Puppy Abuse So Heinous Two Attorneys Refused to Represent the Defendant

Justin Reilly Belton, 44, of Baytown, is in the Harris County Jail charged with four counts of felony animal cruelty after police say he dismembered six puppies in his home on Post Oak Drive.

The animal abuse allegations against Belton were so vile that two defense lawyers passed on representing him.

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John Donnelly, public affairs officer for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas, told Law & Crime that according to a prosecutor, two private attorneys on the on-call list declined to take the case on Tuesday due to the nature of the charges. The court had to reschedule the arraignment for Wednesday.

Court documents show that Belton brought six puppies to an animal hospital, and the vet found four young canines missing limbs and tails.

Justin Reilly Belton

Authorities could not determine what instrument Belton used, but the vet described these as clean cuts. The crime took place on or about Saturday, they said.

“[Belton] changed the story multiple times attempting to explain what happened to the animals,” authorities said.

The vet said that one of the puppies had to be euthanized, documents stated. The others were critically injured.

When police executed a search warrant at his home on Post Oak Drive, records state they found a dead female dog, believed to be the puppies’ mother, and several other dogs in “unsanitary and confined condition.”

According to Harris County Appraisal District records, Belton owns the home. ABC13 went to his house, where a gate restricts access to the front door, and a sign next to the search warrant declares the home unlivable.

One of Belton’s neighbors told investigators he had around 12 animals, and they’d heard cries around 3 a.m. and saw Belton walking outside and swearing.

One neighbor was surprised by the allegations, and a few others declined interviews, fearing retaliation.

“Neighbor also alleged that [the defendant] has caused death to other animals,” police said. “LEO knows [Belton] to be a heavy meth user.”

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Belton had a harassment charge dismissed in 2016 and received deferred adjudication on a felony stalking charge in 2012.

Belton remains in the Harris County Jail on a $48,000 bond, $12,000 for each of four counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals.

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