On May 7, 2018, around 12:49 p.m., Tucson Police officers and members from the Tucson Fire Department (TFD) responded to multiple reports of smoke and flames coming from a residence in the 6900 block of E. Vernice St. TFD was first on scene and observed smoke and flames to the rear of the home.
One teenage resident sustained minor injuries. The family dog sustained burns and was initially transported to Valley Animal Hospital for care.
Officers arrived on scene and learned one adult female resident, identified as 39-year-old Dean Sherfield Finley, intentionally set fire to the dog and the home. Investigators from TFD and detectives from the Tucson Police Department responded to the scene to further the investigation. They learned Ms. Sherfield Finley had purchased two gallons of gasoline earlier in the morning and returned to the home. A family member noticed the dog appeared “wet.”
As the family member picked up the dog, Ms. Sherfield Finley lit the dog on fire. The family member was able to quickly put out the fire on the dog. Ms. Sherfield Finley then lit the southeast corner of the home on fire causing damage to the storage/laundry room. She was arrested for Arson of an Occupied Structure (Class 2 Felony), Criminal Damage (Class 4 Felony) and Animal Cruelty (Class 6 Felony). She was transported and booked into the Pima County Jail.
The dog, whose name is Lovely, was transferred to the Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) for further treatment. PACC advised Lovely has received specialized, around-the-clock care from their medical team, who is not only making her comfortable, but also helping her heal. The team has placed her on multimodal pain management, IV fluids and antibiotics to address her secondary infections, and changing her bandages daily, using topical creams, antimicrobial agents and a variety of bandage materials to assist with the various phases of wound healing. Shelter staff and volunteers have also stepped in to hand-feed Lovely to prevent her from moving more than necessary. “Lovely has a whole team of lifesavers behind her,” said PACC Director Kristen Auerbach.