Man who Adopts Dog From Craigslist, Burns Her Alive Receives Maximum Sentence

Man who Adopts Dog From Craigslist, Burns Her Alive Receives Maximum Sentence

Last May, a Virginia man bound the legs of a dog he had adopted off Craigslist, doused her with lighter fluid and burned her alive. Last week, a state court showed no tolerance for the horrific crime – it gave the man a 5-year prison term, the maximum allowed under state law.

Police were led to the previous owner by an implanted microchip, which survived the fire. They soon located the man responsible, Arthur Viera, who provided a series of contradictory statements under questioning before finally admitting guilt.

Examination of the dog’s remains indicated that the fire was the cause of death.

“I just want to say I’m sorry,” Viera told the court, “I can’t explain what I did.”

“Lucky was a living being with emotions, personality, and feelings – not a piece of property,” said the prosecutor, who added that it was hard for him to imagine a worse case of abuse.

The case is unusual because animal abusers in the U.S. are often granted leniency. This time, serious laws were in place, enforcement agencies responded aggressively, and the prosecutors and court system didn’t flinch.

But getting to this point is rare — and the first hurdle is enforcement. The National Sheriff’s Association recently pushed the FBI to create an animal abuse database partly because local enforcement officials often overlook such crimes. Officials now must report animal abuse as a felony in their monthly reports to the bureau, and the Association hopes that will elevate these incidents on local enforcement radar screens. According to the NSA’s deputy director, “[Before] when there was an animal crime, we would just send it over to animal control or ignore it.” But only a third of all U.S. enforcement agencies participate in the program, and the rate of increase has been slow.

The next hurdle is legal code. Animal abuse was not a felony in all 50 states until two years two years ago when North Dakota finally came around. But there is so much further to go. Many very serious abuse cases still fall into the misdemeanor category, in many states, and news stories of “misdemeanor animal cruelty” remain numerous and routine.

The last hurdle is the court system. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, understaffing, inexperience, and lack of evidence can make convictions hard to obtain, and district attorneys may pass them over for just those reasons. In response, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys’ first-ever conference on Prosecuting Animal Cruelty and Fighting was held in 2009, and special training sessions and a number of seminars on prosecution of animal cruelty are conducted, each year across the country. The tendency of many career criminals to begin (and continue) with animal abuse gives added incentive for prosecutors to attend.


Note: Please keep comments peaceful and family friendly.

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  1. PJ Calcaterra

    That should be his fate as well… Only not let it go until death. Just until he’s too burned to save but still conscious. Then he should be left there to die. Nothing is bad enough for an inhuman piece of crap like that man. No punishment is severe enough for this kind of cruelty.

    Reply Report comment
    • Karen

      I agree, he should get what he gave. An eye for an eye!!!

      Reply Report comment
    • Rhonda Morris

      Do the same to him…. if this country would give sticker punishment it would stop a lot more from doing the same ……eye for a eye .

      Reply Report comment
    • kristanti

      not enough for 5 yrs jail need put more fine in thousand dollars for any animal abuse and any kind of crime to any animal…

      Reply Report comment
    • Reaper 69

      That is too good for the bastard, I hope somebody or a group of somebodies is waiting for him when he gets out, to give him the kind of punishment he really deserves!

      Reply Report comment
    • brigitte st jean

      Too bad he does not ge the electrick chair.

      Reply Report comment
  2. cate shaw

    a big thankyou to the police and prosecution for bringing this case and prosecuting this excuse for a human being.

    Reply Report comment
  3. Tia

    They need to get harder sentences for animal cruelty what is 5 yrs to the life that dog could have had if it wasn’t for that jerk.

    Reply Report comment
  4. Crystal

    Uo here in Canada we have STUPID lenient laws. Only two years jail time( if it goes that far) and a ban on ownership of any animal for 5 years. I think the laws everywhere SHOUKD be stiffer even 5 years is not enough. These animals are living soles and have the right to be protected just like u and I

    Reply Report comment
  5. Heidi Bresilge

    At least he got 5 years. I feel it should be much more sever! That man is a menace to society~ a danger! He is a sick, warped, twisted and evil person! I hope he rots in jail!

