Sheriff's officials said a man set a Kelly Road house on fire Friday after burglarizing it, killing two dogs that were inside.
Joseph Matthew Burnsed, 20, who also lived on Kelly Road, was arrested Friday on charges of burglary, first degree arson, and cruelty to animals, said Bulloch County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gene McDaniel.
Burnsed broke into the home of Brenda and Shane Forinash and took a video game console and related games, he said.
"He broke in, stole some items and set the house on fire to cover up the burglary," he said. "The dogs (which were in the house) died because of the fire."
Angel and Precious were more than just dogs, said Brenda Forinash, whose family lost everything to the fire. They were renting the home but had no renter's insurance.
"I left the house, and came home and the house was burned," she said Monday, still in a daze because of the tragic event. "They were asking me questions, like did anybody have a vendetta against me or had I seen anyone around the house .."
She had, in fact, seen Burnsed riding a bike nearby, and knew he was a neighbor who lived near her home.
Investigators told her an accelerant had been used and someone intentionally set the fire, she said. Witnesses told her Burnsed "stood outside and watched," she said, but McDaniel could not confirm that statement. However, he said witnesses told investigators Burnsed had " been hanging out near the house pretty much the whole morning."
Losing all their possessions was a blow, but losing the dogs — A Siberian husky and a husky mix — was losing family, Forinash said.
Two kittens were fortunate to have escaped the flames.
She had trouble describing how she and her family felt, knowing someone had intentionally set fire to their home, and killed the dogs
"All over a video game console and games," she said. "I'd gladly have given him money if he needed some, but for someone to do something like this ..."
The incident has left the Forinash family reeling. " We thought we had good neighbors," she said. "We're just in shock. It's going to be hard trusting people again, and that makes me sad."
Angel and Precious had been part of the family for about eight years, and the Forinash family celebrated the dogs' birthdays with cakes and gifts, and gave the Christmas gifts as well.
"The hardest part is , why did they have to die like that? It's a senseless act."
The family, including her son Chris Hall, have had trouble sleeping since the fire, she said. But the American Red Cross and friends, family and community members have stepped up to help, she said.
"Everywhere we go somebody is trying to help us," she said. "We are so thankful for that."
McDaniel said Burnsed was taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where he remains without bond.
Burnsed has a previous criminal record that includes a burglary charge and criminal damage to property charge stemming from the 2005 burglary of Time Saver #88 on Lakeview Road, he said.