Neighbors leap into action to save dog set on fire in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department is in search of the person who set a dog on fire.

Fast-acting Good Samaritans jumped into action to rescue the animal. The dog was seen in the Nutbush community, near Chelsea and Graham, when neighbors saw what appeared to be a ball of fire rolling on the ground, but it was a dog in agonizing pain.

“So I come bolting outside and I see this dog in flames; all you see is a big flame,” said Ashlie Craft.

Neighbors in that community said they couldn’t believe their eyes when they stepped outside Monday night. FOX13 obtained exclusive surveillance video, most of which was too disturbing to show on-air.

“It was the worst sight, probably, you really seen in your life,” Craft said.

Craft said she was inside her home when around 8 p.m. the horrific ordeal happened. She and her neighbors immediately jumped into action. The surveillance video showed neighbors racing to the dog’s safety, one with a water hose, and Ashlie with a tray of water she gathered from her pool.

“My pool had water in it at the time, and what I did, I just grabbed the bucket, filled it up with water and ran over there,” she said.

The dog was named Riona when she was taken in by Tails of Hope Dog Rescue. She’s now being fostered by Bluff City Veterinary Specialists who believe the dog’s burns were intentional.

“Somebody set this dog on fire. Someone purposely set this dog on fire,” said Kylie Hunter, a Vet Technician at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists. “How is a dog just going to douse itself, and that’s when we were obviously devastated.”

The Bluff City staff told FOX13 that Riona suffered fourth-degree burns to her face and left side, and first to second-degree burns on other parts of her body.

“All we smelled was gas; some type of fuel was definitely dumped all over her,” said Mallory McLemore, manager and Vet Technician at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists. “Nobody seems to know anything. Nobody had ever seen her before, but somebody has to know something,” said McLemore.

The medical staff said Riona suffered burns on over 60 percent of her body. The staff rebandages her twice a day, expecting anywhere from one to two months for a full recovery.

“I just don’t understand how someone would want to do that to someone who can’t defend themselves,” said one staff member.

Tails of Hope is offering a $,2500 reward in the case. They are also raising money on their Facebook page to help Riona recover. Police told FOX13 that no suspect has been identified in the crime. This is an ongoing investigation.