BUFFALO, NY-- Two Buffalo teenagers accused of setting fire to a puppy last month, were arraigned in Buffalo City Court Wednesday morning.
The two teenagers, Diondre Brown, 17, and Adell Zeigler, 19, both of Buffalo, are charged as adults.
Each faces one count of felony aggravated cruelty to animals.
Police say the pair admitted to hanging the dog three feet off the ground, dousing it with lighter fluid, and setting it on fire.
The puppy, whose name is Phoenix, is currently at the Buffalo Animal Shelter recovering.
At a news conference Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda thanked the community for calling in tips which led officers to the pair.
Derenda called the crime "despicable." He would not comment on a possible motive. The teens apparently knew the dog's owner, and he has been located. Derenda wouldn't comment any further on the owner.
In court, prosecutors called Brown an "extremely violent member of the community." He is being held on $20,000 bond.
Derenda said both teens have criminal histories. Zeigler was out on parole following a robbery conviction. He was remanded to the Erie County Holding Center.
Brown's grandmother, Robin Brown, told reporters that her grandson denied harming the animal. She said he loves dogs. "My grandson brings stray animals home. He is still mad at me because I had to give his dog away in 2011 because we were moving in a place that didn't allow dogs. He still tells me, 'grandma, I wish you didn't give my dog away', why you give our dog away."
Brown witnessed a quadruple homicide in April 2005 on Koons Avenue in Buffalo. One of the victims was his mother, Tonisha Brown. "He needs help," his grandmother said about his mental health. She claims he has post-traumatic stress and other issues from witnessing the homicides as a young child.
Robin Brown said that Adell is the uncle of Diondre.
"My grandson didn't do it. His uncle did. The only thing I know is that where Adell is there is trouble. My grandson met him at a home for troubled youth back in 2006 and every time Adell has come around, something has come up missing. The first time it was a pair of jeans, then a PlayStation and now he is trying to take away his freedom," Brown said.