• Vigilant neighbor witnesses animal abuse, helps save dog and her litter

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    NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - Thanks to a community team effort, a dog and her three puppies are safe from their abusive owner.

    It all started when Rob Machado heard his neighbor's dog yelping on Wednesday.

    "I heard the dog cry [and] I thought it was my dog, [but then] realized my dog was by my feet, so I go to look," said Machado.

    Machado started recording what appeared to be his neighbor beating his dog with a metal pipe. He then sent the video to a local animal rescue group called Odie's Place, owned by Brian Harrington.

    Harrington, angered by the contents of the video, drove over to Machado's neighbor's home on Cottage Street in New Bedford.

    "I started getting more frustrated as the videos kept going [but] my language wasn’t Boston 25 friendly," said Harrington.

    Pilar Aguilar saw the post online and decided to take matters into her own hands, driving to the neighbor's house to confront him.

    "I went straight to the backyard, I went to the back door and started pounding on the back door and he never came to the door and I’m like, 'I’m not leaving without this dog,'" said Aguilar. "All of a sudden I hear the remote start and I’m like, 'Oh no, he ain’t going nowhere.'"

    Aguilar then moved her car to block the neighbor's car in the driveway, demanding he explain the alleged animal abuse.

    "He calls the police on me because I’m blocking his driveway," said Aguilar. "Police showed up within four minutes [but] they didn’t show up because of the dog abuse."

    Eventually, New Bedford police charged 41-year-old Miguel Martinez with animal cruelty. The dog and three puppies were taken in by animal control.

    The Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston funded all the tests necessary for the dogs, but thankfully it doesn't appear they were injured.

    "They’ll just receive ongoing care and love for the duration of this matter," said Mike Defina, Communications & Media Relations Officer for the ARL of Boston.

    While the joint effort helped rescue the pups, the ARL says it's always best to call 911 or the ARL themselves if you witness or suspect animal abuse.

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