Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arcadia man arrested, accused of setting his dog on fire (w/video)

ARCADIA — The owner suspected of setting his dog on fire last month is in custody.

Larry Wallace, 66, of 149 Harris Road in Arcadia, was booked into the DeSoto County Jail on Monday. He faces charges of arson and animal abuse, both felonies. A court date is scheduled for May 19.

A warrant was issued by the state attorney's office for Wallace's arrest, Arcadia police Lt. Gary Evans said. He was arrested at his home, which he shares with about three relatives. Evans said Wallace was compliant, but surprised at the arrest.

Wallace owned the dog for less than a year, and there are initial reports of juveniles stating the dog was on fire. No other animals were found at the home.

Evans said Wallace made a comment to a television reporter about wanting the dog back, but no official statement has been made to police.

Wallace's dog, Hope, has been recovering at Blue Pearl veterinary hospital in Tampa since she was burned on March 20. The Shar-Pei mix puppy suffered severe scarring around her groin, burns in both corneas and lost a significant amount of weight and muscle. Half of her body was torched by third-degree burns.

As veterinarians wrapped Hope in full-body, cow-print bandages on Tuesday, she showed signs of significant improvement as tender pink tissue crept back into her thick black fur coat. After months of medication and therapy, Hope is expected to make a full recovery.

When Hope's corneas burned, they filled with fluid and began melting, said Dr. Tammy Miller-Michau, the dog's ophthalmologist. In her first week at Blue Pearl, Hope got eye drops every hour around the clock due to concerns about both eyes rupturing.

While she has some scarring, Hope has made strides in her vision, Miller-Michau said. She described Hope's current vision as foggy, like looking through a snowstorm.

"She will be able to easily chase toys and chase squirrels, but she probably won't be able to read a newspaper or drive a school bus," she joked.

Hope may be able to go home to her local vet in Arcadia as soon as next week in the care of Leigh Sockalosky, office manager at Hardee Animal Clinic in Wauchula and president of Hardee Animal Rescue Team.

Sockalosky, 44, drives more than two hours round trip every day to check on Hope in the hospital. She packs two orthopedic beds, donated blankets and toys just for Hope.

Hope was the name given by Sockalosky.

"She teaches that no matter what you're going through, there's hope at the end," she said. "Don't give up. It's not as bad as it always seems."

Her reaction to Wallace's arrest: "We're relieved for Hope."

Anyone interested in donating to Hope's care can make donations to the nonprofit Hardee Animal Rescue Team via its website,

Arcadia man arrested, accused of setting his dog on fire (w/video) 04/15/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]
  2. Hurricane Maria's winds hit 175 mph as it aims at Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria barreled toward Puerto Rico on Tuesday night after wreaking widespread devastation on Dominica and leaving the small Caribbean island virtually incommunicado. …

    A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. Hillsborough School Board approves 2017-18 budget


    TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday approved a budget of $2.83 billion for the 2017-18 school year.

    Photo illustration. []
  4. All Eyes photo gallery: 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 79, collapses buildings in Mexico


    A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 79 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped. The quake came less than two weeks after another quake left 90 dead in the country's south, and it …

    Rescuers work on a collapsed building on Amsterdam Avenue in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck, Sept. 19, 2017. Dozens have been reported killed across the country, including 42 in the state of Morelos, close to the epicenter of the quake, and at least 20 buildings in Mexico City have collapsed. (Adriana Zehbrauskas/The New York Times) XNYT169
  5. Rays video tribute to ex-manager Joe Maddon upon return with Cubs


    Here is the Rays video tribute to former manager Joe Maddon, who returned to the Trop for the first time on Tuesday with his Cubs team: