Dogs can’t talk, but as long as Lisa Cutting is around, they don’t need to.
The tireless advocate for bringing attention to the increasingly startling inhumane treatment of animals by some owners throughout Revere and the surrounding areas has not stopped her mission in 2015. Her mission is letting the public know, quite loudly at times, how some in the City are treating defenseless animals, as she often finds them broken, hurt, scared and without a home.
She is the safety net for these growing numbers of abused animals, and for her efforts in 2015 (as well as in previous years) she is the Revere Journal’s 2015 Woman of the Year.
Cutting, 42, is actually a nurse by day and works in the hospice and home care field, balancing that with her duties as a single mom. Beyond that, she has morphed into one of the leading dog rescue advocates in the area.
She has rescued some 400 dogs since becoming involved, with some 200 of them ending up at her home for short or long stay. She’s been attacked by a Boston Terrier that was rescued, requiring 77 stiches to her face and five plastic surgeries to her lip. She’s had her wrist broken by a scared dog that had been abused.
And she’s witnessed countless heartaches upon being called by Revere Police for an abandoned dog and finding a huddled, abused puppy with broken bones, malnourishment and a dashed spirit.
Some 70 percent of her finds, she said, are Pit Bulls.
All that said, 11 years ago, she had no idea what a dog rescuer was.
“I always loved dogs because I grew up in the country, but 11 years ago I didn’t even know what dog rescue was,” she said. “My parents started Ocean View Kennel on North Shore Road and it was supposed to be doggie day care and grooming. The dogs we got were from expensive breeders. However, the first month we were open we got a call from Angell Memorial Hospital. They had a German Shepherd that had been brought in around Thanksgiving and wasn’t doing well. I got a frantic call from my mother and I was at a class for nursing school. She wanted to know if we should take in a rescue dog. I figured, why not?”
The dog, Junior, is what started Cutting’s advocacy.
“He wasn’t like any other dog I’d ever worked with and wasn’t a nice dog,” she said. “When I was first around him, he bit right through my hand and broke my wrist. I didn’t give up on him. I worked with him for 11 months and he got better. A kid from G/J Towing adopted him and had him for nine years. Junior’s ashes are sitting on my dresser as an inspiration to me every day – that all dogs can find a home.”
Since Junior, Cutting has rescued St. Bernards, Chihuahuas, Labrador retrievers, Pugs, Poodles, German Shepherds, and loads and loads of Pit Bulls.
Through that journey, Cutting has learned that she has to be loud, and sometimes annoyingly loud, to make sure her silent friends don’t continue to suffer as they do today.
“I’ve made a lot of friends doing this, but I’ve made a lot of enemies,” she said. “I’ve been very critical of the City publicly because being nice got me nowhere. It’s just so easy to get a dog. Any pet store will sell to anyone. Craig’s List has dogs in the yard sales. No one cares.”
Certainly, though, Cutting cares.
And many times that means taking the dogs into her own home when there is no other choice.
Currently, she has a Pit Bull pup named Lilly that was found this fall on Park Avenue nearly dead. She has partially nursed Lilly back to health in her home and is looking for a good home for the dog.
“I take the most needy – the scared, sick and broken ones,” she said. “I’ve had probably 200 dogs in my home alone. I’ve replaced walls, doors and a lot of kitchen tables. Three Christmases ago, we had 13 dogs that stayed with us because they had nowhere else to go until January. We got rid of the Christmas tree and moved the coffee table and they were in our living room. You get frustrated sometimes and want to give up, but witness these dogs going to a new, happy home is just too wonderful to give up. All of these dogs can find a good home.”
That’s a belief she has for even the worst of those dogs – including the one that mauled her and caused her to have stiches to her face.
That dog eventually found a home with a family in the Point of Pines.
“It wasn’t his fault what happened, but he found a good home for six years with a family,” she said. “It ended up happy for him.”
And as long as Cutting is around, so many of the mistreated dogs will also find happiness in their short lives.