Two Buffalo teens are facing felony charges for allegedly setting a Jack Russell Terrier puppy on fire last month on the city's east side. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us more about the case and how the dog, now known as Phoenix. is doing with his recovery.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "It's a very disturbing, despicable act," said Daniel Derenda, Buffalo's Police Commissioner.
Police believe they've arrested the two people responsible for the act that left this puppy, now named Phoenix, with severe burns on October 29th.
Adell Zeigler, 19 and Diondre Brown, 17, were arraigned Wednesday in Buffalo City Court and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals - a felony.
"Both made admissions to what they did. What they did say was that they hung the dog up about three feet in the air, they doused him with lighter fluid, and we're not sure which one set him on fire," said Derenda.
"He is simply not capable of it, he does not have that kind of hatred in his heart," said Robin Brown, Brown's grandmother.
She says her grandson told her he didn't do it, and it was Zeigler who burned the puppy.
"Adell wrote a statement against my grandson saying that he did it. My grandson, you know these kids and the 'I don't snitch," said Robin Brown.
She also says Zeigler is Brown's uncle, whom she describes as troubled.
"I mean, first time he came around, Diondre lost a pair of jeans. The second time it was his Playstation 3. Well, now it seems like he's trying to take his freedom too," said Robin Brown.
As for Phoenix, a doctor at the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital says he's improving daily - both physically and in spirit.
"He survived his first surgery of many to come. He had 60 percent of his ears amputated, some skin grafting has already been performed," said Dr. Rebecca Wagner.
Dr. Wagner says Phoenix is going to lose 20 percent of his skin, and his left hind leg might need to be amputated.
She expects he'll spend at least the next four to six weeks in foster care.
"When he doesn't need daily bandage changes and he doesn't need any more surgeries, he'll likely go up for adoption," said Dr. Wagner.
Meanwhile, Brown's bail was set at $20,000 and Zeigler was on parole so he is being held without bail.
Both are scheduled for a felony hearing on Monday.