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Man Faces Animal Cruelty Charges After Lighting Fireworks Near Dog, as Internet Erupts in Rage


Man Faces Animal Cruelty Charges After Lighting Fireworks Near Dog, as Internet Erupts in Rage Video shows dog freaking out after owner William Scaffidi, lights fireworks just above the dog's head. (Facebook)

An Atlanta man is facing animal cruelty charges after lighting fireworks next to his dog in a disturbing incident captured on video, authorities said.

The footage, taken by the man’s 13-year-old daughter, was posted to Facebook, where it drew thousands of angry comments and calls for William Scaffidi to be arrested by the Atlanta Police Department.

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The images show Scaffidi lighting fireworks on the front porch of his home, where his dog was standing. As the explosions start, Scaffidi is seen hiding behind the front door as his dog bolts and tries to get away.

Fulton County Animal Services personnel saw the video online and went to Scaffidi’s home, where he was cited for animal cruelty and not having a dog license, according to the department.

Scaffidi is scheduled for a July 26 court appearance.

He told WSB-TV that the July 4 video is "not reflective of me at all."

He said he’s been barraged by "hate mail … threatening to kill me."

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Scaffidi said his dog, Betty Boop, was not harmed during the incident.

"The thing is, is that it wasn’t even a prank," he told the station. "It wasn’t a prank. A lot of people say you put the plants there to trap the dog. That’s ridiculous. I didn’t even know the dog was there."

The reporter counters that the video appears to show him looking directly at the dog before lighting the fireworks.

"I admit it was a bad choice of posting it and that’s my mistake," he replied.

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