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Dixie the dog to be put down, animal abusers penalties not stiff enough
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Family announces they’ll say goodbye to Dixie, a dog burned for revenge

FILE: The family of a dog that police say was tortured says they had to put her down. Photo credit: Trista Dawn Heywood

SALT LAKE CITY — The family Dixie, a dog who police say was the victim of torture will say goodbye to the dog.

Veterinaries are keeping Dixie alive according to an email from Trista Dawn Heywood. But Heywood said that her “levels have done down, and those are improving. But the surgery’s (sic) that she needs to her eyes, ears, and abdomen are going to be very hard on her.”

Heywood said that Dixie’s veterinarians had given the dog 12 to 18 months to live. Dixie would continually be in and out of the veterinary hospital during that time.

“She will not have a good quality of life and she would not be able to go outside and do the things a regular dog is suppose (sic) to do and be capable of,” Heywood said.

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

Dixie was found by the side of I-80

Unified Police found Dixie, a female red tick heeler, near 9400 West and the North Frontage Road on I-80. At that time, Dixie was reportedly wandering in an area of brush that had also caught fire.

Animal control officers with Salt Lake County determined the dog had second-degree burns on her face and other burns across her body.

The police took Dixie to Salt Lake Animal Services. Later, the agency put out a request on social media asking for help identifying the dog and her family.

Dixie’s family reportedly saw the dog on the news and called the police to claim her. Trista Heywood has been speaking on behalf of the family.

Later, a West Valley City man was arrested and accused of stealing and then burning Dixie, his girlfriend’s dog.  Michael Busico is in jail on suspicion of felony animal cruelty for torture of a companion animal. Dixie is a victim of domestic violence according to Salt Lake County Animal Services.

“The acts of violence committed against Dixie are horrific and should be taken very seriously,” said Liz Sollis, Utah Domestic Violence Coalition spokesperson. “Studies regularly indicate a direct link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. These are acts of power and control.

“What happened to this dog could and has happened to victims of domestic violence. If anyone is witnessing or experiencing abuse or violence, including abuse or violence of pets, victim service providers are here for them 365 days a year.”

Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or by visiting this webpage.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, call 911.