A man has been arrested for animal cruelty after allegedly setting a dog on fire and causing fourth-degree burns to more than half of its body.
The incident happened in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 20 at approximately 8:15 p.m. when the Memphis Police Department responded to an animal cruelty call and were told that a dog named “Queen” had been doused in a flame accelerant and intentionally set on fire causing the animal to become engulfed in flames, according to a statement on social media by the Memphis Police Department.
The dog was immediately taken to Bluff City Veterinary Specialists in Memphis where she began treatment on the fourth-degree burns that covered approximately 60% of her body.
“This sweet girl was doused in some type of fuel and set on fire,” Bluff City Veterinary Specialists said in a statement posted to social media on June 23. “We have been stabilizing her for her wounds. Thanks to Tails of Hope Dog Rescue for rescuing this sweet girl.”
The injured dog -- now renamed “Riona” -- has been in rehabilitation since the horrific incident and has also since become somewhat of an internet sensation through her recovery process after Tails of Hope Dog Rescue started a TikTok account for her called Justice4Riona.
In fact, the very first video posted of Riona on her road to recovery has been watched more than 6.1 million times and the account has over 1.3 million likes with almost 100,000 followers. Each video posted of Riona’s journey to recovery on her TikTok account consistently gets tens of thousands of views -- and sometimes even hundreds of thousands.
An online petition started by Animal Victory which aimed to “raise awareness about this abhorrent crime to help find the abuser and collect signatures to present to court officials when the person responsible is found and arrested” garnered nearly 23,000 signatures in less than a week.
“Things are being done to not only care for [Riona] and help in her long road to recovery but we are also making sure her story is spread and shared so awareness can be made not only to what happened to her but to the horrific abuse that goes on everyday all over to these poor animals,” Tails of Hope Dog Rescue said on social media on July 8.
While Riona has been busy in recovery, the Memphis Police Department has been busy investigating the crime and a break in the case finally arrived on Tuesday when a suspect, 43-year-old Quishon Brown, was arrested.
The break came when the Memphis Police Department received a call on Monday evening at approximately 8:26 p.m. from an individual who had reportedly been speaking to Brown.
“Officers were advised the male that was responsible for burning the dog was speaking to another individual and stated that he was going to burn down the house of whoever gave the video to the police and the news,” said the Memphis Police Department.
On Tuesday, the MPD said that Tillman Task Force officers arrested Brown and transported him to the Tillman General Investigation Bureau where he was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, arson and simple assault and transported to jail where he will now await prosecution.
Riona, meanwhile, is expected to survive and it will be up to Tails of Hope Dog Rescue what happens to her and where she goes after she fully recovers.