CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Man sentenced for animal torture, arson after setting dog on fire

Jul 18, 2022, 9:32 AM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:20 am
Dixie the dog is pictured. She was the dog set on fire by Busico....
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 — Last Wednesday a judge sentenced a Tooele man to one to 15 years in prison for arson and up to five additional years for torturing an animal. 41-year-old Michael Paul Busico was convicted of arson and torture of a companion animal in May after setting a dog on fire in 2021.

In a press release on Friday, Salt Lake County Animal Services expressed satisfaction with the sentencing. 

“The outcome of this case is a huge win for pets in Utah. This is a step in the right direction and emphasizes that animals cannot be tortured to manipulate and hurt other humans. Salt Lake County Animal Services hopes that these strict penalties will deter future animal and domestic abuse cases,” said Salt Lake County Animal Services Division Director Talia Butler.

The press release said that Dixie, the dog Busico attacked, was a 4-year-old Red Heeler. Animal Services said she suffered second and third-degree burns in the attack and had to be euthanized due to her injuries.

Dixie’s owner, Trista Heywood, is Busico’s ex-girlfriend’s daughter. Last year Heywood said she believed Busico hurt Dixie as revenge for the breakup between him and her mother.

Heywood previously said, “I just hope he rots for doing something like this because if [he] could do it to an animal, he could have done it to my baby.”

According to court documents, Busico’s sentences will run consecutively, meaning he could serve up to 20 years in prison for his crimes.

Related: Keeping pets safe during firework season

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
1 day ago
SLCPD said the driver is fully cooperating with the investigation and the children received non-lif...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD makes arrest connected to fatal stabbing case

SLCPD announced the arrest of 26-year-old Ivy Chase Grant today. Grant was booked into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of obstruction of justice. 
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police say three sticks of dynamite were safely removed from a house this week by it...
Mark Jones

Three sticks of dynamite removed from Salt Lake City home

Three sticks of dynamite were removed from a Salt Lake City home on Wednesday, the SLCPD announced. The dynamite have been seized for investigation.
2 days ago
defraud...
Britt Johnson

Utah County men facing charges for defrauding the United States

The claims state that Zachary Bassett and Mason Warr used a fraudulent tax scheme to receive COVID-19-related relief funds.
2 days ago
Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at...
Katie McKellar, Deseret News

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?

Rep. Kera Birkeland says her bill focuses on rape victim services and holding rapists accountable. But her sister, a rape survivor, says it strips away choices.
2 days ago
On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered se...
Elizabeth Weiler

Missing girl from Arizona found in West Valley basement

On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered sex offender. 
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Man sentenced for animal torture, arson after setting dog on fire