BUFFALO, N.Y. -- His name is Phoenix, and vets at the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital are hoping the gentle Jack Russell Terrier will live up to his namesake.
''Phoenix is doing very well,” said Dr. Miguel Diaz. “He's healing and progressing as we expected. Slowly his burn wounds are healing and he's made a lot of progress.”
Dr. Diaz and the staff at the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital are doing everything they can to make sure Phoenix beats the odds. Nearly 2 weeks ago, Phoenix was found by firefighters on Herman Street after he was set on fire. Officials believe someone may have used an accelerant to set the puppy on fire. Phoenix suffered third degree burns on his entire body. There was also concern Phoenix suffered some respiratory damage.
"He's made a lot of progress and his spirits very high,” said Dr. Diaz. “He seems to be very happy but prognosis-wise, we still battle with the skin especially his left hind leg is of a lot of concern."
While Diaz and his staff are monitoring Phoenix's recovery, some people are calling for changes in the state's animal cruelty laws. An online petition at petitionsite.com is calling for a second animal cruelty offense within five years, which is currently a misdemeanor, to be prosecuted as a felony. State Senator Mark Grisanti is also calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that would create a state registry of criminals convicted of abusing animals.
"Any petition and law that protects our animals and is directed to control this from happening is always good," said Dr. Diaz.
Diaz say he hopes Phoenix's case also calls attention to the need to adopt animals in need of a good home. Meanwhile, he believes the loving puppy who suffered so much will one day lead a normal life.
“He's moving around more, playing and barking a little bit more every day. He's definitely a fighter," said Dr. Diaz.