BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The teen who lit a puppy on fire in Buffalo will spent the next two years in prison for felony animal cruelty charges. He also cannot have a pet for seven years.
Adell Ziegler, 19, received the maximum sentence when he was sentenced Tuesday. Though attorneys were called back to court at 2 p.m. so the judge could receive letters from the community about the case, the judge declined to make any changes to Ziegler's sentence.
"I don't think this guy should have a pet rock," said Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita. "He's an off-the-charts animal abuser. He's a sociopath."
The prosecution says since Ziegler has been in jail, he has been heard in phone calls bragging about the crime. The prosecution claims Ziegler says the case made him famous, and he wears a badge of honor.
Ziegler disputes the claims, and says he doesn't think it is a good thing he is famous. He told the judge that people just know him as the person who set the Jack Russell Terrier puppy, now named Phoenix, on fire.
Ziegler apologized in court Tuesday and said he never meant for this to happen, he thought it was a joke at the time. He told the judge, "I could've stopped it that day, and should've, but I never knew it would go that far."
His defense attorneys painted him as a child that has been in and out of foster homes and never had a stable family.
Ziegler's attorney Ann Nichols said, "While there were hundreds of people from across the country who wanted to adopt Phoenix and were vying for his adoption, there were zero people to adopt my client when he was a fatherless, motherless child from a broken home plagued with drug abuse and alcohol abuse."
"Mr. Ziegler...I should be kind here...is a very troubled person. To douse a dog with lighter fluid and set it on fire for their jollies, there's a serious computer chip missing there," Sedita said.
Diondre Brown admitted helping Ziegler commit the crime last October. He was sentenced to six months in jail because prosecutors believe Ziegler orchestrated the burning.
Ziegler is already serving one year in prison for violating probation. He'll begin serving his two year sentence for animal cruelty in October.
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