MAGNA, Utah (ABC4) – The man who police say intentionally set a dog on fire near Magna last week is now facing felony charges.
According to charging documents, Michael Paul Busico, 40, is being charged with arson, torture of a companion animal, theft, and failure to stop at the command of a law officer.
The dog, Dixie, a red heeler, was found after she was set on fire and left along North Frontage Road just after 6 p.m. last Monday. According to a Facebook post from the dog’s owner, Dixie was euthanized on Monday evening.
Salt Lake County Animal Services says Dixie suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to most of her body.
According to a probable cause statement, Tooele City Police were dispatched to a residence for a reported theft earlier in the day March 1. The victim’s father-in-law stated his daughter-in-law’s mother’s ex-boyfriend, Michael Busico, 40, had stolen the victim’s dog earlier in the day.
Busico was allegedly at the home visiting the dog when the victim says she left. When she returned, Busico and the dog were allegedly gone.
Documents go on to say that Busico contacted Dixie’s owner saying he was upset over money.
Officers were later able to track down Busico and arrived at his home as officers saw him walking out. A probable cause statement said that Busico attempted to run away from officers but he was taken into custody a short time later.
Police executed a search warrant on Busico’s truck and found dog hair on the front seat of the truck that appeared to be a match to Dixie, a probable cause statement said.