Tortured Windsor dog that became the symbol of the need for stronger animal protection dies

·2 min read
Justice the dog made headlines when he was found near death with electrical tape wrapped around his mouth and legs. (Angie Chauvin Heartwork/Windsor-Essex County Humane Society/Facebook - image credit)
Justice the dog made headlines when he was found near death with electrical tape wrapped around his mouth and legs. (Angie Chauvin Heartwork/Windsor-Essex County Humane Society/Facebook - image credit)

Justice, the dog that became a symbol for the need for stronger animal protection laws, has died, the Windsor Essex Humane Society said in a Facebook post Monday.

The dog grabbed the country's attention in 2015, just weeks before Christmas, when a man tightly tied the animal's snout, neck and paws in black tape and discarded him in the grass near a Canadian Tire store.

A man walking his own dogs found Justice and the dog's life started to turn around. The small dog underwent four surgeries, three heart worm treatment injections and dealt with two personal trainers over a five-month recovery period.

He found a loving home, said Melanie Coulter, the executive director at the Windsor Essex Humane Society.

"We were so grateful when he found a wonderful home and knowing that he was living his best life and that his people were caring for him," she said. "That was just really what we wanted for him throughout the months of his recovery."

So his story hopefully will live on and continue to inspire people to advocate for better laws protecting animals. — Melanie Coulter

The next year, the dog's story inspired a plush toy sold by the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society that raised money to go toward animal cruelty investigations.

"I think it was just hard not to be touched by his story of survival," she said. "Just to see that survival and know that he came through such an experience and still loved people was just really inspiring. And I think a lot of us at the Humane Society worked really hard to help him pull through."

Windsor-Essex County Humane Society/Facebook
Windsor-Essex County Humane Society/Facebook

"Locally it really did spur people to advocate for stronger cruelty laws," Coulter said.

The Amherstburg, Ont. man who bound the dog in electrical tape, was sentenced to two years in jail after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges in February 2016.

That was "the strongest sentence that had ever to that time been handed down in an animal cruelty case in Canada," according to Coulter.

So what will Justice's lasting legacy be for Windsor and the world?

"I think just it's important to remember that while this did encourage people to advocate for better laws, there is still a lot of room for improvement," she said.

"So his story hopefully will live on and continue to inspire people to advocate for better laws protecting animals in our country because we definitely need them."

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