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Quincy vigil to highlight animal abuse

The outrage over a tortured dog found near a Quincy park has prompted a vigil planned for Saturday and a petition asking Craigslist to restrict its advertising for pet sales.

As police continue their search for a suspect, flowers and trinkets have been placed at the Whitwell Street playground where the female pit bull was found battered, malnourished, and mutilated on Aug. 31. The dog was later euthanized.

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A vigil had been planned at the site, but officials determined that a large crowd might obstruct entry to the nearby Quincy Medical Center. The vigil is now scheduled to take place at Pageant Field at 5 p.m.

“It’s about this one particular animal,” said Ally Baker, a Salem resident who is organizing the vigil. “But other issues will be brought up: strengthening animal-cruelty laws, how do we prevent this from happening again?”

Meanwhile, residents and animal-rights advocates have begun a petition to restrict “rehoming,” or the sale of pets, on Craigslist.

Some believe the abused dog may have belonged to a Hudson woman who provided police with photos of a nearly identical dog named Kiya. The woman told police that she gave up the dog to a new owner via Craigslist several months ago.

Though police have not confirmed that Kiya is the abused animal found in Quincy, activists said the story has prompted them to action.

“We started doing some research and reading horror stories of pets put up for adoption on Craigslist and ended up being victims of animal cruelty,’’ said Joyel Ennis, a Braintree resident who started the petition. “It made me think of the Craigslist Killer case. Once that happened, they banned an erotic services section, but there are no rules in place, no guidelines for having a pet on there.”

Ennis said she would like to see Craigslist restrict rehoming ads to rescue shelters, which can adequately screen prospective owners.

The petition, launched last Saturday, has 30,000 signatures.

But in a blog post, Craigslist chief executive officer Jim Buckmaster called the petition misleading and said the pets section of the website had done far more good than harm.

“Monsters do exist and will find victims regardless,’’ said Buckmaster. “But countless rehomings will become euthanizations if Craigslist bows out, giving a few monsters far more destructive power than they deserve. We at Craigslist love animals and are proud of the overwhelming good that our pets section does in finding new homes for unwanted animals.”

Buckmaster suggested people can help by not breeding unwanted pets and using caution when finding a new home for a pet.

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@ gmail.com.
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