Curled into a C-shape on a metal exam table at City Vet in Oak Lawn today, the tired puppy rested soundly, his brown and white coat patched with scabs from the burns he suffered at the hands of people who have not yet been arrested. For the moment, he was completely unfazed by the onslaught of reporters who swirled through the exam room as though it had a revolving door, checking out the sight that was the perfectly heart-wrenching mixture of tragic and adorable.
Jim Wenger, president of DFW Rescue Me, the nonprofit that arranged the puppy's care, said that it's a good sign that Justice, a 4-month-old lab-terrier, is able to sleep and that he's doing remarkably well. If anything in this world generates a circus-like outpouring of attention, it's an adorable injured animal, especially when those who inflicted the pain remain unidentified and unpunished, and the little puppy still needs a home.
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"It's just in dogs naturally to trust people. That's part of what makes this so awful," Wenger said.
Justice was found behind an air conditioning unit at a Pleasant Grove apartment complex Tuesday night. "Witnesses described seeing a group of teen boys trying to strangle Justice with a rope before setting him on fire. A girl who saw what was happening intervened, using a T-shirt to put out the fire, police said," according to Channel 8. She was quick enough to save the dog's life, but not quick enough to prevent the burn marks that cover most of its body.
Wenger got the call shortly thereafter and drove immediately to Pleasant Grove, picked up the puppy and brought it for emergency treatment. Since then, Wenger says the dog has had "around the clock" medical care for the past five days, mostly consisting of IV antibiotics, pain medication and plasma. The dog was also "covered" in ticks, Wenger says, which probably indicated that he was "at least kept outside and probably ignored." He said the dog likely will move in with people who have agreed to foster him in two weeks and will be adopted after that.
This is the third case of a dog being burned that Wenger has seen in the last few years, he says. Donations to help DFW Rescue Me fund medical care for Justice and help other adorable animals in trouble can be made on the DFW Rescue Me website. Those interested in adopting Justice can also reach out through the website.