By Kristina Rex

MALDEN (CBS) – A dog owner is facing animal cruelty charges after first responders in Malden found a three-month-old pit bull puppy living in what police describe as “absolute squalor.”

Firefighters were responding to a possible carbon monoxide leak at 349 Medford Street just before 11 Wednesday night. When they went into the basement, they found the puppy, covered in her own feces, and surrounded by debris, waste, and mold. “[The dog] was so malnourished that I had a hard time discerning which breed of dog it was,” the responding officer wrote in his police report.

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The dog’s owner has been identified by police and will be summonsed on animal cruelty charges, officers tell WBZ.

Pit bull rescued from home in Malden (WBZ-TV)

In the meantime, the puppy was taken by Lisa Cutting, a local kennel owner who cares for stray and abused dogs from surrounding towns. She was called to the scene Wednesday night, and told WBZ the police presence was unlike anything she’d seen in her 15 years responding to animal cruelty cases. She looked through the basement at the puppy’s living conditions as well. “It was something from a horror movie,” she said. “It was dark and it was wet.”

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The gray, female pit bull weighs only 14 pounds, but should weigh at least 30. Her bones protrude through her thin skin. Investigators say they don’t know if she would’ve lived much longer, and call the level of abuse a 10 out of 10. “She had an angel,” Cutting said, thanking the timing of the emergency call to the home.

Lisa Cutting (WBZ-TV)

Cutting has renamed the puppy “Star,” both a tribute to the upcoming 4th of July and the puppy’s future. “She’s just going to shine,” Cutting said. “She’s got a blank canvas right now…she’s going to shine bright.”

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Cutting and veterinarians believe Star will make a full recovery, but it will take months of treatment. Cutting has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs.

Kristina Rex