Virginia Beach, Va. - The Virginia Beach man accused of setting his dog on fire pleaded guilty on Monday.
Arthur Marques Vieira, 26, was charged with one count of felony Animal Cruelty, one count of misdemeanor Obstructing Justice and one count of misdemeanor Dumping Companion Animals on Private Property.
Vieira could face up to five years in prison and has been discharged from the Navy.
NewsChannel 3 reporter Stefania Okolie talked to Vieira's family, who said that Vieira has hurt animals all of his life and is seeing a psychiatrist that was not appointed by the state.
His dog Lucky, a female pit bull, was found burned to death on May 29th in a wooded area off Virginia Beach Boulevard near Birdneck Road.
In court on Thursday, an animal control officer said Vieira confessed to her “I burned her alive. I thought she was dead.”
The officer said when she first confronted Vieira, he lied and said he gave the dog away. Then, she says he changed his story, saying the dog ran away.
Eventually, he confessed.
According to the officer, Vieira told her Lucky attacked him, then he punched her in the face, muzzled her and hit her again in the stomach.
He also told her he thought Lucky was dead, so he put her in a box and brought her to the woods.
Veterinarians say Lucky suffered for several minutes while on fire before she went into shock and died.
Vieira’s case was continued. He will return to jail until his next court date in September.
Beth Baker, Public Affairs Officer for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, confirmed previously to NewsChannel 3 that Vieira is a Seaman assigned to Port Operations at Naval Station Norfolk.
He reported to Hampton Roads in April 2015 and was in the Navy since May 2009.
Several days after he was accused of setting the dog on fire, Vieira was picked up by the Navy for shoplifting at the Navy Exchange in Norfolk.
Captain Robert Clark, Commanding Officer of Naval Station Norfolk, took “appropriate administrative action” against Vieira, according to Baker.
Vieira's sentencing trial will be held in January. He remains in jail at this time.