Petition seeks justice for Violet the dog, who nearly died from burns caused by hair dye

Violet, a five-pound Maltese mix is now safe and in a new home, but more than 100,000 people would like to see whoever did this to her be held accountable.

Violet, pictured here, suffered from severe chemical burns and swelling after someone dyed her fur purple. Animal welfare advocates say they would like to see whoever did get caught and prosecuted. - Pinellas County Animal Services
Pinellas County Animal Services
Violet, pictured here, suffered from severe chemical burns and swelling after someone dyed her fur purple. Animal welfare advocates say they would like to see whoever did get caught and prosecuted.

No one knew her name, or who did it to her.

An unknown Good Samaritan had found the tiny dog, her normally-white fur dyed a vivid amethyst, wandering around the streets of St. Pete in pain, her eyes virtually swollen shut, and brought her to an emergency vet clinic. Pinellas County Animal Services took her in, named her Violet and began to treat the chemical burns that covered her body.

The burns were from the hair dye — an innocuous topical substance for one species can be toxic to another — and animal services staff wasn't sure she'd make it through the night.

She did, although her condition was much worse than they'd initially thought and it took months of intensive treatment. She finally went home with her new dad last week.

While Violet came out all right in the end, some people are left wondering: who the hell would do this to a dog?

A Care2 petition demanding justice for Violet has been gaining tens of thousands of signatures in the wake of Violet's story going viral.

The petition, which now has more than 111,000 of its 120,000-signature goal, calls on Pinellas County law enforcement to take the case seriously and look for the culprit.

Violet's case caught the petition website staff's eye, both as an egregious case of animal cruelty and as an opportunity to educate the public about how some substances that are safe for humans can be deadly to animals.

“The photos are so shocking," Rebecca Gerber, director of advocacy at Care2, told CL. “It's really important to make an example of people who hurt animals like this so that other folks know that they can't treat dogs like this, they can't treat their pets like this.”

Officials with Pinellas County Animal Services have been studying the case. They would like to see the state attorney's office prosecute the case as animal cruelty, but the problem is, they don't have any idea who might have done it.

“We have a case built but we don't know who did this to her. “We don't have any leads at this point,” said Pinellas County Animal Services Director Doug Brightwell. “We would love to prosecute, because it's completely wrong, what they did to her.”

Brightwell said he encourages anyone with potential information about the case contact animal services by calling (727) 582-2600 or emailing them here.

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