Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A puppy set on fire at a Columbia church has died, and now there is a reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest.
Sergeant Brittany Jackamonis with the Richland County Sheriff's Department says they are taking this as seriously as they would take a crime against another person.
"We live in a state where we love our animals," Jackamonis said, "animals are like our family."Jackamonis says the call they got on Saturday night was hard to stomach.
"There was a witness, a person, a bystander," Jackamonis said, "somebody that just [saw] something and basically [saw] what it looked liked to be fire and a yelping."The yelping turned out to be a puppy on fire in the parking lot of the Grace United Methodist Church on Harbison Boulevard in Columbia.
"This was an eight to ten week old, so very young, very still a baby," Jackamonis said.Jackamonis says the deputy who responded to the call said the sight almost brought her to tears.
"You can only imagine," Jackamonis said, "you have an eight to ten week old little baby pit bull that is basically burned to death, hanging on to dear life."Jackamonis says the deputy rushed the burned puppy to an animal hospital, but it was too late.
"Unfortunately the dog had to be put down due to its condition," Jackamonis explained, "very burned, very badly."The search is on for the suspect.
"We do know that the suspect left on foot, running in a different direction," Jackamonis said.Jackamonis says the suspect is a male. There a $2000 reward for anyone with information that leads to his arrest.
"We're making the reward a little bit more than we do for our regular Crimestoppers because this is animal cruelty," Jackamonis said.Cruelty that Jackamonis says won't go unpunished.
"We want to bring justice to that little puppy that life was taken," Jackamonis said.Jackamonis says the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.