Authorities Investigate Animal Cruelty Case That Left Puppy

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BROWNSVILLE – The Cameron County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a case of animal cruelty, where a puppy was severely burned.

Sheriff Omar Lucio said it's an animal cruelty case with serious consequences.

On Thursday, the puppy was heavily sedated and tightly wrapped in medical gauze, as he recovered at Arroyo Veterinary Hospital.

Phoenix, as animal rescuers named him, was discovered Wednesday night at a dog park in Brownsville.

Dr. Shelly Mitchell said Phoenix is burned on about 25 percent of his body. Those injuries go from the top of his head to his mid-back, she added.

"He had evidence of infection already. So, I don't think this is something that happened today or last night," Dr. Mitchell said. "It had been there for a day or two at the very least and he was in quite a bit of pain."

Dr. Mitchell said the biggest risk to the pup is infection. It'll take about a month before his wounds heal.

It's unclear how the dog was burned, but the extent of the injuries points to more than an accident.

"I would suspect that if a dog is starting to get burned say, (something) accidentally spilled, then the dog would take off running," Dr. Mitchell said, "so we would not have as large of an area covered."

Lucio said his investigators are looking into this as an animal cruelty case, which is a third degree felony.

"My understanding is that one or two people may have been involved," Lucio said. "It's not a misdemeanor, you'll go to jail – to state – for 2 to 10 years and you can be fined up to $10,000."

Investigators are following strong leads, he added, and are close to making an arrest.


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