A South Carolina man is facing an ill treatment of animals charge after he allegedly set a pit bull puppy on fire in a church parking lot, police say.
Hykeem Golson, 21, apparently fled the scene after allegedly using “accelerant and other materials” to set the puppy on fire in the parking lot of Grace United Methodist Church on Saturday, Richland County Sheriff’s Department officials announced in a statement.
“Deputies discovered the puppy severely burned; deputies immediately rushed the puppy to an Animal Hospital … where the puppy succumbed to its wounds,” police said in the statement, adding that the dog was eight to 10 weeks old.
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Golson was arrested on Monday, according to the statement.
Officials said they identified Golson as a suspect after “questioning witnesses and acquaintances.”
Sheriff Leon Lott told ABC News 4 that Golson was arrested at Wellsprings Apartments and is now being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. A spokeswoman for the facility tells PEOPLE Golson has not entered a plea and has not obtained an attorney. He is expected to appear in court Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Grace United Methodist Church will hold a “Blessing of the Animals” gathering on Saturday with proceeds benefiting the Pawmetto Lifeline.