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Gwinnett inmates nurse abused dog back to health

Phoenix, a pitbull mix, was severely abused by her owners, including burning her face.  Following their arrests, inmates in a Gwinnett County prison nursed her back to health. 07-17-13
Phoenix, a pitbull mix, was severely abused by her owners, including burning her face. Following their arrests, inmates in a Gwinnett County prison nursed her back to health.
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Updated: 7/18/2013 11:13 am
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- Norcross police arrested two people accused of burning their dogs' face with oven cleaner.

WSB-TV Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh was invited into the unexpected place where the dog is getting nursed back to health: the Gwinnett County Jail.

The pit bull mix, Phoenix, showed no signs of the abuse she has endured.

Norcross police said the dog’s owners sprayed Phoenix last month with oven cleaner, burning off her fur and partially blinding her right eye.

A month later, her recovery is in full swing through the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Second Chance Jail Dog Program. Her primary caretakers are inmates.

"Seeing how far she's come so quickly and that I was a part of it, that's a reward by itself,” inmate Tommy Spruill said.

He received Phoenix just two weeks ago.

"She'd walk around moping, with her head down. Now, her spirits are lifted. Every day is a new step for her," Spruill said.

Gwinnett County Animal Control rescued Phoenix from a Norcross motel where she was allegedly abused.

The shelter called Dennis Kronenfeld's rescue group, Society of Humane Friends.

"When they get dogs that are injured, a lot of times they call us,” Kronenfeld said.

He coordinated to get the dog out of the shelter and into the jail, where she gets around-the-clock care.

Her former owners, Justin Sproul and Anna Ashburn, are also in the jail on cruelty to animal charges. They are expected in court Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing.

Norcross police said the duo claims the dog somehow injured herself.

"People can be mean and unfortunately, there are a lot of them out there that are,” Kronenfeld said.

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