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MSPCA-Angell Levels Animal Cruelty Charge against Phillipston Dog Owners

Law Enforcement Department Seeks Conviction for Denying Veterinary Care to Dog Laden with Porcupine Quills

BOSTON, May 6, 2016 – The MSPCA-Angell’s Law Enforcement department announced today it has filed one count of felony animal cruelty against Richard and Hillary Marshall of Phillipston, Mass. for permitting an animal to suffer unnecessarily after the couple’s dog was found riddled with porcupine quills, at least 20 of which had to be surgically removed at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

Losing End of a Fight with Porcupine
The dog, named “Buttercup,” is a four-and-a-half year old Cane Corso and was brought Angell’s Emergency & Critical Care Unit by MSPCA Law Enforcement officer Nadya Moreno on April 9 after the Phillipston Animal Control Officer filed the complaint.  “She was covered in quills—they were on her back, all around her head and neck, and several were stuck in her mouth,” said Dr. Kiko Bracker, who was first to evaluate Buttercup.

Buttercup was in significant pain, suffering from a fever, and riddled with infection and abscesses, the result of the quills embedding into her muscles.  She also tested positive for Lyme disease and, as a result, her joints were inflamed.

Veterinarians ultimately removed the quills from Buttercup’s body and she was fitted with special drains to direct infected fluid outside of her body.  She was also treated with antibiotics to help her overcome the Lyme disease.  A number of additional quills later migrated to the surface of her face and were subsequently removed.

The Marshalls will be arraigned in Gardner District Court on May 24.

Buttercup’s Road Ahead

After recovering for several days at Angell, Buttercup was transferred next door to the MSPCA’s Boston Adoption Center where she received ongoing care to heal from surgery.  She has since been spayed and is available for adoption.  Despite all she has been through she remains friendly and exceedingly social, according to adoption center manager Alyssa Krieger.

“Buttercup proves yet again just how resilient animals are, despite the sometimes horrific treatment they endure,” she said.  “We’ve made her as comfortable as we can during her stay and her friendly personality has shone through.  We’re looking forward to finding a loving new home for her.”

Readers interested in adopting her may email for more information.

Animal cruelty is a felony crime in Massachusetts and carries a maximum prison sentence of 7 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

The MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement team works with the organization’s adoption centers, hospital and advocacy experts to investigate animal abuse in Massachusetts.  In 2015 the department investigated over 2,000 animal cruelty complaints around the Commonwealth.


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, non-profit 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