ATLANTA — A man captured on cellphone video scaring his dog with fireworks on the Fourth of July is now facing animal cruelty charges.
The video, which was posted on Facebook, has been viewed thousands of times and created outrage, with thousands of people calling for him to be charged. %
The man is also facing a charge for not having a Fulton County license for the animal.
At first, William Scaffidi tried to dodge Channel 2 Action News' cameras, but when questioned about the video of him scaring his dog with fireworks on the Fourth of July, he decided he wanted to set the record straight.
"I feel like it's not reflective of me at all," Scaffidi said.
The cellphone video, which was captured by his daughter, shows him lighting fireworks on his porch, right over his dog.
Outraged neighbors and friends of his shared the video, which he has posted on Facebook, and it went viral.
"The hate mail starting coming in – threatening to kill me," Scaffidi said.
While Fulton County Animal Services charged him with animal cruelty, he defended himself by saying his dog, Betty Boop, was never harmed.
"Could you understand why some people would see this video and think that this prank just wasn't funny and could be seen as abusive?" Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez asked.
"The thing is, is that it wasn't even a prank," Scaffidi said. "It wasn't a prank. A lot of people say you put the plants there to trap the dog. That's ridiculous. I didn't even know the dog was there."
Jaquez pointed out that in the video it does appear that he can look right at his dog just before he's seen running back inside his home.
He maintains he did not try to torment the 4-year-old husky mix.
"I admit it was a bad choice of posting it and that's my mistake," Scaffidi said.
"Do you regret posting it or do you regret doing it and posting it?" Jaquez asked.
"I regret that, that, that I did it for the fact that the dog was there," Scaffidi said.