Puppy Set on Fire Inspires New Law in New York

A puppy who narrowly survived a horrific ordeal after being intentionally set on fire this fall has inspired a lawmaker to take steps to improve animal cruelty laws in New York.

In October, a 5-month-old Jack Russell terrier puppy was hung from a tree, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire by two Buffalo teenagers, Diondre Brown, 17, and Adam Zeigler, 19, who have since been charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals for the crime.

Firefighters responded to the call about the incident and the puppy, now known as Phoenix, was taken to the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital where he arrived with third-degree burns covering his entire body. Vets performed skin grafts on his neck and arm pits, removed dead tissue from his ears and worked to save his hind leg, reports Buffalo News.

Phoenix’s story sparked outrage from the public and offers to help pay for his treatment and to adopt him from thousands of people.

“The public wants to see something done, and New York’s law is just antiquated. We haven’t updated it and we fell behind,” Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D-144) told WBKW.

Last week, Ryan announced that he will be sponsoring Phoenix’s Law, which he plans to introduce in January. This legislation will double prison terms for animal abusers from two to four years and raise fines from $5,000 to $10,000. The legislation also includes a mandatory psychiatric evaluation and treatment for anyone convicted of cruelty to animals.

“Laws like this are proven to be a deterrent, and that why the national animal groups are focusing on this. They rank New York so low because the current law lacks any deterrence,” said Ryan, who also pointed out the link between animal abuse and how it can escalate to other acts of violence.

The state was ranked 38th on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s list of best and worst states for animal protection laws, with Illinois having the toughest and Kentucky the weakest.

Erie County Legislator Terrence D. McCracken also plans to reintroduce legislation to create an animal abuse registry, which would allow people to check for convictions online and prevent offenders from owning an animal for up to five years.

Meanwhile, Phoenix continues to make what his caregivers are calling an “extraordinary” recovery, while he gets the love and attention he deserves.

“Phoenix still has quite a few weeks of healing to go, but we’re very pleased. His ears are healed – they’re totally functional, and he can hear and move them,” said Judi Bunge, a licensed veterinary technician at the shelter who also cares for Phoenix at her home after hours. “His leg is looking better than we could have hoped, and it’s looking like he definitely will be able to keep it.”

 

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

497 comments

Patrick BENARD

Just remember those two names: Diondre Brown and Adam Zeigler! They must be recognized wherever they show their ugly faces from now on!

Wendy Kim
Wendy Kim3 years ago

Can't believe it... why would someone do that?

Alicia Guevara
Alicia Guevara3 years ago

Hope Diondre Brown, and Adam Zeigler, pay for their crime! Hope law is approved. Hope Phoenix can make it. Tks to all that are helping baby! Psicos like these two start with animals and then go to people. They are dangerous to us too. Tks for sharing.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright3 years ago

I've been reading so many stories about animals being set on fire and I'm having a really hard time reading these stories and trying to understand how and why someone can do this. I don't sleep well anymore knowing this is going on and trying to cope with the images and knowledge of what level of pain and suffering all these animals endure at the hands of evil humans.

Some people just don't deserve to live and breath........

Carol Cook
Carol Cook3 years ago

poor little thing. Animal creulty laws need to be stronger and enforced

Colleen W.
Colleen W.3 years ago

Is there an update on the puppy's condition, please? Have those 2 bastards been shot yet?

TRUDY N.
TRUDY NICKOLS3 years ago

THIS IS AWFUL THAT THEY DID TO THIS POOR DOG, HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF SOMEONE HUNG THEM IN A TREE AND SET THEM ON FIRE? THEY SHOULD BE PUT IN JAIL FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES,AND NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY

Fiona T.
Fi T.3 years ago

What a sad story to the move

scarlett g.
scarlett g.3 years ago

LAWS must be harsher and enforced so offenders get the message!!