Photos and paraphernalia decorated the Whitwell Street Playground fence for weeks after an abused pit bull was discovered near the park, a constant reminder of the abuse that allegedly occurred only a short distance up the street.
Much of the makeshift memorial has since been taken down, but animal advocates are looking to install a more permanent reminder of the dog, nicknamed “Puppy Doe”, in the form of a memorial bench.
“I’m involved in dog rescue. When you are doing that kind of work, you see so many cases of abuse, but not to the magnitude of Puppy Doe,” said Cheryl Wallace, one of the women spearheading the proposal. “It was absolutely horrific and I’ve never seen anything that bad. It’s horrible, and it has to stop.”
The memorial has been approved by the Quincy Park and Recreation Board, with the exact wording on the bench still under discussion.
“We’ll be working with the organizer…on coming up with language that commemorates Puppy Doe but fits in line with other language we use at other dedications for folks across the city,” said Christopher Cassani, executive director for the Park and Forestry Department.
While the wording may differ from the poem organizers initially proposed, proponents plan to include an etching of the dog, along with the day she died, on a seat made of black granite.
Though other supporters of the dog said they submitted a petition and request for a bench in mid-January, Wallace said she and Diane O’Meara had the idea for a memorial in their minds since neighbors discovered the female pit bull lying listlessly near the park on Aug. 31.
The dog was brought to the Quincy Animal Shelter and later euthanized at a veterinary hospital in Weymouth.
A necropsy by the Animal Rescue League of Boston revealed that the dog had suffered extensive injuries to her eye, nose, tongue, head, body, and limbs. She had been starved and allegedly tortured.
Veterinarians at the Rescue League said it was the worst case of abuse they had ever seen, and animal lovers from near and far have since come together to mourn the dog.
After helping to organize a candlelight vigil, Wallace said plans were put in action for the bench.
Fund-raising has not yet begun for the memorial. Custom Monuments in Rockland has offered to make the bench at a discount.
Wallace was confident that money wouldn’t be hard to find.
“We have people from all over the world who want to donate,” Wallace said.
If the fund-raiser collects more money than needed, money will go to the Quincy Animal Shelter.
“The Quincy Animal Shelter is involved in this as well…they are going to help us with the fund-raising, and we’ll probably set up the care accounts or a type of online account,” Wallace said.
Beyond providing a place of solace, Wallace hoped the bench would be a reminder that animal cruelty laws need to change.
“Hopefully, she will help change laws and make people aware [that] if people see something, they have to say something,” Wallace said.