Pit bull dog burning death reward exceeds $10,000 for arrest

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. -- The Riviera Beach dog who was killed after being tethered to a fence and set on fire continued to generate massive public outrage on Monday.

A week after authorities say the pit bull was killed, several groups have pledged thousands of dollars in reward money. That dollar amount continued to grow on Monday.

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control said the reward money for information leading to an arrest has risen above $10,000.

After two animal care groups pledged a combined total of $5,000, the county animal control unit said it has received a flurry of phone call from people wanting to donate more money.

"We've seen a lot of support over different cases but for it to reach a national level with donations specific to a reward, this is unprecedented for us," said David Walesky of the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.

Walesky said while leads in the case remain slim, interest in donations continued to pour into the office.

Palm Beach Gardens resident and dog owner Herb Sigel is one of those people wanting to help. Sigel is pledging $5,000.

"Just the thought of that dog dying like that, it's enough for me to put up the $5,000," said Sigel.

Sigel hopes his donation will be enough to push someone to turn in whoever is responsible. His donation will add to a reward that has already climbed above $10,000, much more than the $1,000 average seen for people.

"They might assume when acts of crime happen against people that people have voices, whereas animals don't," said Dr. Catherine Bush, a psychologist at Northwood University.

Dr. Bush said some people feel more compelled to help animals over people and relate more to the bond with their pets.

"That unconditional love is a little bit different from the complications of a human relationship," said Dr. Bush.

Sgt. Jim DeFago with the Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers said the high reward for the killed pit bull does not surprise him.

"Animals and children generate a lot of interest, a lot of concern, because they can't protect themselves," said Sgt. DeFago.

Sgt. DeFago said it is not that animal related crimes are more serious, but he said there are far more "adult-on-adult" crimes.

Sigel agrees and cannot image anything happening to his four-legged companion.

"They're really defenseless. There's no better friend than a dog," said Sigel.

The county said it has yet to receive the substantial information that could lead to an arrest.

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