Arson suspect faces new charges over dead animals

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A man accused of intentionally setting a fire in Phoenix, Oregon, that contributed to the Almeda fire now faces added charges over the deaths of eight animals including a goldfish. The Mail Tribune reports Michael Bakkela appeared in court Friday on eight counts of animal abuse over animals that allegedly perished in the portion of the fire police say he set, according to a filing from the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had argued that “cruelty to animals charges must not be lost in this fire.” It wasn’t immediately known if Bakkela has a lawyer. He is being held in the Jackson County Jail on over $5 million bail.