Thursday, October 19, 2000

Boy arrested in case of abused puppy

Labrador mix was burned, tortured

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — After nearly two months of investigation, city police have arrested a boy suspected of torturing a puppy that has become the fire department's mascot.

        The 11-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday and charged with cruelty to animals, Officer Don Taylor, Hamilton police spokesman, said Wednesday.

        The boy was released to his parents, Officer Taylor said, and faces a Nov. 1 hearing in Butler County Juvenile Court.

        “For some, this may not appear to be a heinous crime, but we take these matters very seriously,” said Police Chief Neil Ferdelman. He commended Sgt. Jim Malone and Detective Ed Petrak with cracking the case, but police did not say what led to the arrest.

        The puppy, named Phoenix after a recent countywide contest, was injured Aug. 26. Two women took the puppy to the Hal Shepherd fire headquarters and said they had rescued him from a group of boys who were torturing the animal.

        Police questioned one other youth in the case, but more arrests were not expected, Officer Taylor said.

        The puppy's rescuers said the charcoal-colored animal, who was only a few weeks old at the time, had been set on fire and was burned with hot water.

        Firefighters treated the puppy for burns on his feet and tail; he also suffered broken teeth during the attack.

        Firefighters were smitten with the puppy and, with permission from Fire Chief Lyle Moore, decided to keep him as they nursed his injuries. He became the department's first mascot.

        Veterinarian Larry Baum treated the 7-pound puppy, a Labrador retriever and chow mix, free of charge.


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