Man sentenced to 4 years in prison for burning dog

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The man who admitted to burning a dog alive has been sentenced to four years in prison.  Unfortunately, the pit bull had to be put down, but now, there’s hope that this harsh sentencing will make potential animal abusers think twice.

Zeus went missing from his north St. Louis home this past August.  When he was found in a neighbor’s yard, it was an awful, disturbing sight.

Humane Society of Missouri Veterinarian Dr. Julie Brinker explains, “He had been standing on coals or flames, his feet were the worst, the burns licked up his legs, and were on his head, he had melted collar on his neck.”

Seventy-five percent of Zeus’s face was burned, and all of his fur was singed.  With a heavy heart, Brinker determined that Zeus was too badly burned and had to be euthanized.

Animal Cruelty Task Force Director Mike Perkins says it's common for animal abusers to simply get probation, so the four-year prison term that 22 year-old Wesley Reid will serve is a step in the right direction.

“It’s a big victory for the animals that have been victims of abuse and neglect over the years,” says Perkins, “I would hope it sets a harsher precedent, and lets everybody know that if they going to be the perpetrators of these crimes, there are going to be ramifications involved.”

In this case, ramifications to match an exceedingly cruel crime.  Perkins explains, “He admitted to setting the dog on fire, and to initially watching the dog burn, and then walked away. And it was all over a $50 debt that was owed to him by the dog’s owner. So for $50, this animal had to pay its life.”

Perkins says the prison time isn't just because of Zeus; it's also to protect society from what animal abusers like Reid could be capable of: “It’s a heinous crime. And anybody that does that to an animal, what can they do to a person? So I think the judge was right on track with his sentencing.”

If you ever suspect that there’s been a crime committed against an animal, call the Humane Society’s Animal Cruelty Hotline, at (314) 647-4400.

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