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      Starving dog discovered in Achushnet digging through trash

      Animal control officers in Acushnet are looking for the owner of a severely neglected dog.

      The emaciated mastiff was found Aug. 7 by Ambra Sweeney, who saw the dog eating her garbage.

      "Then I looked to the right and then didn't know what it was. It was orange, and then he picked his head up and I realized it was a French Mastiff," she said.

      The dog, believed to be about 2 years old, was starving and sick.

      "The poor thing," Sweeney said. "His ribs were showing, his collar bones, he was starving and he devoured my trash."

      She called for help.

      When Kelly and Kathy Massey stepped in to rescue the dog, they found him dehydrated and emaciated.

      "He weighed in at 76 pounds when he was found. He should weigh at least 150 pounds," Kelly Massey said. "It definitely brings tears to your eyes on how this could happen." she said.

      The dog, now named Braxton, is being cared for by a foster family. He's started to gain weight, but you can still see his ribs. He's very friendly and loves treats.

      "We will take anonymous leads," Kathy Massey said. "A lot of people won't call because they're afraid of repercussions, but call us anonymously we don't have a problem with that."

      For now, Braxton will remain with his foster family and eventually will be up for adoption.

      A bill creating stricter penalties for animal abusers now awaits the governor's signature, in Massachusetts.

      The House and Senate approved the so-called PAWS bill - short for Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety. The bill raises the maximum prison time from five to seven years for a first offense and up to 10 years for subsequent offenses. It also increases the possible fine from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense and up to $10,000 for subsequent offenses.