Man Who Burned Dog to Death Over $50 Debt Sentenced to Four Years


Wesley Reid.
  • Wesley Reid.

Zeus' killer is going to jail.

Yesterday, Wesley Reid pleaded guilty to felony charges of animal abuse and knowingly burning for the death of the three-year-old pit bull back in August 2013. According to the circuit attorney's office, Reid believed Zeus' owner owed him $50, so he doused the dog with gasoline, lit a match and dropped it. Zeus, who was tied to a fence, couldn't escape the flames.

"This dog wasn't hit by a car. This wasn't an injury he sustained running down the block. This is something that someone intentionally did -- it is just unforgivable," Mike Perkins, director of the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force, told Daily RFT at the time.

See also: Another Dog Burned Dead in St. Louis, Humane Society Offers Reward; "Just Unfathomable"

So extensive were Zeus' injuries that veterinarians ultimately decided to humanely euthanize him. The animal had endured third-degree burns on 75 percent of his head and 30 percent of the rest of his body.

In court yesterday, Reid opted to take a four-year prison term instead of 120 days of "shock incarceration" in the Missouri Department of Corrections followed by probation.

Reid, nineteen, was already on probation for leaving the scene of an accident in St. Louis County when he was arrested and charged in October. The probable-cause report stated that Reid even sent a text to the Zeus' owner that "suggested that the defendant purposed to set fire to the dog."

Along with a press release announcing the sentencing, the Circuit Attorney's Office's released a video yesterday with reactions to the judgement from HSMO's Perkins and Assistant Circuit Attorney Anna Kratky.

(WARNING: The video includes a GRAPHIC PHOTO of the injured Zeus.)

See also: Randy Grim On Animal Cruelty Task Force: "We're Making Huge Progress"

Zeus' death shook St. Louis for its cruelty, but sadly, it wasn't the first time we'd heard of a dog being horribly burned: In July 2013, just two months before Zeus' death, a dog named Brownie had been discovered chained to a fence and torched over most its body. Adrienne Martin, Brownie's owner, was charged with felony animal abuse.

Martin, who disputes those charges, is due in court on Monday.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at

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