Man officially charged for setting dog on fire

Posted at 6:09 PM, Mar 09, 2021

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — The man accused of setting a dog on fire and abandoning it on a Magna road was officially charged Tuesday.

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Michael Paul Busico, 40, was charged with Arson, Torture of a Companion Animal, Theft, and Failure to Stop at Command of a Law Officer. The first three charges are felonies, while the fourth is a misdemeanor.

The Unified Police Department took Busico into custody on March 2, the day after the dog was found.

Busico allegedly stole the dog from the home of his ex-girlfriend, Trista Heywood, after visiting her house.

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Witnesses saw a man matching Busico's description fleeing the scene of the fire along North Frontage Road near Interstate 80. When the vehicle was later located, Busico attempted to flee when police arrived, but he was apprehended nearby.

The dog, Dixie, survived the incident and was taken to an animal hospital, but Heywood announced Monday her dog would have to be put down due to the severity of the injuries.