RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Authorities are trying to find the man who set a pit bull on fire in a Richmond park Sunday night. 

Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) said the male brindle pit bull with a camo collar was tied to a pole in Abner Clay Park on West Clay Street at about 7:30 p.m., covered in accelerant and intentionally set on fire. 

“The idea that someone wants to cause pain on something that just wants to love and be loved, it’s not good,” Richmonder Tony Rolando said.

Witnesses saw an adult male suspect wearing multiple layers of pants run from the scene towards Belvidere Street.

“Right across the street is the fire department, and they essentially just opened up the bay doors and they saw and ran across the street with fire extinguishers, and I’m sure it’s really the only reason he’s alive today,” RACC Director Christie Peters said.

The pit bull, who RACC has named Tommie, is currently being treated for burns to over 40 percent of his body at Virginia Veterinary Centers.

“We are optimistic, we’re hopeful that his body will be able to fight everything that is happening to it,” Peters added.

“We see suffering every single day at different levels, but things like this they really do sort of take a bigger toll.” — RACC Director Christie Peters

Ellen Harvey lives in the area and frequently walks her two pit bull mixes near where the incident happened multiple times a day. 

“I think it’s absolutely horrendous, it’s one of the worst crimes that could happen,” she said. “We’re trying to attract families, this is not something you want to portray as something that’s a normal activity that happens in the neighborhood.”

“We are all hoping that we might be able to save him. Please consider making a donation to our RACC Foundation towards the cost of his vet care … it will be a long and expensive road to recovery for this sweet dog,” RACC said on Facebook.

Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or submit your tip through the 3PTips. 

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