In the video, the dog’s owner, William Scaffidi is seen lighting a string of fireworks behind the husky mix. The dog runs back and forth terrified. Someone in the background is heard laughing. The man’s 13-year old daughter filmed the incident and posted it to Facebook.
The video quickly went viral as shocked animal lovers, appalled at Scaffidi’s actions, began contacting authorities.
“The floodgates opened, every other call that has come in today has been about this,” said Tim Poorman, Field Services Director at Fulton County Animal Services. “We have had calls from all over the country, from Canada and Mexico.”
Animal Services visited the Scaffidi home and issued citations for the abuse and for not having his dog licensed. Officers were unable to remove the dog from the home as he appeared to be a good health and well cared for.
Scaffidi will appear in Fulton County Magistrate Court on July 26. He is facing fines of up to $500 and up to 6 months in jail. In addition, the judge can order him to surrender the dog and prevent him from ever owning animals in Fulton County again.
Scaffidi asserts that he meant no harm and just thought the prank would be “funny.” He told 11Alive the ordeal has been “brutal, just brutal and terrible for my family. I plan to exonerate myself.”