Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Grace United Methodist Church in Columbia held a blessing of the pets and prayer service on Saturday to turn a heartbreaking incident into an opportunity to make a difference. One week ago to the day, a puppy was set on fire in their parking lot.

"This is holy ground, I mean this is consecrated ground," said Murray Snow, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church.

The puppy was burned so badly on the property, it had to be put down. The news rocked the congregation.

"To find out that somebody could do that to a defenseless animal, it's heart wrenching," said Susan Ware-Snow, the pastor's wife.

Snow decided that the ground burdened with the act of cruelty, would be the ground chosen for an act of compassion. He invited dog owners to the church and held a blessing of the pets and prayer service.

"We want this event to be what defines our response as the people of Harbison, as the people of Grace United Methodist Church," Snow said.

Dogs in bows, dogs in clothes, and dogs that were a little hard to hold were prayed over and blessed.

"We had to do something. because you know, this is God's property," Ware-Snow said.

"We were so glad to hear that the church had decided to do this blessing of the animals," said Libba Ulery, a rescue facilitator with Pawmetto Lifeline.

Ulery says this was one of the worst animal abuse cases she had ever heard of.

"I think this puts a positive spin on something that the community needed," Ulery said.

"God can bring something good out of the worst circumstances," Snow said.

"God's presence is here," Ware-Snow said, "He's here with us today."