After efforts to save a small dog Sunday afternoon in medical distress at a Massachusetts beach were unsuccessful, the dog's owner is now facing animal cruelty charges, according to state police.
State police said they responded to Revere Beach, near the Shirley Avenue Bathhouse, just after noon for a report of an injured dog.
When troopers arrived, lifeguards from the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Revere firefighters were trying to resuscitate a small Chihuahua mix who police said had been "in severe medical distress."
"All we saw was the cruisers pull up," witness Timothy Russell said. "The two troopers ran down there. It was like they were doing a 100-yard dash. We thought it might've been a drowning of a human."
The dog could not be resuscitated and died, police said.
The dog's co-owner, a 57-year-old Saugus woman, told troopers she had taken the animal into the water where it had suddenly become "stricken and apparently drowned."
Police said after the woman left with the animal's body, several witnesses told troopers they had seen the woman abusing the dog before it died.
"We heard that the dog was put in a plastic bag," Russell said.
Because the woman left and police didn't talk with the witnesses until afterward, they have issued a summons for her on various animal cruelty charges based on the witness accounts. The woman's name has not been released.
Beachgoers on Monday were upset to learn about the incident.
"That's really sad," fellow dog owner Jenn Blanchard said on Monday. "That woman should never have an animal again. If she honestly killed it, she should be put in jail."
Authorities said they were able to retrieve the body of the dog from its other co-owner in Chelsea and law enforcement from the Animal Rescue League is investigating.