What could be more shocking than reading a news story and seeing the picture of your dog, tightly bound with electrical tape around the mouth and feet, and a headline that screamed animal abuse? This was the shock that hit Adams Esipu as he looked at heartrending photos of his pet, Nos, with a swollen muzzle and agonized look.
Only two days earlier, December 15, 2015 in Ontario, Canada, a couple named Adams Esipu and Jessica Hems entrusted their little Patterdale terrier to Michael Earl Hill. The couple didn’t want to see their pet go, but their newborn baby was allergic to it.
Devastated, they didn’t have much choice but to turn over the dog to the local humane society for proper care. They handed Nos and $65 to Hill, to take charge of surrendering the dog to the organization. Hill later informed them that everything worked out well.
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It turned out later that Hill didn’t surrender the dog to the organization at all. Instead, he bound the dog’s feet, neck and muzzle with electrical tape, and without pity, left him in a field along Walker Road to die. As Nos’s luck would have it, Dean Cresswell was out walking his dogs in that area on December 17.
What Cresswell saw was a pitiful sight of a tightly taped dog that was obviously in pain and was almost not breathing.
The Windsor-Essex County Humane Society responded immediately to the call from Cresswell. Immediate medical care was administered to reduce the dog’s swelling, normalize his breathing and address other pre-existing health issues. According to the humane society, the dog was in a bad way when he was found, and there was very little chance that he could have survived much longer.
A few more hours in that condition and the swelling would have rendered him totally unable to breathe. The community and the humane society called him Justice, a name that was most apt at the moment. As soon as Esipu read the news story, he got in touch with Hill and drove to the humane society.
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Hill first tried to come up with a story, but later admitted that, indeed, he did all those terrible things to Nos (now, Justice). Hill was promptly arrested for his wrongdoing.
Dog lovers were touched by Justice’s story and rallied behind him to help in paying for his care and to call for punishing his abuser. Cresswell posted photos of the dog as he was found, and gathered 65,000 names of people who petitioned that maximum punishment be meted out to the animal abuser. It didn’t take long for Justice to find justice.
Hill was eventually sentenced to two years in federal prison and three years of probation. He was also banned from owning any pet for 25 years. Hill’s blood sample was submitted to the national database to form part of the data base used for solving criminalities.
In her decision, the honorable Ontario Court Justice Micheline A. Rawlins said that serial killers and more serious offenders often begin with small helpless animals before they go for the bigger kill. For a pittance of $65, Hill will now be paying back two years of his life in federal prison. Probably a more poignant question was what Justice Rawlins posed when she asked: Is an animal’s life only worth $60?