An owner whose dog was badly hurt after being set on fire wants the dog back. According to NBC-2, he is the same man accused of lighting her on fire.
The dog, who has become known by the name of Hope, was severely burned last week and has been undergoing care at BluePearl Veterinary in Tampa.
Larry Wallace, the dog’s owner, claims he did not set his dog on fire, whom he knows by the name of “Queenie-Belle.”
“I don't know what happened to the dog,” Wallace said.
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An incident report with the Arcadia police department reportedly states that police previously received a complaint of animal cruelty.
A child who was playing near Wallace’s home saw smoke coming from the dog’s area, and then noticed that the dog on fire. When he approached the scene, the dog was rolling on the ground, trying to put out the flames.
The child told police that Wallace ran to the dog with water to put the fire out, reports WFLA.
Wallace claims he does not know why police smelled fuel from the dog’s living space, but police reportedly did find a gas can close-by that Wallace said was used for his granddaughter’s four-wheeler.
NBC-2 reports a conflicting story to that of the police incident report.
Kristine Martin says her children saw a man throw a cigarette on the dog after dousing her in gasoline. Martin then called for help.
"My only concern was to get that dog help. That was it," said Martin.
A family friend of Wallace, George Goloman, Jr., said, “there's more information than what was made at the beginning.”
Goloman says Wallace has Alzheimer’s and would never light his dog on fire. He also said Wallace has trouble understanding why the dog is now gone from his home.
"For him to be the type of person he is, I don't feel like he should be getting blamed for this. I truly don't feel like he did that," said Golloman.
Wallace says he loves the dog and wants her back.
Hardee Animal Rescue intends to find her a new owner.
“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.”
Wallace claims the dog 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.”
Charges have not been filed against Wallace and the investigation is ongoing by the State Fire Marshall’s Office.