Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17031
Classification: Burning - Fire or Fireworks
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Monday, Dec 6, 2010

Disposition: Open

Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!

A 3-year-old, 56kg dog has been burned to death by an arsonist who doused its pen with petrol and set it on fire.

"I just can't comprehend the thought of it. I just can't believe that someone would be that cruel to an animal," said the dog's owner, Ryan Brunton.

"Right now I'm just full of blatant anger."

Mr Brunton, who lives near Tauranga, had just walked and fed the friendly dogue de Bordeaux, named Atlas, before leaving him in his pen and going to the shops.

Only 15 minutes later, he got a call that the pen was burning.

"I got back and the whole place was an inferno. It was up and running with fire," he said. "Burned alive. There's no worse death than that."

Firefighters told Mr Brunton an accelerant such as petrol had been used and they were treating it as arson.

Police want anyone who saw anything suspicious on Monday evening near Carmichael Rd to contact the Tauranga police station.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that someone would throw in petrol and burn my dog. He was like my baby," Mr Brunton said.

"He's never done harm to anyone. He's just so friendly. It was done on purpose. That's all there is to it."

Atlas had been a family member to him and his partner, Mr Brunton said.

"I bathed him, I cleaned his ears out, I brushed his teeth, I took care of him like he was my own son. He used to kiss me and cuddle me, everything.

"We're hoping somebody comes forward [with information]. He's a bloody beautiful dog. Not many people know about the breed but he was just a loving dog."

Mr Brunton had to keep Atlas in a pen because he was so big he could jump fences.

After the fire, Mr Brunton could not immediately see Atlas' body in the burned remains of the pen, and he and his partner called out hoping the dog had escaped.

But they soon found Atlas under a piece of corrugated iron.

"It's inhumane what they did and I just want to get my point across that there needs to be some kind of law put in place for these bloody a***holes," Mr Brunton said.

"I don't think anyone's done enough to get these people. People are going to keep on doing it unless there are harsher penalties. People need to be made an example of. I don't want this to happen to anybody else."

Lawmakers needed to step up, he said. "I would love people to stand up and come together and oppose cruelty to animals."

There have been reports of children seen running from the scene, but Mr Brunton said that at this stage he was not aware of any leads.

If you have information on this case, please contact:
0800 555 111


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