By: John Krinjak


Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (WLNE) -- Police are struggling to comprehend a stunning case of animal cruelty. 

Bella is an energetic Portuguese water dog who's been through a lot. Her owner, 45-year-old Paulo Raposo, was charged with animal cruelty Monday, 
after police got a tip she was being severely abused.

"Thank God the person called to let us know that this was taking place," said Lt. Kevin Kobza of the Fairhaven Police Department. 

Officers responded to the home last month, immediately removing Bella. 

"There were no second thoughts at all," said Kobza. 

Police say Raposo frequently kicked and dragged his dog, and even burned her with a hot fireplace poker.

"The vet looked at the injuries and stated that they were consistent with being deliberately burned," said Kobza. 

Despite everything she's been through the folks here at animal control say Bella is doing remarkably well, and she's expected to make a full recovery.

"She's been great while she's here. Been great. Very friendly and gets along great with our whole staff here," said Kobza. 

If he's found guilty, Raposo faces up to 2 1/2 years behind bars, and he'll be put on the state's "do not adopt" list.

"That will prevent him from being able to adopt any animal from any animal shelter in the commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Kobza.

Police hope this case will compel others who see animal abuse to report it.

"Please don't hesitate. There's no excuse for cruelty to animals or any creature," said Kobza. 

Raposo is due in court August 9th. Bella will be kept at the animal shelter until then, and if he's found guilty she'll be put up for adoption.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018