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For the Love of the Dog

More on Phanord, Man Who Confessed to Setting Maximus on Fire

Derick PhanordMeet Derick Phanord, 22, of 156 Cocoanut St. in Brentwood, arrested Monday and self confessed to tying his dog, Spike, later named Maximus, to a tree, dousing the dog with gasoline and setting him on fire. And sadly, despite heroic efforts, Maximus succumbed to his grievous injuries and died.

Wanting to get rid of his “vicious” dog, Derick Phanord led the pit bull mix up a wooded path about a block from his home, a plastic jug of gas in hand.

After tying Spike to a tree, “I poured the gasoline … on to the dog. Then I said a prayer for the dog, made the sign of the crucifix,” Phanord said, according to a written statement he made to police.

“I took the cigarette I was smoking and lit the gas that puddled on the ground. The gas caught on fire and the dog also caught on fire. I turned my back and walked away.”

This is what he confesses to, claiming as an excuse that the dog threatened his pregnant sister, tried to attack him and bit his pit bull puppy, Red.

In his confession, Phanord said his family demanded he get rid of Spike.

On the day of the burning, Phanord describes how Spike — later named Maximus by a vet who tried to save his life — “locked up” on the head of his pit bull puppy Red, tearing the dog’s eyelid. Phanord said he threw bleach and detergent on Spike and banged on the ground with a shovel in an attempt to make him let go of Red, according to his statement.

Later that day, Phanord torched Spike and left him to die, police said.

And after his confession he goes into court yesterday and proceeds to plead, ‘Not Guilty’!?!?

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip to aggravated cruelty to an animal and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Phanord, who was held on $50,000 cash bail or bond, faces up to two years in prison on the felony cruelty charge.

I hope the judge and jury looks closely at the pictures of this poor dog, of what Phanord did to him and gives Phanord the same mercy he gave the dog when sentencing him!

MaximusThe 2-year-old dog was discovered, still tied to the tree, on July 12 by a child who called 911. The dog suffered burns over 60 percent of his body and underwent several surgeries before dying on July 17.

Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said that in addition to burns, the dog had a broken palate. Officials are unsure how much time passed before the dog was found, but it could have been as long as two days. “I’ve been doing this since 1984,” Gross said. “This is one that will stick in my mind forever.”Red

SPCA officials took Red from Phanord’s home Tuesday, citing the dog’s untreated eye injury, and plan to put the puppy up for adoption. (Newsday)

This case has angered so many people and will change the way animal cruelty is handled in Suffolk County! It’s a sad legacy the Maximus leaves behind but if his cruel and horrendous death can finally make people see that we need to get tougher on these vile excuses for human beings that abuse innocent animals, then at least we can say that Maximus did not die in vain!!

Horrified by the death of a dog doused with gasoline and set on fire, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy Tuesday announced the assignment of a detective in each precinct squad to oversee animal cruelty cases.

“From my perspective, it’s not enough just to have punishment in this case,” Levy said in describing the untraditional move.

The detective will work as a “point person” with Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals peace officers as part of a three-point plan that also includes a permanent reward fund for information on animal neglect and lobbying for stiffer criminal sentences.

“That is an innovative program,” said Dale Bartlett, deputy manager of animal cruelty issues for the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C. “In most jurisdictions it’s hard to get the police involved and most are handled through the animal control bureau.”

Across the nation, it is common to have animal control agencies staffed with peace officers, Bartlett said. These officers have the authority to execute search warrants, conduct investigations and issue summonses to make arrests — but lack certain powers, such as the ability to execute arrest warrants, Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk SPCA said.

However, as the issue of animal abuse and neglect gains heightened awareness, some law enforcement offices are stepping up their involvement.

In Chicago, the city police department has begun an animal cruelty unit with a sergeant and six officers. In upstate Rensselaer County, the district attorney has created an animal abuse task force.

“People are realizing animal cruelty is an issue that affects not only animals,” said Joseph Pentangelo, assistant director of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City.

Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, who collaborated with Levy on the initiative, said the detective will investigate animal cruelty cases in addition to their regular police responsibilities.

Though the Suffolk SPCA is contracted to investigate such crimes, Gross said he did not believe the new system would be overstepping his organization.

Levy said he also would lobby Albany to increase the penalty for felony animal cruelty charges, from the current maximum of two years to five.

Assemb. Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) has also introduced legislation to stiffen the penalties. Her bill, which did not pass, would have made it a felony if one is caught torturing an animal a second time within five years of a first conviction.

“The resistance has been that we can’t make animal crimes as severe as crimes against human beings,” she said. “There’s a resistance. It doesn’t mean that we won’t be successful.” (Newsday)

It way beyond time to get tough on people who commit these atrocities!! This sad excuse for a human being needs to feel the same fires of hell that poor dog did but it will never happen! Let’s just hope he gets the max! And let’s hope he meets some dog lovers where he’s going!

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