Pasco County woman charged with animal cruelty for pouring gas on, setting fire to dog

Her bail hearing is set for Sept. 27.

click to enlarge Pasco County woman charged with animal cruelty for pouring gas on, setting fire to dog
via Suncoast Animal League

It's been a rough go for a Lutz pup named Denali, but it looks like things are finally looking up for her.

It started when a man who owned her took a job as a private security officer in Iraq, leaving Denali — a boxy-headed dog — in the care of his wife. 

Then something went wrong.

No one but Denali and the woman charged with caring for her will know the realities of what happened, but here's how the Pasco Sheriff's Office thinks it went: 

“The defendant, Brandi C. Corrigan intentionally poured an ignitable liquid, later confirmed as gasoline by the state lab, about various contents and areas of her residence. An open flame was then applied by the defendant, igniting the liquid causing fire to spread throughout the the dwelling to a point of total loss. During the aforementioned, two dogs locked inside kennels, were also covered with the ignitable liquid, causing severe burns and thermal injuries which required extensive medical treatment and repeated surgeries. During firefighting operations, they were discovered locked within the kennels, and rescued. This act caused excessive, unnecessary pain and suffering to the canines. With consideration to the aforementioned events and details, physical evidence at the scene, State Laboratory results, Veterinary interviews and receipt of animal hospital records, your affiant, a Florida Certified LEO/Fire and Arson Investigator found pursuant to FSS 828.12(2), probable cause exists for Cruelty to Animals-Felony. The defendant was placed under arrest at Land O' Lakes Detention Center and turned over to booking staff without incident.”

TL; DR? Law enforcement officials — and the veterinarian who performed surgery on Denali — believe that Brandi C. Corrigan locked Denali and one other dog in their kennels, poured gasoline on them, and set a fire. 

The extent of Denali's injuries was not immediately clear; only after a few days at the shelter did the burns begin to "declare" themselves. Denali went from the family vet to Pasco County Animal Services to Suncoast Animal League, who brought her to Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic in Tampa. That's when one of the veterinary surgeons realized Denali's wounds told a story more tragic than a simple house fire. 

"Dr. Lee explained that she 'had anticipated damaged muscle' as is the case of most severe burn wounds. She was 'pleasantly surprised to find no muscle damage and the burns, thankfully, appear to be superficial and affect mainly the skin'," Suncoast Animal League posted on its Facebook page. "But this somewhat encouraging news also made her suspicious. These were not your normal burns associated with a fire. There were no burns on her underside as though she had run through the fire in an attempt to escape. Dr. Lee now suspects that an accelerant was poured on Denali's back and head prior to the fire being set."

The other dog, whose injuries were no doubt painful but not quite as severe as Denali's, was adopted by one of the vet techs and continues to heal. This past weekend, Blue Pearl released Denali, who continues to heal in a foster home. 

On Thursday, Sept. 27, Corrigan — who police arrested on July 7 for aggravated assault and again on July 20 for domestic violence — will have a bail hearing at 2 p.m. at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Pasco County at 8053 Live Oak Avenue in Dade City. Her current charges include first degree arson, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession or use of drug paraphernalia, two counts of aggravated assault and felony cruelty to animals.

The Tampa Firefighters Charity Fund will hold a Brews for Burns fundraiser for Denali, whose medical bills are more than $17,000. Brews for Burns will include raffles for everything from a two-night stay at the Don Cesar to Alex Killorn's hockey stick as well as free beer for those who donate at least $20.

Brews for Burns | Kelly Days Firehouse Tavern,1708 E. 7th Ave., Ybor City. | Sept. 29: 7-10 p.m. | Donate to help Denali at

About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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