A pitbull is again the victim of a sick piece of scum’s warped mentality.  Earlier this month, Travis Bradford, 20, near Natchez, MS, tied his 1-year-old female pitbull to a tree in a neighbor’s yard, poured flammable liquid on her and set her ablaze.

Hattie Smith who lived at the residence saw something going on in her yard, a man burning something,  but she didn’t know what he was burning at first.

“But it was screaming and barking and crying,” she said. “It was terrible.”

Horrified, she called the police and confronted Bradford, told him to extinguish the flames.

“He just looked so full of rage, and he screamed that he didn’t know it was my property,” she said. “He’s very disturbed.”

Bradford then beat out the flames with his shirt, grabbed the severely injured dog and took off. Police found him at his home shortly thereafter.

The dog, taken to a local vet had to be humane euthanized and at court last week Nan Garrison, VP of the Natchez-Adams Humane Society, choking back tears, talked about the dog.

“Lighter fluid went all over her head, down in her ears, down in her mouth and down in her eyes,” Garrison said. “I was just sitting here thinking about this and I know it sounds selfish, but we pay a price for seeing that kind of thing done to animals. It haunts you.”

Although Bradford offered a note of apology to the court he never did offer any explanation for his cruel, horrific actions that took the life of an innocent creature.

Unfortunately in Mississippi, the crime could only be prosecuted as a misdemeanor and even the judge spoke up about the atrocity and the need for stricter penalties for abusing pets as he sentenced Bradford to the max of 6 months jail and a $1000 fine.

“It is one of the most horrific things that I’ve ever had to deal with and I’ve been a judge for almost 20 years,” said Adams County Justice Court Judge Charlie Vess. “It’s just unfortunate with our laws that something like this is a misdemeanor and it should be a felony.”

“You can steal a man’s dog and that’s a felony, but you tie a dog to a tree and burn it and that’s a misdemeanor,” Adams County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Gerald Mooney added. “Half its tongue had been burned off.”

I applaud Judge Vess for imposing the maximum sentence that he could and that both he and the Sheriff’s Department Investigator stood up and acknowledged that need for stricter laws for animal abuse crimes.

The sentence, although scant justice for the vicious crime, is the best that could come of this but hopefully this will galvanize law makers, animal advocates and the public to push for stronger laws for real justice. As for Bradford, maybe he’ll make a new friend or two even in jail that will teach him a little about justice. We can only hope.

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