SELDEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A pit bull puppy that was rescued from an abusive home has now found a loving home with a disabled Marine.

Veteran Billy Ventura of Selden adopted the abused puppy, named Molly, as his service dog.

Molly was rescued from an abusive home in Huntingon after her former owner was seen on video smacking and kicking her last winter, according to the Suffolk County SPCA.

Ventura, 24, was on leave when he got injured. He was riding a motorcycle near his home in July 2013 when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, who is still at large. The crash left him paralyzed from the waist down.

As CBS2’s Kristine Johnson explained, animal advocates glowed as they handed over the 6-month-old pit bull to her new owner.

“We got a tip that a woman was abusing a dog and one of our licensed investigators went to the property and waited until she came outside,” Robert Misseri, Guardians of Rescue, said.

Misseri heads up a Long Island non-profit whose volunteers hunt down complaints of animal abuse. He gave the video to the local SPCA which sent its own investigators.

“Kicking the dog, slapping it, pulling the dog, it appears that when the dog was tired she would tug on it to go an kick it repeatedly,” Chief Roy Gross, Suffolk SPCA said.

An examination of Molly turned up no injuries, so investigators could not bring charges. The woman’s family agreed to turn Molly over so she could be trained as a service dog.

Ventura said when he and Molly met they bonded right away.

“She stopped, she sat by my feet and then she tried to jump and sit on my lap in the wheelchair, so from that point on I knew it was going to be great,” Ventura said. “She really is an amazing dog.”

Ventura’s father said Molly has already helped his son deal with flashbacks from the accident and war.

“He has his nightmares, he has his dreams, but it was an immediate connection,” Bill Ventura said.

Molly’s trainer said the biggest challenge was getting Molly comfortable with taking a walk again and getting her to give her new owner the support he needed.

“Be his best friend, be always there for him, and for when he has anxiety attacks,” Amanda Donald explained.

Everyone agreed it would be a new start for master and pup.

Because no charges were brought, authorities would not identify the woman seen pulling and dragging Molly on video.


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