Two puppies in a drainage pipe in Polk County were nearly burned to death after someone set a fire. However, the man who said he did it claimed he was saving their lives.
The man, who did not want to be identified, said the two puppies were being attacked by wild dogs, so he set a fire near the culvert where they were stuck.
"We burned these culverts out a bunch of times. But I did not do that trying to kill the dogs or nothing like that," he said.
Pauline Coska lives nearby and was concerned about the man's actions.
"He did have fires on both sides. To me, when you have fires on both sides, that's trying to kill the puppies," Coska said.
She said she saw the man use a 2-by-4 piece of wood to push coals inside the drainage pipe where the puppies were hiding before setting both ends on fire.
"Yeah, we were doing that, trying to get them out so we can give them away because they keep fighting these wild dogs around here," said the man.
The man said he actually rescued him.
One of the puppies ended up with a neighbor. She named him "Smokey" for surviving with only minor injuries and smoke inhalation.
The other puppy was taken to the Polk County SPCA with burns on his stomach and smoke inhalation.
Veterinarians said the dog has a rough recovery ahead of him.
"He is breathing quite rapidly because of the damage to his lungs, so we don't know what his outlook is," said Phyllis Bridge with the Polk County SPCA.
The man who set the fire was not charged with any crime or issued a ticket. The case has been handed over to the District Attorney's Office.