On February 2, 2016 Michael Earl Hill received two years in prison for abusing Justice. For the thousands of people who were moved by the puppy’s story, this wasn’t justice, this was a travesty.
An online petition for Justice’s abuser to receive the maximum penalty, 25 years in prison, for animal cruelty has reached over 66,000 signatures. The puppy’s story not only drew worldwide attention, it moved people to action. People are taking to the streets and protesting on behalf of the dog, who cannot speak for himself.
As for Justice, he still has a long road to recovery, but he also has a lot of love. Over 1,000 people have applied to adopt the pup. However, Justice will not be available to go to his forever home until at least the summer.
**Warning: graphic images below**
On an afternoon walk with his dogs, an Ontario man discovered a little dog—now known as Justice—bound with electrical tape behind a shopping center. Justice’s muzzle, paws, and neck were wrapped tight, and his feet and mouth were severely swollen.
It was obvious he was having difficulty breathing, so the man rushed him immediately to a nearby animal hospital.
Vets confirmed that the 7-year-old dog would likely have been completely unable to breathe through his constricted airways within just a few more hours. The original Facebook post by the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society read:
Even after the tape was removed, he was initially unable to stand, and his mouth remains swollen. Fortunately, because he was rescued in time, veterinarians expect him to eventually make a full recovery. […] He is a small breed dog with a cropped tail, weighing only approximately 13 pounds. He had a pre-existing dental and mouth issue that would have caused him to have foul breath for some time.
After just one day the post had been shared thousands of times. Justice’s caretakers removed the tape and kept him on a healthy dose of painkillers, but they didn’t expect the damage to his mouth to be quite so extensive. They wrote:
Much more of the tissue inside his mouth has been severely damaged than was originally apparent, and he is on a variety of medications to try to save as much of the remaining tissue as possible. Testing has also confirmed that Justice is positive for heartworm.
Several days later, Justice underwent surgery to remove some of the damaged tissue, and he is reportedly recovering well. “We’re passing along everyone’s good wishes,” the shelter wrote, “and telling him that many people care about him and want him to get well.”
Swelling in three of Justice’s paws has gone down, and while he is still on medication to manage his pain, he’s playing like a puppy with an equally healthy appetite. Had the good samaritan and his dogs not stumbled upon Justice’s deteriorating form, he would not be alive today.
The many donations made by the pup’s supporters and well-wishers have really made a difference in his comfort. The humane society reminds potential adopters that because Justice has a good deal of healing left to do, they will not be accepting applications just yet. Don’t forget about him, though! Once this guy is ready to be a part of a real family, he’ll be aching to get out of the hospital and into his forever home.
Michael Hill, the man found to have committed the cruelty against Justice, has been placed under arrest. His bail hearing was set for December 22nd, but Justice Mike Hearst (who was handling the case) recused himself to avoid an “unfair” outcome due to his being a dog lover.
Additionally, Justice’s Change.org petition requests that should Hill be convicted, he be given the maximum sentence possible and be banned from “owning, having the custody or control of, or residing in the same premises as an animal […] for the rest of his life.”
You can donate to Justice’s care through the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society’s donation page.
We’ll be thinking of you, brave boy.
We will provide updates on Justice’s care and his abuser’s case as necessary.