Owner Says Dog That Was Set On Fire To Be Put Down

Mar 8, 2021, 2:39 PM | Updated: 11:27 pm
(Salt Lake County Animal Services)...
(Salt Lake County Animal Services)
(Salt Lake County Animal Services)

MAGNA, Utah – Dixie, a 4-year-old Red Heeler that was set on fire and left for dead in Magna, will have to be put down due to her injuries, her owner said Monday.

“Our hearts are so broken and we have no words,” owner Trista said in a Facebook post. “This is news that we didn’t want to hear.”

“Dixie and her family are in our hearts and our prayers. This case has been emotionally difficult for our Animal Control Officers,” said Talia Butler, director of Salt Lake County Animal Services. “This devastating attack on a companion animal is unacceptable. We plan on bringing forward in the future, Dixie’s Law, an animal cruelty law with a stricter penalty for people who intentionally cause unthinkable pain and suffering to pets.”

Trista had reported her dog was missing on Feb. 28 and Unified police arrested a 40-year-old man in connection to the incident.

Police said the suspect, Michael Paul Busico, the ex-boyfriend of Trista’s mother, allegedly stole Dixie “to directly intimidate and threaten her and his ex-girlfriend.”

Dixie was found on March 1 in a field near I-80 in Magna.

Officials with Salt Lake County Animal Services said Dixie suffered second- and third-degree burns to her head, pelvis, hind end, belly and mouth.

WARNING: Some may find the following pictures to be disturbing or graphic in nature.

(Trista Dawn Heywood/Facebook/411 Tooele County) (Trista Dawn Heywood/Facebook/411 Tooele County) (Trista Dawn Heywood/Facebook/411 Tooele County) (Salt Lake County Animal Services)

Dixie was taken to an emergency veterinarian hospital where her condition was so poor that doctors told Trista they would have to wait 24 hours to determine the extent of her injuries.

Trista said Dixie would need multiple surgeries on her ears and abdomen and she might not survive them. She also said all of the tissue in Dixie’s eyes was so damaged that she would lose her eyesight.

“We are at a loss,” Trista said. “We were praying so hard that she would make it out of this because she didn’t deserve any of this to happen to her. She is suffering and we can’t continue to let her suffer… we love you so much Dixie and just know you are always in our hearts.”

Trista said the money that had been raised through a GoFundMe would be donated to the hospital and other resources to help abused animals.

“Thank you to everyone for all your support and love, thank you for all of (the) donations that have been coming in. We are more blessed than ever with what everyone has done for her and for us,” Trista said.

Busico 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.

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Owner Says Dog That Was Set On Fire To Be Put Down