No trial for man accused of burning Arcadia dog, Hope - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

No trial for man accused of burning Arcadia dog, Hope

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Leigh Sockalosky is Hope's new owner. Leigh Sockalosky is Hope's new owner.
DESOTO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Remember Hope, the Arcadia dog who suffered burns on more than 70 percent of her body and won the hearts of many after she was set on fire? Her former owner, who is accused of dousing her shed with gasoline and setting her on fire, has been declared incompetent to stand trial.

During Thursday's court proceeding, two doctors came to the same conclusion about Larry Wallace’s mental health. They say he is incompetent with no chance of improving. They also say he is not a danger to himself or other people and he can take care of himself with the help of those who live with him.

Because of these decisions, Assistant State Attorney for the 12th Judicial District Cliff Ramey said the law left the court with only one option, to release Wallace with conditions.

Wallace will not be allowed to possess an animal and he must also be supervised by family for one year.

Wallace will have another medical evaluation in four months and a hearing shortly after to determine if he fits the criteria to be Baker Acted. At this time, Ramey said, Wallace does not meet the criteria.

The news comes very hard for those who have supported Hope over the last few months. Hope's new oener, Leigh Sockalosky, who stood by Hope during her stay in intensive care, was in tears on Thursday as she described what her next steps are.

“I am calling the state representatives, I am calling Governor Rick Scott. I want to know what channels I need to go through to change the laws in this county and in this state with animal abuse,” Sockalosky said.

She said her efforts are important for Hope and the other abused animals out there.

“She’s not the only one that suffers. And there are more people that do this to animals in this state and they do it to people.

While Larry Wallace is prohibited from having animals, Sockalosky wonders how that will be enforced. Right now, it’s up to family members and a designated neighbor to see that Wallace follows the rule. Sockalosky believes it should be an outside party to make sure the restrictions are being met.

“I have fears of what he might do next,” she said.“

Even though he was ordered to not be around animals who's going to stop him? Who's going to watch him? Who's gonna know?” she said.

Watch News Channel 8 at six tonight, we visit Hope and we'll show you how she's recovering.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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