DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Darius Ewing is appearing at the Frank Crowley Courthouse in Dallas on Thursday morning. The 18-year-old Dallas man is accused of hanging and burning a puppy named Justice. The dog died from his injuries. Ewing turned himself in to police, and is now asking for his bond to be reduced. However, animal rights activists -- and others worldwide who are passionate about this story -- are rallying to see justice for Justice.
The incident happened at the Lake June Village apartment complex in the Pleasant Grove neighborhood of Dallas. Witnesses said that the suspects poured charcoal lighter fluid on the 4-month-old male pup and lit him on fire. Justice showed progress in his healing, but ultimately did not recover from the injuries. He died last month.
The animal advocate group DFW Rescue Me cared for the puppy until his death, and held a vigil for Justice after he passed. Activists will also rally outside of the courthouse on Thursday both before and after Ewing's hearing. The teen is charged with cruelty to a non-livestock animal, which is a felony in Texas. "It's a societal issue," said Jim Wenger with DFW Rescue Me. "If they start abusing animals, they'll move on to people. This could've been a kid. There's no telling what they're capable of doing. If they're capable of hurting an innocent animal, they can do anything."
If convicted, Ewing faces between two and 10 years in jail.
This particular case of animal cruelty has touched the hearts of people all around the world, as shown by a dedicated Facebook page. Supporters in the Metroplex have been joined by animal lovers from across the nation and other countries, all going online to discuss the case.
"I will be there with you in mind and spirit," wrote Larry Hutchison from Peoria, Illinois.
"I think of Justice every day," added Susan Ann Hughes from London. "I wish I could be there."
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