Tony Brian Knolle, 24, of 549 McBain Drive, was arrested at his home and charged with felony animal cruelty.
Investigators said Knolle tried to burn the puppy to death early Monday following a dispute with his wife.
Miacarla Knolle flagged down a deputy on Ramsey Street while trying to find help for the dog and led him back to her home. She told investigators that she had just dropped her children off at day care and that her husband tried to set the dog on fire because he was tired of taking care of him.
Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Detective Jonathan Perkins said it's unclear what was used to set fire to the dog, noting investigators found no evidence of flammable liquid.
The puppy, named Red, suffered burns, singe marks, blisters and gashes along his left hip and leg.
"It tears me up. I hate to see any animal like this," Perkins said. "With animals and domestic violence, it will start with the animals and then move to the kids and the wife."
Miacarla Knolle surrendered the dog to the Cumberland County Animal Shelter, saying she feared for the animal's safety.
The dog was shaking in fear Monday as Perkins held it. He said Red would receive medical treatment and would be held in protective custody at the shelter.
"He's going to be fed. He's going to be housed. There's no chance he's going to be put down or anything," Perkins said. "Animals are defenseless. You can't help but feel bad for the animal."
Authorities said they will be looking for a family to adopt Red once the dog is out of protective custody and no longer is considered evidence in the criminal case.
Tougher penalties for animal cruelty will take effect Dec. 1 after Gov. Beverly Perdue signed Susie's Law last month in honor of a Greensboro dog whose owner was placed on probation after burning, beating and leaving the 8-week-old dog to die.