NEW PORT RICHEY — Last Thursday, a young couple walked into the SPCA Suncoast animal shelter carrying a skinny black Labrador.
The 8-month-old dog weighed just 19 pounds, about half the size of a normal Lab at that age. The couple found him wandering the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart, abandoned by his owner.
Since then, the staff at SPCA Suncoast at 7734 Congress St. has nursed the dog and tried to bring it back to health. And they gave him a fitting name: Justice.
"We all felt that is appropriate, because we're trying to find justice for him," said Karen Scully, SPCA's medical care director.
Justice has gained 3 pounds in a week. But his skeleton remains visible through his hair, and his legs are very thin.
"It takes weeks, not months, to get to this condition," Scully said. "Someone definitely didn't do right by him."
Despite the hardship he faced, Justice still bounds with energy. "I was amazed that an animal as thin as he was had the spirit and the drive that he does," said Martha Murray, the center's executive director.
Justice will be ready to move soon into a foster home, where he will stay until he gains enough weight and strength to undergo neutering and be placed up for adoption.
The SPCA needs a volunteer to provide a foster home for Justice, and a new owner to give him a good home.
"He's going to make a great pet," Murray said.