Mississippi sheriff ‘frustrated as anyone’ child can’t be charged with intentionally setting dog on fire

Buddy the dog ‘doing better than ever expected’, according to Tunica Humane Society
Buddy the dog is receiving special care from a team of doctors and the Tunica Humane Society...
Buddy the dog is receiving special care from a team of doctors and the Tunica Humane Society after being intentionally set on fire.(Tunica Humane Society)
Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:12 AM CDT
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TATE COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - The Tunica Humane Society gave a positive update Thursday on Buddy the dog as he recovers from being intentionally set on fire last week.

“From this moment forward, I am going to concentrate on sharing Buddy’s journey back to life,” reads a post on the Human Society’s Facebook page. “That is where we will get our victory.”

The Humane Society writes “Buddy is holding strong...soaking up all the love” he’s receiving after his story went viral.

“He is a stellar patient and doing better than ever expected,” reads the post.

I want to make something very clear this morning. There will be NO REWARD paid in Buddy's case. There were no tips...

Posted by Tunica HumaneSociety on Thursday, April 29, 2021

Buddy, a Labrador retriever mix, was found last week in Tate County with severe burns to his face and an extension cord wrapped around his neck. The sheriff’s office announced they had a confession Wednesday from a child, but because Mississippi state law prevents children younger than 12 from being criminally charged, the case would go no further.

“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 on Facebook Thursday. “...Our investigators worked hard on this case and they also are frustrated. We didn’t write the laws of our state.”

Outrage was quick to follow on social media and by phone after the sheriff’s office announced no one would be charged in Buddy’s case.

BREAKING: The sheriff's office says a child younger than 12 confessed to setting Buddy the dog on fire. The child will not face criminal charges.

Posted by WMC Action News 5 on Wednesday, April 28, 2021

“If this offender had been an adult, they would be sitting in jail facing up to three years in state prison and I would be able to release almost every detail of the case,” writes Lance. “While I can tell everyone that things are being done regarding this juvenile, I am prohibited from releasing details.”

As for Buddy, the Humane Society says he’s getting special care from a team of doctors at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The Humane Society says they received some good news about Buddy’s recovery. It appears Buddy’s may still have some vision and damage to his eyes can be surgically corrected.

“My heart is overflowing with gratitude to the thousands of people that have reached out to the Tunica Humane Society over the last few days,” reads the Humane Society’s post. “Sending their love and prayers to Buddy. Sending their money to help heal him. Sending their support to all of us that are fighting so hard to save this sweet dog.”

Buddy is shown here before his injuries.
Buddy is shown here before his injuries.(MSU veterinary college)

Buddy is receiving round-the-clock care at MSU CVM’s ICU. His care team says he’s in good spirits, eating and wagging his tail, giving kisses to everyone he meets. He’s medicated to control his pain and will receive his first skin graft Friday.

“The main concern will be ensuring that he does not develop infection,” said Dr. Elizabeth Swanson, associate professor and veterinary surgeon. “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 Buddy’s vital signs are good but he is at “the bottom of a tall mountain to be climbed.”

“We are keeping him comfortable, changing his bandages, and managing any problems as they arise,” said Swanson. “Burns can take several days to fully manifest, so we are still assessing the full extent of damage.”

To donate to the Tunica Humane Society, visit their website at

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