One bright spot in the sad story of Socks the Chihuahua, who died horribly as a result of being doused with flammable liquid and set it on fire by his meth-head owner, is that charges against that owner have been elevated to felony-level charges.
Police in Lucedale, Mississippi, received a 911 call on May 23, 2013, around 7:30 p.m. about Brandon Pierce, 20, “going psycho while crazy on meth,” and setting his dog on fire. The caller has not been identified, though Pierce was living with his family at the time. Once inside the home, deputies quickly located Pierce, who was reportedly in his room acting “erratically,” saying that he “wanted to help the dog go to heaven,” according to George County Sheriff Dean Howell.
The dog turns out to have been his five-year-old pet Chihuahua named Socks, whom he admitted to having doused with an accelerant and set on fire. The dog was badly burned, but alive. The George County Animal Clinic was willing to try to save Socks, who had had the tip of his nose burned away, and, had he survived, would have lost his sight and a leg, but despite their efforts, Socks did not make it. Follow this link for a GRAPHIC photo of Socks, whose most severe burns were hidden by a towel. A representative from the animal clinic was quoted by WLOX as saying, “This dog is as bad as we have ever seen for a dog that has been burned and is still alive.”
Pierce was treated at a local hospital and arrested on two outstanding warrants for failure to appear, one in connection with stabbing his mother, the other for pot possession. He was also charged with one count of animal cruelty — initially, but according to investigators, this is not the first time that Pierce had been arrested for animal cruelty.
In Mississippi misdemeanor animal cruelty is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or six months in jail. On May 24 the George County Sherriff’s Office announced that the animal cruelty charge against Pierce had been elevated to aggravated animal cruelty, which is a felony. Felony animal cruelty charges would carry up to a $5,000 fine and from one to five years in prison.
Pierce is being held in the George County Jail.