Justin’s Story

Posted by Sgt. Regina Benfante, Suffolk County SPCA on February 22, 2011

Justin is ALDF’s National Justice for Animals Week official mascot!

Justin at the time of his rescueThe 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. Justin after his rescueWhen 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.

3 thoughts on “Justin’s Story

  1. Diana Prine says:


  2. everydayathena says:

    I am appalled that people could leave behind a family pet after moving…and sad to know that it happens so often. I wish the laws were more severe; this individual should never be permitted to own a pet again.

  3. Lyndel Stewart says:

    What an awesome story. That poor innocent dog, to be treated that way is absolutely disgusting. I am a massive believer in what goes around comes around and I hope that the person that abandoned this beautiful little dog gets his/hers. It doesn’t take much to be kind to an animal but I imagine it must take a lot to be cruel to one. God bless you Justin and God bless the kind people that have given you a new home and family where you are loved and wanted. Good things will happen to them and now for you XXXX.

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