A man has been handed a 20-year jail sentence after he allegedly stole his ex-girlfriend's dog and set it on fire.
Dixie, four, endured second and third-degree burns after Michael Busico, 41, snatched her from her owner's house in Tooele, Utah, USA.
The 41-year-old was sentenced for arson and animal cruelty after the red heeler sustained burns across 30% of her body on March 1, according to court documents.
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Trista Heywood told cops that Busico said he was stopping by her mother's home so he could give Dixie and the other pets treats, reports KJZZ.
But when her mum returned home she noticed that the pooch had disappeared. They later discovered what happened after they recognised the photos of Dixie on a news report.
It has been reported that Busico previously contacted Heywood after becoming upset about money and asking her to speak to her mother for him.
He was located after police found his truck and discovered a bit of pet hair on the seat which appeared to match Dixie's.
Dixie sadly had to be euthanised following the incident. The Salt Lake County Animal Services issued a statement after the sentencing.
Division's director Talia Butler said: “The outcome of this case is a huge win for pets in Utah. This is a step in the right direction and emphasizes that animals cannot be tortured to manipulate and hurt other humans.
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"Salt Lake County Animal Services hopes that these strict penalties will deter future animal and domestic abuse cases.
"Our Animal Control Officers and staff are still devastated by what happened to Dixie. No pet should suffer at the hands of a human.
"Throughout the years, our team has seen mistreated, and abused animals but this was not only horrific, but it was also an intentional attack against a companion animal.
"Our staff has never forgotten Dixie and the pain and suffering both she and her family went through. We’re hopeful this resolution can give Dixie’s family peace. Dixie’s legacy will live on in our community, and in our efforts to stop animal abuse universally."
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