Child accused of intentionally setting dog on fire won't be charged, police say

Tunica Humane Society

A child has reportedly confessed to intentionally setting a dog on fire in north Mississippi, but authorities said the suspect can’t be charged.

Buddy was found last week in Tate County with severe burns to his face and an extension cord wrapped around his neck. The Tate County Sheriff’s Office said it had a confession in the case Wednesday from a child, but because state law prevents children younger than 12 from being criminally charged, the case will go no further, WMC-TV reported.

"We are just as frustrated as anyone that more cannot be done through the justice system regarding the juvenile in this case," Sheriff Brad Lance wrote Thursday in a Facebook post. "Our investigators worked hard on this case and they also are frustrated. We didn’t write the laws of our state."

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Buddy, a Labrador retriever mix, is currently receiving care at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.


Tunica Humane Society

"We are keeping him comfortable, changing his bandages and managing any problems as they arrive," said Dr. Elizabeth Swanson, an associate professor and veterinary surgeon. "Burns can take several days to fully manifest, so we are still assessing the full extent of damage."

The Tunica Humane Society said in a post also on Facebook that Buddy is recovering well from the attack. It appears the dog may still have some vision and damage to his eyes that can be surgically corrected, the agency said.

"Buddy is holding strong...soaking up all the love," the agency said. "He is a stellar patient and doing better than ever expected."

The dog’s care team at MSU said their main concern is making sure that he doesn’t develop infection.

"Things can change rapidly in this situation and we are doing everything we can to stay on top of any problems that may arise and to provide him with the very best care," Swanson said.

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The Humane Society also expressed frustration that there apparently will be no criminal consequences as a result of the child’s actions.

"From this moment forward, I am going to concentrate on sharing Buddy’s journey back to life," the post said. "That is where we will get our victory."

Lance said had the offender been an adult, he would be facing up to three years in prison.

"While I can tell everyone that things are being done regarding this juvenile, I am prohibited from releasing details," the sheriff said.