Charges Filed Against Man Accused Of Intentionally Setting Magna Dog On Fire

Mar 9, 2021, 5:03 PM
Dixie, a 4-year-old Red Heeler who suffered serious burns across her body, will have to be put down...
Dixie, a 4-year-old Red Heeler who suffered serious burns across her body, will have to be put down. (Trista Dawn Heywood/Facebook/411 Tooele County)
(Trista Dawn Heywood/Facebook/411 Tooele County)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Formal charges have been filed against a man who is accused of intentionally setting a dog on fire and leaving it to die in a Magna field.

According to court documents, 40-year-old Michael Paul Busico has been charged with one count of arson, a second-degree felony; theft and torture of a companion animal, both third-degree felonies; and a misdemeanor count of failure to stop at the command of law enforcement.

Police said Busico stole the dog, a 4-year-old Red Heeler named Dixie, from the house of his ex-girlfriend’s daughter in retaliation for a failing relationship.

“Mr. Busico specifically targeted his ex-girlfriend’s daughter’s dog,” the arresting officer reported. “From my training and experience, I believe that Mr. Busico was targeting the victim’s animal to directly intimidate and threaten her and his ex-girlfriend.”

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

On Monday, Dixie’s owner Trista said the dog will have to be put down due to her injuries.

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

“Our hearts are so broken and we have no words,” 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.”

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Charges Filed Against Man Accused Of Intentionally Setting Magna Dog On Fire