GRAPHIC: Man arrested after kitten found burned in fire pit

Kitten badly burned
Kitten badly burned(Tru Rescue)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 2:33 PM CDT
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PORTLAND, Tenn. (WSMV) - A man was arrested Friday after a was found kitten burned in a fire pit the previous week.

Portland Police and Animal Control investigated reports of an injured animal on Strawberry Street in Portland when they came in contact with a kitten who had appeared to be burned and in poor health due to an incident.

A witness told police that 39-year-old Richard Lee Tyler Russell was the individual who previously had custody of the kitten. The witness said the kitten was found injured in a fire pit behind a residence on Strawberry Street, and Russell had failed to obtain any medical attention for the injured kitten.

The kitten, later named Phoenix, was rushed to TRU Rescue of Mount Juliet, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

“We’ve all been through just a rollercoaster of emotions...anger, hate, disgust, pity, relief, sadness, love, and now complete devastation. This tiny kitten, Phoenix, stood for everything we fight against on a daily basis, and he took the hardest hit for it. He took a hit that no animal should ever have to take,” Tru Rescue said on Facebook.

PPD detectives located Russell, and when he was interviewed, he did not provide a comment about injuring the kitten; however, he gave an account of the incident that police deemed not credible.

Russell was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and is housed in the Sumner County Jail. His bond is set at $25,000.