SPCA: Starving Puppy Rescued From Long Island Man That Set Another Dog Afire

A starving puppy has been rescued from an unventilated shed by the home of a man accused setting another dog afire, animal-welfare authorities said.

The 6-month old female pit bull puppy, named Red, was recovering at an animal hospital and will be put up for adoption, Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officials said Thursday.

Although almost too weak to stand, the puppy "wants to climb in your lap," said SPCA Detective Regina Galoppi.

The puppy was found Tuesday locked in a shed next to Derick Phanord's house in Brentwood. Phanord has been accused of tying another pit bull to a tree in his neighborhood, dousing the dog with gasoline and setting the animal ablaze. That dog, a male, died last week after three surgeries.

Phanord, 22, has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated animal cruelty and criminal possession of a weapon, which police said was a bludgeon. Police said Phanord told them the dog had been aggressive toward his family and another dog.

The case has spurred hundreds of e-mails and letters to the SPCA from as far as Australia, SPCA Chief Roy Gross said.

After Phanord's arrest, Suffolk County authorities announced a plan to assign police detectives to work on animal-cruelty cases with SPCA peace officers.