    Reply Report comment
  6. maureen

    All I can say is, there is a special place in hell for this bastard.. I hope he dies a horrible death just like this poor little innocent creature did.. DROP DEAD YOU MONSTER

    Reply Report comment
  7. Soloing

    Often abusers start with animals and move onto children and women. He cant even explain why he did what he did. Is that what he will say in 10 years when he has killed a child?

    Reply Report comment
  8. Valerie

    Unfortunately that won’t bring back the life of the dog. I hope that man suffers for what he did. 🙁

    Reply Report comment
  9. Orlando Baquero

    Five years is not enough they should throw the book at him he’s an inhuman monster and should be made to pay for what he did there is no excuse. Fry his ass like he did the poor dog. Lock him up throw away the key.

    Reply Report comment
  10. Laurice Forstmann

    RIP Lucky she crossed the Rainbow bridge where she is loved treated as the good dog she was. Yes I hope this man get his karmic debt paid I hope that his fellow inmates do to him what he did to this poor animal. She was good and loving I’m sure he will pay in spades even if they don’t do anything g to him in prison. Whatever his life has been up till now won’t be the life he will live after prison. This is a felony he won’t be able to get a good job he best remember karma she is a b***h and she will make you pay until you owe no more!

    Reply Report comment
  11. Marie Jones

    He needs to be set on fire and left to die like he did that poor little dog. What a punk as hole. I hope he rots in HELL

    Reply Report comment
  12. Anette Hilburn

    When is Craigslist going to get a brain and a heart and quit letting people post any animal for any reason.

    Reply Report comment
  13. Lori Laureta-Fryar

    The guilty man should be set on fire so that he FEELS the pain that he caused on this poor innocent dog.
    At least he got the maximum sentence of 5 years!!!! Thank you justice!

    Reply Report comment
  14. Debbie Puckett

    He will be judged and punished by God

    Reply Report comment
    • Greensoan

      No long enough to me he need to go to jail for life.cut his kegs off burn him tied him to a,tree let bears,get him or wolf’s a,eye for a eye .

      Reply Report comment
  15. electra1

    The crocodile tears were only because he got caught…. This is a crime that cries out for ‘an eye for an eye’ justice. Lucky had no choice in her life, no chance to get away from him nor any say in what home she went to. This scumbag ought to pay the ultimate penalty for what he did to her in the same heinous way he made her suffer. She was innocent, but he is not. Also, craigslist needs to be shut down, and if not shut down, forced to end those darned ‘free to a good home’ ads, which have been responsible for many stories just like this one.

    Reply Report comment
  16. Dominique Barre

    I hope him “special treatment” in jail with other prisonners

    Reply Report comment
  17. Linda

    let’s hope he meets a lot of animal lovers in prison

    Reply Report comment
  18. Susanna Green

    Dear God,the man is a psychopath…should NEVER be let out?

    Reply Report comment
  19. anciene

    so in reality this sentence means he will be out in no time. they never the time. it is a joke. he needs to be thrown into the incinerator.

    Reply Report comment
  20. Laura S

    Craigslist should be stop offering animals period. Free or with a charge. Too many evil folks that do this kind of crap.

    Reply Report comment
  21. Bridget S.

    We need to start a petition to stop Craig’s List from having animal ads on their site. If enough people sign, it could make a difference.

    Reply Report comment
  22. Leissa Wages

    Oh, my God. I’m so sorry for Lucky and hope this bastard enjoys his time with the “big boys”.

    Reply Report comment
  23. S Mc Connell

    This man is a monster and should never be allowed a other animal Poor soul though she had found a loving home

    Reply Report comment
  24. Sarah

    It’s against CL rules to list pets. The person who listed the dog should also be charged. They violated the very clear rules against listing pets.

    If we start also punishing those who blatantly disregard the rules, then these FREE TO GOOD HOME animals will stop appearing in droves on CL.

    See a pet on CL? FLAG IT! Flag it over and over until it’s removed.

    Reply Report comment
  25. Kat Sullivan

    Torch him!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 years is not enough for the pain that poos baby suffered as she was dying, he deserves to fell what it feels like to be burned alive.

    Reply Report comment

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