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Innocent Kitten Suffered And Died After Being Burned In Firepit: Man Charged With Aggravated Animal Cruelty

Published: October 03, 2022 at 01:35 PM Author: Penny Eims

Portland, Tennesee – A Tennessee man is accused of a horrific act of cruelty that caused a young kitten unbearable pain, and ultimately, claimed his life. The five-week-old kitten was found on September 19 in a vacant area of Portland. Every ounce of his little body was burned after 39-year-old Richard Russell threw him into a fire pit.

True Rescue took the severely burned kitten under its wing, naming him Phoenix with the hope that he would rise from the ashes and survive the unspeakable cruelty he had been subjected to. But the damage from the smoke and flames was too severe for the tiny kitten to overcome. After Phoenix passed away, the heartbroken rescuers said:

We are devastated to report that we lost Phoenix early this morning. His tiny body was just unable to fight off the horrible burns he was dealing with, plus the smoke inhalation. We did everything we could to keep him comfortable, but he succumbed to an easier life on the other side, where no one will ever harm him again. This would have been a tough road ahead, one that we would have taken with him, should he have continued, but his poor body had just been through too much.

According to the police investigation, Russell previously had custody of the kitten; it was determined that Phoenix was burned on Saturday and he suffered for two days before being found by the concerned citizen who reached out to the police. The investigation led to Russell’s arrest and a charge of aggravated animal cruelty; he was booked into the Sumner County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Please add your name to the petition today. Richard Russell’s actions are appalling and he must face true punishment for killing an innocent kitten. There is absolutely NO excuse for the pain and suffering this man caused Phoenix to endure.

We the undersigned demand that Richard Russell is held responsible for throwing a five-week-old kitten into a fire pit and causing the kitten unimaginable pain and suffering, ultimately causing injuries so severe that they claimed his young life. We are petitioning for Russell to receive the maximum punishment allowable by law for his felony charge of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals. At sentencing, we hope to see Russell prohibited from owning or residing with animals in the future. 

Note: Individuals are presumed innocent until they have been found guilty in a court of law. Animal Victory relies upon the authorities and the court system to determine guilt or innocence.


Fox 17


Fox 17

Update 11/4/2022: VICTORY! Animal Victory spoke with the attorney Dan Daugherty. The defendant was sentenced to 180 days in jail, serving all 180 days. Dan pushed to make sure that the defendant is ordered to NEVER own, transport, watch, or be in possession of a cat for the remainder of his lifetime. He stated the law does not let him do all animals, he wishes it would, he can only do the animal the crime was against. Dan told us if this person is EVER caught around a cat, he does not have to be harming it, he will still be in violation.  Great job Attorney Dan Daugherty! Thank you to everyone who signed the petition!

10/25/2022: Court documents indicate that this case has been disposed of, but there is a hearing scheduled for November 9, 2022, at 9 a.m. 

Russell Felony


Innocent Kitten Suffered And Died After Being Burned In Firepit: Man Charged With Aggravated Animal Cruelty

15,060 signatures = 75% of goal


15,060 Elizabeth Sullivan Prosecute this psychopath fully before his violence escalates, and prohibit any future access to animals or children. Nov 29, 2022
15,059 Denise Gustafson DISGUSTING PIECE OF SHIT!!!! Nov 29, 2022
15,058 Kathy Pozzi Just look at this thing’s face and tell me he won’t do it again. Pure evil! Nov 29, 2022
15,057 Emilia Muntean Nov 29, 2022
15,056 Carolann Gilmartin Nov 29, 2022
15,055 Michele Martin Nov 29, 2022
15,054 Phillippa Hilsden Nov 29, 2022
15,053 Erica Hernandez Nov 27, 2022
15,052 Suzanne Grafious Nov 27, 2022
15,051 Noelle Wilkinson Nov 27, 2022
15,050 Chloe Seago Nov 27, 2022
15,049 George Heppel Nov 25, 2022
15,048 Michelle Beaudry Nov 25, 2022
15,047 Darcie Prestis This man is pure EVIL !!!! Justice for this precious soul!! Nov 24, 2022
15,046 anita sheffield Nov 24, 2022
15,045 Yasmine Badawi Nov 24, 2022
15,044 Kathryn Walsh Poor kitty i hate people like this. Why are people so evil like what would make you even think to do this. I hope he gets what he deserves. Nov 23, 2022
15,043 Larisa Romanova Nov 23, 2022
15,042 HEATHER White Throw this piece of scum onto a firepit and let him suffer. Nov 23, 2022
15,041 Lisa calache Nov 23, 2022
15,040 Wendy Nolan Nov 23, 2022
15,039 Rina Eichhof Nov 22, 2022
15,038 Moyses Marcos Nov 22, 2022
15,037 MORI MIKA Nov 21, 2022
15,036 matilde damian Nov 20, 2022
15,035 Tracy Markman Nov 20, 2022
15,034 Lynne Shriber Damn that POS! This makes me sick. Throw him jail and lose the key! Nov 19, 2022
15,033 Lisel Sipes I would like to shove that guys face into a woodchipper. Scumbag! Nov 19, 2022
15,032 Dana Dykes Nov 19, 2022
15,031 Stone Diane Nov 19, 2022