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Dog In ‘Bad Shape’ After Being Set On Fire

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The owner of a dog that was set on fire and left for dead in Magna said she can’t understand how anyone could be so cruel to an animal.

The dog was listed in critical condition and receiving fluids and pain medication Tuesday evening, according to an update from Salt Lake County Animal Services.

“My heart is truly broken,” said an emotional Trista, who didn’t want to give her last name. “To take her out of someone’s backyard and light her on fire — it’s inhumane.” 

KSL was the only media at the AVC Animal Hospital in Salt Lake City Tuesday morning as Trista saw Dixie, her 4-year-old Red Healer, for the first time since the dog was burned. 

Animal Services said Dixie had second- and third-degree burns to her head, pelvis, hind end, belly and mouth.

“She has bandages on her left paw. Her face is all burned and she has ointment all over it. And then she has bandages around her head around her ears and her whole body is burnt. She pretty much smells like burnt hair,” said Trista. 

Trista said she noticed Dixie was missing on Monday when she returned home after 5 p.m.

Tuesday morning, officials with the  Unified Police Department announced they had arrested 40-year-old Michael Busico, who is the ex-boyfriend of Trista’s mother. 

Police said Busico was in a fight with Trista’s mother over money and their past relationship. Trista said Busico stopped by Monday afternoon and asked about her dogs, which Trista thought was weird. When she returned home, Dixie was gone.

Trista posted on Facebook that her dog was missing. That night she heard on the news about what happened, and she knew it was Dixie.

“As soon as I read it and seen the pictures and the description of the gentleman that did this, I knew it was her,” said Trista. 

The thought that the suspect was at her house Monday terrified her.

“Last night I couldn’t sleep. I had to sleep with both of my kids in my bed because I have a fear that he might come into my home and do something to them,” she said.

Trista said doctors are telling her that Dixie’s condition is so bad that they need to wait another 24 hours before they can tell her if Dixie will make it.

County officials said animal cruelty charges against Busico are pending. He was arrested and booked into the Tooele County Jail on suspicion of torture of a companion animal and arson, both third-degree felonies, as well as theft and criminal trespass, both misdemeanors.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with Dixie’s medical costs.*

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk. 

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