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'Lovely' the dog dies after being doused with gas, burned

A Tucson dog named "Lovely" died Sunday morning after being treated by veterinarians here and in Scottsdale. She was doused with gasoline and set on fire by a woman who also burned part of her family home earlier this month, authorities said.

Lovely had been treated for burns and infections at the Pima Animal Care Center, and was taken to a vet in Scottsdale for specialized treatment on Friday.

She "went into cardiac arrest early this morning and the vets were unable to save her," PACC Director Kristen Auerbach said Sunday. 

Lovely had been "kept stable by our medical team who has been taking her home at night to provide round-the-clock care," Auerbach said. The dog was driven to Scottsdale on Friday by PACC volunteer Mike Ingram (father of TucsonSentinel.com journalist Paul Ingram).

A Tucson woman faces multiple felony charges in the case, authorities said earlier in the week.

Dean Sherfield Finley, 39, was arrested after Tucson Fire Department personnel and Tucson police responded to a house fire May 7, authorities said.

Investigators were told that Sherfield Finley had "purchased two gallons of gasoline earlier in the morning and returned to the home," said a Tucson Police Department spokeswoman.

"A family member noticed the dog appeared 'wet.' As the family member picked up the dog, Ms. Sherfield Finley lit the dog on fire," Sgt. Kimberly Bay said.

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"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," Bay said.

Responding to reports of smoke and flames coming from the house around 12:49 p.m. last Monday, "TFD was first on scene and observed smoke and flames to the rear of the home" in the 6900 block of East Vernice Street, near South Kolb and East Stella roads, Bay said.

One teenaged resident of the home received minor injuries in the blaze, which took 21 firefighters from 10 units about 13 minutes to bring under control, Bay said.

"The family dog sustained burns and was initially transported to Valley Animal Hospital for care," Bay said.

The dog, named Lovely, was transferred to the Pima Animal Care Center for further treatment.

From TPD's Bay:

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's Auerbach said earlier in the week. "This little dog has a tragic story and potentially life-threatening injuries, but we’re going to do everything we can to save her and show her she is loved."

Sherfield Finely was arrested for Arson of an Occupied Structure (class 2 felony), Criminal Damage (class 4 felony) and Animal Cruelty (class 6 felony), and booked into the Pima County Jail, Bay said.

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courtesy Kristen Auerbach