Burned pit bull named ‘Justice’ incites push for harsher animal cruelty penalties

INDIANAPOLIS — A woman is on a mission to get harsher penalties for animal cruelty in the state of Indiana.

Holly Watt launched a petition after hearing the story of Justice — a dog found abandoned in Shelby County, Indiana, suffering severe burns all over his body in early November.

“I remember seeing the picture of Justice and the torture someone had done to him,” Watt said. “I have a pit bull. It hit home for me. I felt I needed to step up and do something about these laws.”

A good Samaritan found Justice wandering down the road on Nov. 2. He had severe chemical burns on his face and his back, as well as cuts on his tongue. His injuries were seriously infected.

Justice’s story captured the attention of people across the country, and though he has a long road to recovery, his rescuers said he’s doing well.

“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming,” Chris Browder with the Shelby County Animal Shelter said. “(Justice’s) spirits are the best they’ve ever been. Came in — came right to us. Tail was wagging. Gave me a big kiss on the face.”

Watt said she hoped her petition would help her get the attention of lawmakers, so they can work to strengthen animal cruelty laws. She said there are several reasons she wants to see animal violence readdressed at the legislative level, including the long-term impact that abuse has on the animals involved and the lack of resources available to investigate the crime and how much it costs to rehabilitate each animal.

Police are investigating the abuse to Justice. A $10,000 reward has been offered for any information that can lead to an arrest in the case.

Donations for Justice’s care can be made directly to the shelter at the following:

Checks can be mailed to the Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter 705 Hale Road, Shelbyville, IN 46176. In the memo please write: “Justice4Justice.”

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