WEST MONROE, La. — A man who’d been left with a Yorkshire terrier scalded its face, then briefly shut it in his hostess’ freezer, Louisiana police say.

Samuel Smith, 24, of West Monroe was arrested Thursday on a felony count of animal cruelty.

Sara Durbin of West Monroe said she went to work Wednesday, leaving Smith, whom she considered a friend, in her apartment with her 3½-pound (1.6-kilogram) pet, a 3-year-old female named Bitty Boo.

About 90 minutes later, she said, Smith called, saying Bitty Boo had gotten out and returned hurt. Durbin called a friend to check, then met that friend at her veterinarian’s.

Bitty Boo’s face was scalded, her eyes swollen and ulcerated, and her mouth and tongue injured, she said.

“She’s always giving kisses. Always. She does not do that now because of her mouth,” Durbin said in a telephone interview Monday.

She said she found clumps of dog hair and a bit of blood in her freezer when she went to put something into it.

She doesn’t know whether the mouth and tongue injuries are from the freezer or the water, which Durbin said comes out scalding hot from the tap.

She said she has had to take three days off of work to take care of the dog and has paid the veterinarian nearly $600 so far for visits every weekday and another one scheduled Wednesday.

A gofundme page which she set up Saturday had pledges of $1,125 by Monday evening toward a $2,000 goal for veterinary bills and an attorney. Durbin said that she doesn’t know whether she will sue Smith, but wants an attorney’s advice about what to do.

Doctors don’t know whether Bitty Boo’s hair will grow back or whether her eyes are permanently damaged, Durbin said.

A policereport quotes Smith as saying he “did not like the dog but did not mean to mutilate it.” He admitted spraying the dog with hot water and putting it in the freezer for about 30 seconds, according to the report.

“Arrestee described his actions as just ‘messing’ with the dog,” Investigator Brett Thompson wrote.

Smith couldn’t be reached for comment. Directory assistance doesn’t have a listing for him.

On top of everything else, Durbin said, she’s worried because some comments on her Facebook page talk about violence against Smith.

She said she wants the courts to deal with him, and to keep the charge a felony rather than dropping it to a misdemeanor. “I think this should follow him for the rest of his life, especially if she’s going to have permanent damage for the rest of her life,” she said.

But retribution should be through the legal system, she said: “Yes, I’m very, very upset at what he did to her. But I don’t want anyone to bring any harm to him.”

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