Information for animal cruelty suspect nets $5,500 reward

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - If you heard about Riona the dog giving kisses and wagging her tail to the sound of her caretaker’s voice you’d never know she’s facing the battle of her life. The dog is recovering from being burned by a person police are still searching for.

The bandages are the evident sign Riona, who is believed to be around one year old, is recovering from a horrifying experience, but her snuggles and kisses remind us just how loving and trusting our four-legged friends can be.

“She still loves people. Loves everybody,” said Bluff City Vet Specialists Assistant Manager Kylie Hunter.

“I couldn’t imagine,” Bluff City Vet Specialists Manager Mallory Mclemore said. “I wouldn’t want anyone near me, but this is all she does she’s always looking for someone to come lay in her kennel.”

Riona’s caretakers at Bluff City Vet Specialists believe she was doused with gasoline and burned.

Memphis Animal Services and Memphis Police responded to the scene around Graham and Chelsea last week. Tails of Hope Rescue has taken on raising funds for her recovery, and a reward for information leading to an arrest in Riona’s case. That reward is now up to $5,500.

“It would be real nice to know who did this and why? I don’t know who would want to do this to an animal,” Hunter said.

Riona is suffering from fourth-degree burns on much of her left side.

“All of her little whiskers were burned off,” Mclemore commented.

Riona also has bad burns on her face and will likely lose some of her left ear.

With her wounds healing by the day, after a few weeks, doctors will know what burns will heal and which ones will need surgery. It’s not until she’s well on her way to recovery, several more months, that Riona would be up for adoption.

The focus is doing right by Riona and the whole community.

“If someone will do this to a dog there’s no telling what they’ll do [to humans],” Mclemore said.

Tails of Hope Rescue is continuing to raise funds for Riona’s recovery.

If you know anything about this incident call Crimestoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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