Men charged with setting puppy on fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Men charged with setting puppy on fire

Two young men are charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty for dousing a three-month-old puppy with gasoline and setting her on fire.

The young German Shepherd mix was playing on Kilarney Street in Whitehaven when Tristan Hathaway and Vincent Boykin set her on fire.

The puppy survived the flames and is now under the care of veterinarians at Memphis Animal Services. She suffered burns to her face, back and all four legs, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Neighbor Jerrica Agnew says she saw Boykin hold the dog while Hathaway set her on fire using a lighter.

Agnew said she smelled gasoline as she tried to saved the animal's life. "His whole body just lit up in flames."

Agnew said the puppy rolled in the dirt in an attempt to quench the flames.

"It was crying...doing what dogs do when hurt...hollering," said Agnew. "I didn't want to touch it, I knew it's skin was so..."

But Jimella Ruffin says her son Vincent Boykin denies setting the puppy on fire. "Said the dog playing with them, chasing them, and the other young man set the dog on fire."

Ruffin says she knows her son, and despite previously trouble with the law, she claims he'd never do something so cruel. "Doing something like this to a dog, that's not him. My son has always loved dogs."

Boykin told his mother he never touched the dog. "He said 'Momma, that was a nasty stray dog, look like he had mites,'" said Ruffin. "He said 'I wouldn't have picked that dog up.'"

Under a relatively new law, Hathaway and Boykin are charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals, which carries a sentence of one to two years.


Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.

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