Sheriff: Child confesses to purposely setting dog on fire in Mississippi

TATE COUNTY, Miss. — A troubling update on the case of a dog set on fire in North Mississippi last week.

Investigators in Tate County said a young child admitted to hurting the animal. The child is so young the child can’t even be charged with a crime under state law.

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FOX13 found out the case has frustrated law enforcement.

Sheriff Brad Lance said he was as outraged at the crime as anyone and he was taking the heat because there is nothing he can do.

Lance said a child admitted to setting fire to the dog named Buddy, who suffered extensive damage to its face. But under Mississippi law, he said no one under the age of 12 can be charged with a crime.

“I was ridiculed in regards to the law that we should be able to charge and we should be able to do this, but then again we didn’t write the law. The law might need to be looked at and it might need to be changed,” said Lance.

The sheriff said his office has done everything by law they can with the juvenile offender; he also said the child told investigators why he did it.

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“He did tell us why he did this terrible thing, but unfortunately I can’t comment on what was specifically said,” the sheriff said.

Lance added that the reward money never played into this. It was just hard detective work.

“The detectives worked hard on this case and they canvassed the neighborhood out there and developed information that led them to talk to this juvenile, there was no tip,” Lance said.

The sheriff said the boy’s parents were extremely concerned about what happened.

“The parent was cooperative with us and very concerned with their child and the nature of the offense and wanted the child to get counseling,” he said.

Had the suspect been an adult in this case, the sheriff said they could face up to three years in prison.

FOX13 spoke with people who live in the neighborhood where Buddy was found.

Tere Sadalton said many people are troubled with the news.

“It’s sad,” Sadalton said. “It makes me angry. Everybody in the neighborhood is very highly upset about it.”

Sadalton told FOX13 she doesn’t know much about the child’s family but they are new to the neighborhood.

She said they’ve been living here for a month or two.

“I know he’s young,” she said. “That don excuse you. How could you hurt like that an animal? I don’t care.”