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Lakewood Woman Accused Of Setting Dog On Fire

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) ―
Lakewood police are holding a dog owner on arson and felony animal cruelty charges after they say she set her pet on fire.
The incident happened at the Alpine Vista apartments in Lakewood, where Tanya Martin, 38, lives alone.
The dog was taken to the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital for emergency treatment. The chief veterinarian said the Yorkshire terrier will probably survive, but it's one of the worst cases of animal cruelty they have seen.
"My understanding is that he was barely conscious and barely breathing," Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro with Wheat Ridge Veterinary Specialists said. "The firefighters did a great job of resuscitating him with mass oxygen."
Lakewood police described the bizarre scene when they arrived at the dog owner's apartment.
"There was on top of the stove a phone book which was on fire. The stove was ignited, the poodle mix was placed on top of the phone book and it was hog-tied, so it was unable to move itself," Sheridan Foster with Lakewood police said.
By the time the dog was rescued, he had been burned so badly his paws and nose were coming off.
"His condition was very critical, not only because of second and third degree burns over 50 percent of his body, but also because he was in a tremendous amount of pain," Mazzaferro said.
Neighbors at the Alpine Vista apartment complex called police at about 9 a.m. Sunday after seeing smoke coming from the kitchen.
Neighbors said they often witnessed Martin behaving strangely and talking to herself.
"I thought she was talking on the phone and I figured she was having an argument with somebody, but after this, I'm pretty sure she was yelling at nobody," neighbor Steven Garcia said.
"I don't know what's going to happen to this person, but we're going to do our best to make sure that (the dog) stays alive," Mazzaferro said. "He's in good hands now."
Mazzaferro's biggest concern is that the burns could become infected.
It used to be these cases were misdemeanors in Colorado but the penalties were increased a few years ago after a cat named Westy was set on the fire and the case got national attention. The Wheat Ridge clinic also saved Westy's life.
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