When they first laid eyes on him, he was a mess. He couldn’t eat because he had burns and lacerations in his mouth, his body was riddled with scars from old injuries and he had a severe case of mange. But since moving to his forever home, Justice the dog is as fit as a flea.
Justice, a Pitbull terrier, made headlines when a firecracker exploded in his mouth. The stray dog had been roaming the streets of Bishop Lavis in Cape Town on Christmas Day 2019, looking for scraps of food when a group of children tricked him into taking a firecracker.
It exploded in his mouth, leaving him with severe injuries. Justice sustained lacerations, burns inside the soft tissue of his mouth, broken teeth and was unable to eat or drink. It’s one of the worst cases of neglect and abuse the Cape of Good Hope SPCA had seen.
“A CT scan revealed fractures to his hard palate and nasal bone, fragments of which had travelled into his nasal cavities and caused severe nasal discharge,” says Belinda Abraham, spokesperson of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. “Justice also had mange, was missing part of his tail and was covered in old fighting scars.”
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When the SPCA shared a post on social media requesting a permanent home for Justice, Carey-Anne and Fabian Diamond from Hout Bay knew they needed to help. “When I showed the post to my husband the first thing he said was, ‘We need to adopt him,’” Carey-Anne recalls. “We saw how unfair life had been to him and the agony he was in because of people’s cruelty.”
It was love at first
sight when the couple met Justice in January last year. “We were told by the
staff he hadn’t wagged his tail since he arrived at the clinic but when he saw
us, he did,” Cary-Anne says. “He could barely open his eyes, let alone move,
but he sniffed us and that’s when we knew he was the one for us.”
The couple wasted no time completing adoption papers but given Justice’s condition and his breed, the adoption process wasn’t an easy one. They had to prove they could take care of the dog and keep him safely enclosed in their property.
“The adoption inspectors found the wall in our yard was too low but with the help of our neighbours, we managed to put up wooden panels for reinforcement,” Cary-Anne says.
Two months later, on 6 March 2020, Justice moved to his forever home. “We were so happy to finally have him home with us, he sniffed around a bit and went to lie on his new bed. He fitted in straight away and he felt at home,” Fabian says.
Pitbulls have a bad
reputation as aggressive dogs but the Diamonds say Justice is a true gem. “He’s
such a kind, caring and loving dog that loves to be loved. We’re so happy to
have him in our lives.”
Since his harrowing incident, Justice has undergone three surgeries including facial reconstruction, suturing in his mouth to treat the burn wounds and a nasal cavity clearing. His surgeries were made possible through the Panorama Veterinary Clinic & Specialist Centre, which offered it services to the SPCA at a discounted rate.
Thanks to his remarkable transformation, Justice has reached celebrity status at the SPCA. “It’s always a good day when Justice comes to visit,” Belinda tells us.
“He reminds us why we do the work we do. He is full of confidence now, there’s a twinkle in his eye and wiggle in his step. It may have been veterinary medicine that healed his physical wounds – but it was love that healed his heart.”
Fabian and Carey-Anne hope Justice’s story will inspire others to adopt animals in need.
“There are so many dogs at the SPCA looking for homes,” Carey-Anne says. “They deserve love too.”