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Memphis Dog Set on Fire 1 Year Ago Finds Forever Home

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A Pit Bull mix that suffered horrific maltreatment at the hands of a previous dog parent is now in a loving and caring forever home. Riona, a 2-year-old pup, was set on fire one year ago. She is now settling in with her adoptive family. She joins a couple with four kids and a pair of canine companions.

Dog set on fire by parent in Tennessee

According to Commercial Appeal, Riona originally made news headlines in June 2022. That’s when neighbors in the Nutbush neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee, saw her running down the street engulfed in flames. According to Ginger Natoli of Tails of Hope, a rescue organization in Memphis, Riona’s former dog dad “poured diesel fuel on her, and set it on fire.”

Sixty percent of Riona’s body suffered fourth-degree burns. Her left ear basically burned off.

Riona received veterinary care at Memphis Animal Services. Then, Tails of Hope Dog Rescue welcomed Riona into their care. Dr. Cory Fisher of Bluff City Veterinary provided ongoing treatment – around $92,000 worth – including several surgical procedures. A manager there named Mallory Mclemore became Riona’s foster mom.

Initially, watching over the pit bull “was a 24/7 job that required ’round the clock medical care,” Natoli said. “Her wounds had to be cleaned and her bandages had to be changed repeatedly.”

Quishon Brown is Riona’s former dog parent. According to Commercial Appeal, he faces “three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and one count of setting fire to personal property or land.” He was released on bail earlier this month. His next court date is July 18.

Tortured dog’s story goes viral

Tails of Hope shared Riona’s harrowing story on Facebook and TikTok. Soon, her story went viral. Tails of Hope received many adoption inquiries for Riona.

Finally, the pup, who is completely healed, found the right family for the next chapter of her story.

“Our goal was to get her a forever home, and that’s exactly what we found,” Natoli reported. “Riona has other dogs to play with, she has children to play with, she’s got a big yard to play in, she’s got a family that has experience in the medical field and an understanding of what her injuries were.”

Tails of Hope is keeping further details about the family private for security reasons.

Riona recently made the 10-hour drive from Memphis to her new home, a journey documented for her fans on social media.

Upon arrival, the Pit Bull mix received a grand homecoming. The children in her new family made “Welcome” signs complete with paw prints and hand-drawn hearts. The resident dogs were also happy to meet their canine sister.

“It was like she’d known them forever,” Natoli said.

That’s what we call a happy “tail.”

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