On Monday, a 27-year-old Virginia man pled guilty to the shocking torture death of his own dog, an act of cruelty that a veteran animal controller officer called “one of the worst cases” she had ever seen.
The charred remains of the dog, a pit bull named Lucky, were first discovered by firefighters responding to a small brush fire in May.
After the fire was put out, the dog’s body, nylon rope, a muzzle and a can of lighter fluid were found at the scene, The Virginian-Pilot reports. Investigators later determined Lucky had been burned alive.
Using a microchip recovered from Lucky’s body, authorities were able to track down the dog’s owner, 27-year-old Arthur M. Vieira, who reportedly adopted Lucky off Craigslist after her previous family could no longer afford to care for the dog.
According to police, Vieira initially said he had given the dog away, and then that she had run away, before finally admitting he’d tied Lucky’s feet together, muzzled her snout, doused her with lighter fluid and set her on fire. Vieira then claimed he had punched Lucky after she bit him, and burned her body thinking she was dead, WTVR reports.
“I can’t even begin to comprehend why somebody would do something like this. I don’t think any of us can,” animal control officer Meghan Conti told WVEC in August. “If a person’s capable of taking a living, breathing animal and torturing it in this manner, what else are they capable of doing?”
Vieira now faces up to seven years in prison on charges of felony animal cruelty, misdemeanor obstructing justice and misdemeanor dumping companion animals on private property. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 13.