Justin’s StoryPosted by Sgt. Regina Benfante, Suffolk County SPCA on February 22, 2011
Justin is ALDF’s National Justice for Animals Week official mascot!
The veterinarian told us Justin was rescued "just in time" after the Suffolk County, New York SPCA (SCSPCA) removed him from a foreclosed house in May 2010 where he was left abandoned with no food or water. Weighing only 19 pounds, he was a skeleton with skin. The veterinarian told us his chances of survival were slim as they had never seen a dog as emaciated as Justin that was still alive.
I was one of the officers first on the scene. I saw a small glimmer of hope in Justin’s eyes as I picked him up to transport him to the emergency clinic. I knew at that moment he was a special dog.
After a couple of weeks in the hospital, Justin needed a foster home and I agreed to take him home to our family until he was stronger. He still had a long road ahead of him but he was making progress. We grew very attached to Justin as he did to us. When it was time for adoption, we just couldn’t let him go. He is such a kind, special dog, and his will to live is the strongest I have ever seen in my seven years with the SCSPCA.
He is now a healthy 55 pounds and is extremely playful and loving. He is wonderful with the kids and there is not a mean bone in his body. He plays fetch and loves sleeping on the couch (and in his doggy bed of course!)
Justin and I, along with the SCSPCA, have joined forces with Legislator Jon Cooper to get the animal abuser registry passed in Suffolk County. Justin has played an important role in this as he is a living example of an animal abuse survivor. His owner was arrested, and thanks to the new animal abuser registry law, people living in Suffolk County who are convicted of animal abuse crimes are now required to register on an online registry for five years following their convictions.
No animal should ever go through the pain and suffering Justin went through. Thanks to Legislator Cooper, we are one step closer to this.