SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. -

A Paso Robles man accused of setting a steer on fire at Paso Robles HIgh School's FFA Barn says he's not guilty.

23-year-old Garrett Kaplan was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty after a several months-long investigation.

He's free on bail and is awaiting a preliminary hearing.

The steer, named Panda, was found last October in the PRHS Barn with severe burns.

Meantime, Panda has arrived safe and sound at his new home.

The badly-scarred steer will live out his life at a 600-acre animal sanctuary in Grass Valley.

This after a Ventura woman paid $10,000 to buy his freedom as he was slated to go on the auction block this week at the Mid-State Fair and destined for slaughter.