DALLAS - Dallas police confirmed they are actively searching for an 18-year-old Dallas County man accused of torturing a four-month-old puppy by setting the animal on fire. The dog later died from the injuries sustained in the torching.
Police said their search for Darius Ewing continues.
According to the police report, witnesses told police Ewing used lighter fluid and a cigarette to set the puppy on fire. Within a week, the puppy named "Justice" died of severe burns suffered both internally and externally.
Animal welfare experts said if convicted, Ewing could face up to 10 years behind bars since animal cruelty is a felony, and using an accelerate is considered a deadly weapon in animal cruelty cases in Dallas County.
Jonnie England, with the Metroplex Animal Coalition, said the key is securing enough evidence to convict. England said she is encouraged an arrest warrant has been issued and is hoping an arrest happens soon. England said she's also hoping the entire group believed to be involved is held accountable.
In a similar case six years ago in Dallas County, another puppy named "Mercy" suffered a similar fate, England said. The 10-month-old pit bull's heart gave out after she was set on fire and endured burns over 60 percent of her body.
Deshawn Brown, 21, was later convicted for the crime and sentenced to four years behind bars.
Dallas County officials said if arrested, Ewing will be facing his first offense in Dallas County and would likely be jailed on $1,500 bond.
As for Justice, a special vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday in front of Dallas City Hall. A funeral will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Tooth Acres, located at 1639 Parker Road in Carrollton.