Man arrested for setting his dog Riona on fire, Memphis police say

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Almost a month after the discovery of the inhabitants of Nutbush Riona, a 1 year old pitbull mixRunning down the street engulfed in flames, the Memphis Police Department arrested a man they believe set the dog on fire.

The Tillman Task Force arrested 43-year-old Quishon Brown on Tuesday after Memphis police received a call Monday night from a witness saying Brown commented, “Whoever gave the surveillance video to the news and police will see his houses burnt down,” the affidavit said.

Court documents show Riona, also known as Mona, ‘had been in his custody’ for a year and Brown told police he was outside before the incident and there was a can of gasoline in his garden.

Riona, a one-year-old dog, is recovering from her injuries at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, after being strangled, doused with fuel and set on fire.  The non-profit organization Tails of Hope Dog Rescue is raising money through a social media campaign to pay for his treatment.

Police charged Brown with assault and two felonies: aggravated animal cruelty and setting fire to personal property.

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Ginger Natoli, founder of Tails of Hope Dog Rescueand Mallory Mclemore, director of Bluff City Vet Specialistswere both happy to have Brown in custody but they have the same question for him: why?

“If you didn’t want your dog to let go of her, let go of her if you have to, take her to a shelter, give her to someone else, there was no reason to,” said Natoli. “I just want to ask why. Why ?

On June 22, residents of Nutbush rushed Riona to Memphis Animal Services after sustaining burns to most of her body, and Tails of Hope, a nonprofit helping dogs find foster families, took charge of his case.

The pitbull mix was then transferred to veterinary specialists in Bluff City for treatment. After about 21 days, Riona is on the mend, cuddling piles of toys surrounded by “get better soon” cards from around the world.

Mallory Mclemore pets Riona, a year-old dog, as Riona continues to recover from her injuries at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, after being strangled, doused with fuel and set on fire.  The non-profit organization Tails of Hope Dog Rescue is raising money through a social media campaign to pay for his treatment.

Mclemore will take in Riona once the pup can be discharged from the hospital. His first of many surgeries for skin grafts, Skin Transplantation, begins Thursday.

“I’m glad someone is paying for what happened,” Mclemore said. “(Brown’s sentence) probably won’t be as long as it should be with all that she’s been through, but I’m at least glad, for now, that he’s off the streets. .”

Mclemore and Natoli said Riona’s road to recovery could take more than three months, but her tail is still wagging and she is enjoying the adoration.

Riona, a one-year-old dog, is recovering from her injuries at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, after being strangled, doused with fuel and set on fire.  The non-profit organization Tails of Hope Dog Rescue is raising money through a social media campaign to pay for his treatment.

“Despite (Brown’s) best efforts, she is doing very well,” Mclemore said.

Natoli hopes Riona’s global attention will shine a light on animal abuse and help more pets in cruel conditions.

“It’s more common than you might think,” Natoli said. “People have to talk, if you see something happening you have to talk because they (animals) can’t.”

Brown’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday via video, according to court documents.

Niki Scheinberg, Commercial Appeal News Intern, contributed to this report.

Dima Amro covers the suburbs for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmroDima.

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