Accused man admits to burning puppy

Apr 29, 2013

A Buffalo man accused in the brutal attack on a puppy last year has pleaded guilty as charged.

Adell Ziegler, 19, admitted to setting a Jack Russell Terrier puppy on fire in October of 2012. Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita says Ziegler pleaded to Aggravated Cruelty to Animals before Supreme Court Justice Russell Buscaglia Monday afternoon.

Phoenix recovered at the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital
Credit WBFO News file photo

"This is the highest charge for which he could have been convicted had he gone to trial," Sedita says. "Essentially, Mr. Zeigler admitted to dousing the puppy with lighter fluid and setting the puppy, named Phoenix, on fire."

Phoenix suffered burns over 50 percent of his body and continues a long recovery. A Facebook page for the dog says Phoenix, now ten months old, "continues to progress well."

Phoenix outside this past weekend
Credit Photo from Facebook/Buffalo Small Animal Hospital
Two teens pleaded guilty in puppy burning
Credit WBFO News file photo

"When somebody takes the effort to torture an animal, particularly a defenseless puppy, by pouring lighter fluid on it and lighting it on fire...let's face it, it's sadistic," Sedita said.

Sedita says even while in jail,  Ziegler boasted about the attack to family and friends. Ziegler's nephew, 17-year-old Diondre Brown, previously pleaded guilty to a similar charge for playing a role in the attack.

Ziegler faces a maximum prison term of two years. He will be sentenced June 14.