Tragedy struck Wayne, Illinois resident Joe Petit when his dog Ludwig was shot to death by his neighbor this summer. His other dog, Philotimo, a member of Ludwig’s litter, also mourned the dog’s loss.
After Ludwig’s death, Petit’s girlfriend Julie Kelsey-Fish contacted a breeder in New York. The breeder hand-delivered a litter of Dogo Argentino puppies, the same breed as Ludwig, for Petit to choose from.
“I got to pick my puppy,” Petit said. “I picked the one with the red collar – like Ludwig had.”
The new puppy goes by “Justice,” something that will always be a reminder of what Ludwig deserved. According to Petit, Philotimo has been getting along well with the pup.
“At first, he was kind of nervous about her, but now (has) accepted her as his sister. He loves her.”
As for himself, Petit admitted he loves his new puppy, but that he’s still heavily grieving Ludwig’s death.
“I think of Ludwig every day.”
A Neighbors’ Feud Gone Too Far?
Ludwig’s death, which occurred in August 2021, has been shrouded in mystery and controversy. It’s pretty clear that Petit’s neighbor, Hal Phipps, shot the dog. The “why” is what’s debated.
According to the Kane County Sheriff’s Department, security video shows the two dogs and their sitter outside Petit’s home. Authorities say one shot was fired when the dogs reached the nearby river, but Petit insists Phipps shot several times.
Phipps’ wife, Eileen Phipps, who also happens to be the Wayne Village President, defended her husband’s actions as fear-based. She insisted issues with her family and Petit’s dogs were ongoing and that one had attacked her husband in June.
“[Hal is] 68 years old, he’s convalescing… He isn’t going to outrun the dogs,” Eileen said. “[Hal] defended himself. He was in fear for his life.”
The sitter, however, claims she didn’t even see Phipps prior to the shooting and that the dogs never threatened or attacked him. Petit, who was working in his home office during the gunfire, immediately ran out. He rushed Ludwig to the vet, but it was too late.
Petit, who has no human children of his own, felt hurt and outraged that his dog’s death wasn’t met with harsher consequences. In fact, no charges were filed.
“I want justice for my family member — the love of my life. He’s the closest thing I had to a son.”
The “Justice For Ludwig” Movement
A Facebook group, “Justice For Ludwig,” aims to share the dog’s story and fight the law’s decision not to prosecute. Supportive neighbors and dog lovers also contributed to legal funds and the cost of printing signs and shirts.
“The precedent that this ruling sets for all dog-owning and dog-loving people is terrifying and just plain unacceptable,” a post in the group states.
As for Justice the puppy, she fits right in with her new home and family. Still, Ludwig’s death will always weigh heavy on Petit’s heart.
“He is an irreplaceable member of my family. I will never heal from this,” he said.
Over 5,400 members have joined the “Justice For Ludwig” group.