UPDATED: This case is now pending Grand Jury review for indictment in February 2018. On 12/12/2017 Wallace put up the $50,000 cash/property bond that was agreed to by prosecutor and defense. This was to remove the potential for a "signature only" bond being granted at the preliminary hearing and the case now moves directly to a Grand Jury for review. The next scheduled date for Grand Jury to convene in Winston County is February 2018. NARWAI will follow the case and update on the decision when it is handed down.

On 12/11/2017 Deitrick Wallace was brought into the courtroom in shackles as animal advocates anxiously waited in an empty courtroom. It was quite a strange turn of events. Ultimately there was only a group of advocates and a news reporter on one side of an empty courtroom and the defendant, defense counsel and a few people assumed to be family members on the other side as we waited. Upon seeing the number of people in attendance for this preliminary hearing relative to those present for other cases the judge moved all of us to an empty courtroom across a breezeway in a separate building. Soon after we were moved this courtroom a "side" door opened and the defendant was escorted in by deputies. With five felony charges facing him and cash bond set at $75,000 Wallace has been held in a Winston County, AL jail since his arrest on 11/10/2017. Nonetheless he entered this large, empty courtroom and looked straight at us with a big grin. One has to wonder what goes through a person's mind who has inflicted such pain, suffering and death. How could he forgive himself? Much less walk into a courtroom and smile at animal advocates in attendance as if he's amused that we're there? We waited in that room with this monster sitting in front of us until the presiding judge could "clear his docket" and relocate to the second room to adjudicate this case.  

If pictures speak louder than words the images shared here will scream volumes. The amount of pain and suffering five Pit Bulls experienced due to the defendant's careless disregard for their lives is evident. Wallace abandoned five dogs inside a house to starve to death when his home was being foreclosed on. It appears that causing extreme levels of fear, stress and pain slowly leading to torturous death wasn't enough, though. Wallace made sure these dogs would have not even have a chance to try to survive. He thwarted any opportunity they may have had to escape and save their own lives by leaving them locked in crates and on chains. Two dogs died in agony. Three survivors were saved by Free State Four Paws Rescue and are still in their care. Johnna Wade-Franks (the rescue's owner) has described their recovery as slow but steady. It's amazing that any living creature survived this hell. We do know that the bullies we love so much are emotionally driven but at the same time they are very resilient. Every indication is that the three surviving victims will recover despite what was done to them by the person that should have protected and cared for them. The three surviving dogs can recuperate, move on and live happy lives with a family who loves them. We don't believe the defendant deserves a chance to do the same. His actions are abhorrent and unlike dogs (who are quick to forgive humans) we find it difficult to forgive a person who tortures and kills innocent animals.

At Monday's hearing a deal was made between the prosecutor and defense attorney and approved by the judge. The prosecutor had placed us in a smaller hearing room during negotiations. He did, however, return to the room several times to advise what was happening and to get input from those present on the issues being discussed by the court. All felony cases are required to be sent to a grand jury for review. That normally follows a preliminary hearing before a judge to review requests for bond reduction and any other pertinent motions, such as defense motions that may seek a dismissal of charges or those that the prosecution might introduce prior to a case moving forward. After the preliminary hearing, a case goes to a grand jury that determines if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. The prosecutor noted that there's a high possibility that the judge's decision at this preliminary hearing could result in a "signature release" being allowed with no surety of a bond. To avoid that potential and to move the case forward certain terms were agreed to: Wallace waived the preliminary hearing afforded him as part of due process. With that waiver the case will go directly to grand jury for indictment. In turn, bond was reduced to $50,000, payable by cash or by property lien only (no bonding agent). As we listened to the prosecutor explained we advised him that we are quite sure (based on appearance alone) the female dogs had been heavily bred. This fact, as well as the extreme cruelty inflicted in this case, we suggested gave reason for the prosecution to seek a "no animal" order as a condition of any bond. The prosecutor agreed and the judge so ordered. Wallace can't have any animals nor claim "ownership" of the surviving victims that are in the rescue's care. Further, Wallace will be located outside Winston County, at least until his indictment. This is for the protection of all parties involved. The prosecutor deemed this appropriate and insisted he did believe the defense attorney's assurance that it will not result in the defendant "running". After we speak with the prosecutor to get a date for when the next grand jury will be seated we will  provide an update. Those proceedings, of course, are not open to the public. We are quite sure that an indictment will be handed down, however. Then this man can go to trial and be held accountable for what he has done. 

The worst part of this is that citizens/advocates were witness to the continuing cruelty on this property and their hands were tied by authorities. Free State Four Paws Rescue and the rescue Director, Johnna Waid-Franks, along with Haleyville, AL residentas including Albert Williams and Sandra Arrowsmith, worked for 2-3 months to get agencies to intervene and save the lives of these dogs. For too long they couldn't even get officials to go to the property and check on their welfare. When action was finally taken it was too late for two lives. Due to this fact and given the rural location and rumblings that county officials may not be aggressive in prosecution of cases involving crimes against animals NARWAI will stay involved in this case. There were people that wanted to help and they tried. They sought assistance from authorities but received none. Many attempts were made to get officers out to retrieve the dogs but it didn't happen. Witnessing the discovery of dead dogs and the others (all in deplorable condition) was emotionally disturbing to the people involved and they want to avoid this kind of resistance to act from authorities in any similar situations in the future. NARWAI has been asked to assist by drafting a "right to rescue" ordinance that can be presented to officials at the local level. These caring citizens simply want something in place that will require that an officer accompany a rescue/advocate to a property for a welfare check when there is a documentation to show that an animal's life is likely at risk. We will prepare verbiage for such an ordinance and help however we can to get it implemented. We will first discuss with those who work in the area an apparent lack of animal control facilities and/or lack of attention from authorities in cases of animal cruelty. We will review what resources or facilities are available to them. This will determine what may be most effective to achieve desired results.
The facts of this case are disturbing on many levels. Some people who live in Haleyville, AL were very concerned about the welfare of these dogs and tried desperately to save them but weren't allowed to do so. Conversely, another person living in the same small town had such complete disregard for the value of animal life that we believe he probably does not respect any life at all. Many studies have shown that one who commits extreme animal cruelty (particularly with killing and extreme suffering) is more likely than others to be a danger to humans. Therefore, we strongly believe that this defendant should be held responsible for his actions in every way that the law allows. NARWAI will prepare templates for letters to the prosecutor as we always do in such cases. We want the court to be aware that advocates all across the country are watching and we expect the law to be upheld in this case as it would in any other. It matters not if the victims are human or animal. A person who does not value the life of an innocent should not be allowed to walk freely among the general public. We adamantly maintain that an individual who exhibits such behavior as this is a danger to society. To protect the good people of Winston County from potential harm Mr. Wallace should be prosecuted aggressively with the maximum sentence imposed. The law must be applied to the five felonies charged as it would in any other violent crime. The merger of equality and law does not allow less and we expect no less from the authorities in Winston County.‚Äč

 National Animal Relief and Welfare Association, Inc 


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NARWAI  A national grassroots  501c3  approved non profit organization  EIN 81-3788976  incorporated in Alabama (Entity ID 370-731) Operatining as a foreign corporation in all other states. 

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