Man charged with stealing ex-girlfriend’s family dog, setting it on fire and leaving it on a road


Utah man, 40, ‘steals his ex-girlfriend’s dog named Dixie, sets it on FIRE and dumps it in the road with serious injuries’ after the pair argued about money

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Michael Busico, 40, faces charges of torture of a companion animal, arson, theft and trespassing
  • Busico is accused of stealing Dixie, a 4-year-old red tick heeler belonging to his ex-girlfriend’s family, and setting the dog on fire 
  • Animal control officers found badly injured dog wandering along I-80 near Salt Lake City on Monday night 
  • Dixie is in critical condition after suffering second- and third-degree burns to its head, pelvis , belly and mouth 
  • Dixie’s owner said Busico came by the house to offer the dog treats, then left with the animal while she was away 
  • Busico and his ex-girlfriend had a dispute over $1,200 and their failed relationship, according to police 

A Utah man has been arrested for allegedly abducting his ex-girlfriend’s family dog, setting the animal on fire and abandoning it in the middle of a road following an argument with its owner over money.

Michael Busico, 40, from West Valley, was booked into the Tooele County Jail on Monday on charges of torture of a companion animal, arson, theft and trespassing.

The injured dog, a four-year-old red tick heeler named Dixie, was listed in critical condition as of Tuesday, having suffered second- and third-degree burns to its head, pelvis, belly and mouth. 

Busico is accused of setting his ex-girlfriend's family dog, Dixie, on fire

Michael Busico, 40 (left), faces charges of torture of a companion animal, arson, theft and trespassing, accused of setting his ex-girlfriend’s family dog, Dixie (right), on fire

The 4-year-old red tick heeler suffered second- and third-degree burns to its head, pelvis , belly and mouth

The 4-year-old red tick heeler suffered second- and third-degree burns to its head, pelvis , belly and mouth

Dixie remained in critical condition and was being treated with pains medication and fluids

Dixie remained in critical condition and was being treated with pains medication and fluids

‘The dog’s outcome remains uncertain at this time. She is currently on fluids and pain medication,’ The Salt Lake County Animal Services wrote in an update.

The incident began unfolding on Monday night, when animal control offices found the badly injured Dixie, which had been set on fire, wandering in the brush by Interstate 80 near the Salt Lake City suburb of Magna.

Dixie was transported to a local veterinary hospital for treatment.

Earlier that same day, police received a report about a dog that had been stolen from its owners’ home.

According to an arrest affidavit cited by Deseret News, one of Dixie’s owners told police that she believed her ex-boyfriend, Busico, abducted her family dog following a dispute over $1,200 and their failed relationship.

‘Mr. Busico specifically targeted his ex-girlfriend’s daughter’s dog,’ the document states. 

Police say Busico abducted Dixie from her home, after going there under the guise of wanting to offer the dog treats

Police say Busico abducted Dixie from her home, after going there under the guise of wanting to offer the dog treats 

Dixie was found badly burned and wander along a road on Monday night

Her owners recognized her from the news and called the police

Dixie was found badly burned and wander along a road on Monday night. Her owners recognized her from the news and called the police 

The woman’s grown daughter, who gave her name to KSL only as Trista, said it broke her heart to see her beloved dog covered in burns and clinging to life.

‘To take her out of someone’s backyard and light her on fire – it’s inhumane,’ she said.

Trista claimed that Busico had stopped by the house on Monday to ask about Dixie and offer her ‘treats,’ which seemed odd. 

The daughter left, and when she returned home later, both Busico and Dixie were gone.

The family called the police after seeing their scorched dog on the news and recognizing the description of a suspect as matching Busico.

When police tracked down Buscio to a relative’s home, the suspect reportedly tried to flee, but he was quickly caught. 

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