Dallas police are still on the search for the thugs who strangled, burned and killed a four-month-old puppy.

The lab-terrier mix, who was named Justice by the people who rescued him, died from his injuries yesterday.

The SPCA of Texas has offered a $5,000 reward for their identification and arrest.

Defenseless pup: The four-month-old lab-terrier mix was set on fire by a gang of thugs in April. The animal has since died of the burns

Animal cruelty is a felony in Texas and Justice’s assailants face up to ten years in jail if caught.

However, locals are questioning why the police are taking so long in arresting those responsible, since there were several witnesses and they have the location of the act and the nicknames of those involved.

The horrific tale has caught the public’s sympathy and imagination.

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Nearly 7,000 people have signed a petition to help find the perpetrators and a candlelit vigil will be held for the pup on April 20 at Dallas City Hall.

A public funeral will be held for Justice the next day at local pet cemetery Toothacres

Justice was rescued in early April after being tortured, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.

The official police report describes the cruel incident in grisly detail.

‘ROS [responding officers] observed several scattering juveniles, laughing. An unknown wit [witness] stated he observed the puppy running across the apartment courtyard smoking and running towards the front of the complex.

‘ROS found a brown pit-bull puppy, approximately 4 months old, entire body burned.’

The report said that the witnesses had seen a group standing around the animal ‘laughing’, while an ‘unknown upset female attempted to put out the flames with a shirt and a bottle of water’.

‘Wit 1 stated he observed “Slim” with a bottle of charcoal lighter fluid and pouring the lighter fluid on the puppy and lighting the puppy on fire.’

The report then describes how the gang, led by a person known as ‘Ohio‘, had viciously strangled the puppy prior to the burning.

Wit 2 and Wit 3 stated they were holding the puppy for “Ohio” who they observed strangulating the puppy with rope in a cruel manner over a fence and fled when he observed RO Bowen approaching.’

The report said that the witnesses had seen a group standing around the animal ‘laughing’, while an ‘unknown upset female attempted to put out the flames with a shirt and a bottle of water’.

‘Wit 1 stated he observed “Slim” with a bottle of charcoal lighter fluid and pouring the lighter fluid on the puppy and lighting the puppy on fire.’

The report then describes how the gang, led by a person known as ‘Ohio’, had viciously strangled the puppy prior to the burning.

‘Wit 2 and Wit 3 stated they were holding the puppy for “Ohio” who they observed strangulating the puppy with rope in a cruel manner over a fence and fled when he observed RO Bowen approaching.’

Justice was shipped to a local animal hospital where he was given medication for burns that covered 60 to 70 percent of his body.

Jim Wenger, co-founder of DFW Rescue Me, the centre which originally took in the dog and paid for the vet bills, said that despite being in intensive pain, the puppy showed signs of his readily lovable nature.

‘When the A&M vet told me he wasn’t going to make it, she said his tail was still wagging, even though he didn’t have enough blood pressure to wag his tail,’ Mr Wenger told Pegasus News.

‘They were controlling his pain, and every time you talked to him, his tail would wag. He wanted to give kisses. He finally knew love, and I’m glad I could be a part of his life, even for a few days.’

Despite the tragic outcome, Mr Wenger says that the support Justice has attracted has led to an increase in donations to the centre and animal abuse awareness campaigns.

‘Justice is going to help a lot of dogs, and his story is going to help a lot of dogs. Hopefully it will change people’s view on animal cruelty. I just wish he was here to see that.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131649/Police-search-cruel-gang-strangled-set-killed-month-old-puppy-Justice.html#ixzz1sQUlZzRl

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