Two Buffalo teenagers suspected of setting a Jack Russell terrier ablaze last month were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon and likely will face felony animal-cruelty charges as early as this morning, Buffalo police said.
The suspects, ages 17 and 19, were not identified and had not yet been charged Tuesday night. They were arrested by detectives from the Ferry-Fillmore District, thanks to tips from the East Side community where the 16-month-old terrier, who has since been named Phoenix, was found burning.
The severely burned dog is recuperating in the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital.
Police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said at a Tuesday night news conference outside Police Headquarters that “a tip over the weekend led to the case going into high gear” and resulted in Tuesday’s arrests.
Both suspects have prior involvement in the criminal-justice system, police said.
“Buffalo police have two individuals in custody, and charges are being finalized,” DeGeorge said.
“This weekend, the case really picked up steam,” he added, thanks to tips from the public, which has become emotionally involved in the case since the puppy was found Oct. 29 in a yard on Herman Street.
There was no update on whether the dog might be adopted, but DeGeorge said Phoenix’s condition was “somewhat improved.”
DeGeorge declined to comment when asked about a possible motive for the burning of the dog, but he confirmed that the suspects in custody knew the dog.
Veterinarians have performed skin grafting on the puppy’s neck and arm pits and taken dead tissue off its ears. They are also working to save the puppy’s left hind leg.