Buddy was a friendly stray dog who lived on the streets in Mississippi. At least, until the day a 12-year-old boy strangled the lab mix with an extension cord and proceeded to set him on fire.
Thankfully, somebody found the dazed and wounded dog and rushed him to the animal hospital, where the pup received emergency care. This included multiple skin grafts made from North Atlantic cod skin to soothe and repair Buddy’s badly burned face.
But Buddy isn’t holding a grudge against his young attacker, or humans in general, based on the loving way he treats everyone he meets. This includes Buddy’s doctors at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University and shelter workers at Tunica Humane Society, which has already received dozens of adoption applications from folks eager to give this long-suffering stray his own home.
“He’s a loving, forgiving dog,” shelter director Sandy Williams told the Clarion-Ledger. “I don’t know how he’s come through this and kept his tender heart, but he has. He’s going to make somebody an exceptional dog.”
But many people aren’t as forgiving as Buddy, especially after learning the dog’s 12-year-old attacker will evade any sort of punishment for this heinous crime under Mississippi law.
“We are just as frustrated as anyone that more cannot be done through the justice system regarding the juvenile in this case,” Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance told the Mississippi newspaper. “I have had people railing that I should ‘do the right thing’ and ‘do your job’ — Whether they believe it’s the right thing or not, I am bound to follow the laws of our state.”
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This injustice has fueled a Chang.org petition called Justice for Buddy, which had already garnered more than 141,000 signatures at time of writing.
“There must be consequences for anyone who does this to a helpless animal,” the petition reads in part, noting that allowing such a heinous act to go unpunished will only embolden Buddy’s young attacker to commit future violence.
“To allow this act to go unpunished is like saying that it’s ok to keep doing this- as the child surely will again and further down the road, perhaps torture other animals or children,” it reads.
Fortunately, Buddy will make a full recovery, although the injured pup still has a long road to recovery ahead. Even so, the rescued dog is making great progress, according to Dr. Elizabeth Swanson, who is part of Buddy’s medical team.
“The healing is really exceeding our expectations, so we’re really pleased with that,” Swanson told the Clarion-Ledger, explaining how Buddy — who always makes time to cuddle with caretakers — has recently begun venturing outside. “He’s very beloved here, he’s in all of our hearts,” Dr. Swanson said. “He’s really one special dog.”
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