Dog in critical condition after being set on fire is ‘a victim of domestic violence,’ advocates say

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay the dog’s medical bills.

A dog that was lit on fire and set loose near a Utah freeway is not doing well, according to animal services.

Although Salt Lake County Animal Services originally said the dog, named Dixie, was expected to survive, a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday said Dixie is in critical condition and suffering from second- and third-degree burns to most of her body.

Dixie was taken from her home on Monday. A man allegedly took her to the area of 9500 W. Frontage Road just north of Interstate 80 and set her on fire, according to a probable cause statement from police. The man and his ex-girlfriend were apparently in a dispute about money and their relationship. Dixie belongs to the ex-girlfriend’s daughter.

Pending formal charges, the man was booked into the Tooele County jail for investigation of torture of a companion animal, criminal trespass, theft and arson, according to the probable cause statement. He is being held without bail — according to police, he poses “a substantial threat” to the two women.

Thursday’s statement, released in partnership with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, says “Dixie is a victim of domestic violence.”

Liz Sollis, spokesperson for the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, said in the statement that studies have linked violence against animals to violence against humans.

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

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Dixie’s medical bills. According to the fundraiser page, her kidneys are failing and her owners want to try putting her on dialysis but say they can’t afford it.

Even if she survives, Dixie will likely lose both her ears and might lose her eyes.

“Please keep praying, we would love to bring her home and still have her be a part of our family no matter what condition she is, as long as she does not suffer any more than she already has,” reads the GoFundMe page.

As of 5:20 p.m. Thursday, the $5,000 goal had nearly been met.

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