It's a story that has people outraged: a dog in DeSoto County set on fire. Now we are hearing from the owner of that dog.
Larry Wallace said he is not responsible for the dog burning and wishes he could get her back.
Wallace says he loves the dog our viewers have come to know as "Hope."
Yet he kept her in conditions that make any animal lover's blood boil.
That's one of many reasons an animal rescue group of Hardee County took on the brunt of the bill that's coming from Hope's care.
“She'll have a better home,” Leigh Sockalosky of Hardee Animal Rescue Team said. “She'll live inside. She'll have the love and attention she's starving for.”
But Wallace says the dog, who he knows as “Queenie-Belle,” liked where she lived, and when she started escaping the little house built for her to stay, he put her in a different place chained down.
According to an incident report with the Arcadia police department, on March 20th police received a complaint of animal cruelty.
It states a child was playing nearby and saw smoke coming from the area the dog stayed and then noticed the dog on fire, rolling on the ground trying to put out the flames.
The child told police he saw Larry Wallace run around the house with water to put the fire out.
The report includes references of a gas can close by, and states when police responded there was a strong odor of gas coming from the shed and the speaker that was used as a barrier for the dog.
“I don't know what happened to the dog,” Wallace said.
He says the gas can was for a four-wheeler used by his granddaughter, but he doesn't know why police smelled fuel from the dog's living space.
No charges have been filed in this case.
The Marshal for the Arcadia Police Department, Matt Anderson, tells News Channel 8 they looked into whether the incident was intentional and whether the owner is mentally stable.
The case has now been handed over to the State Fire Marshal's Office. A spokesperson there says they can't comment about the case as it's an active investigation.
"Hope" is now in Tampa undergoing specialty treatment for her recovery at BluePearl Veterinary.
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