Owner of burned Arcadia dog arrested - WFLA News Channel 8

Owner of burned Arcadia dog arrested

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Larry Wallace Larry Wallace
Hope Hope
Leigh Sockalosky with HART comforts Hope as she recovers from severe burns. Leigh Sockalosky with HART comforts Hope as she recovers from severe burns.

The story of Hope the dog captured hearts and had dog-lovers feeling frustrated.

Monday, the owner of the Arcadia dog, Larry Wallace, was arrested, and charged with arson and animal cruelty. Both charges are felonies. He was booked into the DeSoto County jail with no bond.

"It's good that he's going to be in a cage, that's where he needs to be," Lavetra Hampton said.

Those who believe in Hope are starting to believe in justice.

“It’s an ongoing conversation with everyone that I know as to how bad this dog was treated and how long it took to put him where he belongs,” Hampton added.

Back on March 20th Arcadia Police responded to a report that a dog, now affectionately known as Hope, was chained to a shed and set on fire.

A child told police he saw the owner, Larry Wallace, throw water on the dog to stop the flames. Investigators reported the dog's living area smelled of gasoline.

Larry Wallace talked to 8 On Your Side about what happened, denying what many suspected.

Back in March, police questioned Wallace but released him, infuriating those who dedicate their days helping those who can't help themselves.

"Seeing how innocent she is, she's like a child to us," Hardee Animal Rescue Team’s Leigh Sockalosky said.

Leigh Sockalosky is the leader of the pack rallying around Hope. Hope is still in intensive care at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa.

News of an arrest, Sockalosky said, is one big step in the right direction on a journey of recovery that's only beginning.

"I'm hoping that the justice system will serve some sort of punishment- but we have to leave it up to them. Hope didn't deserve this,” Sockalosky said.

No one at Larry Wallace’s house wanted to comment Monday afternoon.

Wallace is scheduled to be in court May 19th.

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