model silver Jeep Liberty and driving off.

This is the second beagle (and third dog) stolen from Nevins Farm in the past year. The previous three dogs all were returned anonymously to the organization’s fenced outdoor exercise area within 48 hours of being taken. 

Mike Keiley, director at Nevins Farm, hoped that the video monitoring system would enable the Methuen police to identify the suspects.

It’s possible that these are the people who have made previous attempts at stealing a beagle from our facility," Keiley said. "They clearly did their homework and knew the layout of the adoption center and how to escape with a dog without being seen by staff.”

Keiley said the couple likely arrived with their own leash, making it easier for them to escape with Sophie. 

sophiecouple.jpg

The couple in question - circled in red - in the crowded MSPCA Nevins Farm lobby before allegedly leaving with Sophie.

MSPCA-Methuen rescues 33 guinea pigs from single home

November 8, 2013 10:16 AM
GP1.jpgThe MSPCA-Nevins Farm announced that a Chester, N.H., woman agreed to surrender 33 guinea pigs to its adoption center in Methuen after it determined the animals - who were all living in the woman's small house - were not adequately cared for. The guinea pigs were turned over to the shelter on Nov. 2.

GP2.jpgThe woman, whose identity is not being released, was operating what the shelter staff described as the guinea pig equivalent of a puppy mill, continuously breeding the animals in order to sell the babies to local pet stores. At first she wanted only to surrender a couple of the animals, but concern for their welfare prompted the adoption center to demand she turn all of them over.

Mike Keiley, director of the Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins Farm, expressed concern about the new additions. "It's a tremendous strain on our resources whenever we have a surrender of so many animals at once," he said. Keiley added that the center is already home to dozens of guinea pigs and other small animals, and the team is in urgent need of foster homes and adopters to ensure all of the guinea pigs can find new homes once they are available for adoption.

GP3.jpgOwing to the size of the surrender and the number of animals already in the shelter's care, the MSPCA has set up a donation form for members of the public who wish to contribute to the care of the guinea pigs, and animals like them. "Monetary donations are hugely important in times like this because of the now significantly larger population of animals that need us," added Keiley.

Ten adult female guinea pigs will need to be cared for in foster homes for two months to ensure they are not placed into a permanent adoptive home if they are pregnant. Most of the baby pigs will be available for adoption in mid-November. And upwards of 10 adult males are available for adoption now.

Anyone interested in adopting one or some of the animals is encouraged to visit the MSPCA-Nevins Farm Animal Care and Adoption Center at Care and Adoption Center at 400 Broadway, Methuen or visit www.mspca.org.


The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, nonprofit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org.


Man found guilty for murder of longtime girlfriend

September 24, 2013 10:12 AM

This press release was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's office

A Methuen man has been found guilty of murder for the fatal stabbing of his former longtime girlfriend in her Burlington home, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today

Christopher Piantedosi, 40, of Methuen, was found guilty of murder by deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty and malicious destruction of property by a Middlesex Superior Court jury following an 11-day trial. Middlesex Superior Court Judge Diane Kottmyer sentenced the defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the charge of murder and 20 years probation on the charge of malicious destruction of property with the condition of no contact with the victim’s two children.

“This was a gruesome attack where the defendant killed Kristen Pulisciano, the mother of his children, by stabbing her 33 times in their daughter’s bedroom,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Perpetrators of domestic violence seek to exert power and control over their victims. When this defendant saw that he was losing his control over the victim, he violently killed her. This is a tragic case and today, while we are pleased that justice was served, our thoughts are with the victim’s family, as they continue to mourn the loss of Kristen.”

According to authorities, at approximately 6:45pm on May 3, 2012 Burlington Police responded to 23 Forbes Avenue for a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, officers located a female victim, evidencing obvious fatal stab wounds. The victim, Kristen Pulisciano, 38, a resident of 23 Forbes Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Burlington Police and the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the stabbing. The defendant, who had had a long-standing relationship with the victim, stabbed the victim inside her residence.

An autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (ME) determined the cause of death to be sharp force injuries to the head and chest and the manner of death homicide.

Through the course of the investigation, officials learned that the victim’s daughter was video chatting with a friend on her Ipad in her bedroom just before the murder. When the victim’s daughter heard the victim and defendant fighting, she left her bedroom and went into the living room. Her mother then ran into the daughter’s bedroom, and the defendant followed with a knife in his hand. The video chatting program was still open during this time, and the friend witnessed the violent attack by the defendant. The defendant broke open the bedroom door, pushed the victim onto the bed and began stabbing her over and over. The victim’s daughter attempted to stop the defendant, but she was unable to pull him off of her mother, so she fled the house and called police. The victim suffered 33 stab wounds.

The defendant fled the scene. An arrest warrant for murder was issued the morning of May 4, 2012 for Piantedosi. On May 4, 2012, Piantedosi turned himself into authorities at the Massachusetts State Police Barracks in Weston. He was arraigned May 7, 2012 and held without bail. He was indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on June 7, 2012.

The prosecutor assigned to the case was Assistant District Attorney Nicole Allain. The Victim Witness Advocate was Anne Foley. The paralegal was Stephanie Calnan.

About Your Town