About 80 head of cattle seized from the ranch of Burnet County Commissioner Billy Wall are being held at the Burnet County fairgrounds in Burnet. A judge will determine whether the cattle will be returned to Wall or turned over to the county for care and auction. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
A hearing on an animal cruelty case involving a herd of about 80 cattle owned by Burnet County Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wally is set for 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, before Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Jane Marie Hurst. The case was moved Sept. 16 from Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Lisa Whitehead’s courtroom in the Burnet County Courthouse to the South Burnet County Annex, 810 Steve Hawkins Parkway in Marble Falls.
The cattle are being held at the fairgrounds in Burnet and are under the care of the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, which seized the animals from Wall’s property on Sept. 8. Public complaints about the poor condition of the animals led to the seizure, Sheriff Calvin Boyd said.
Whitehead recused herself from presiding over the Sept. 16 hearing, which was heard by Mason County Justice of the Peace Treg Hudson. Williamson County attorneys are prosecuting the case as Burnet County Attorney Eddie Arredondo also recused himself. He is defending Wall and the Commissioners Court in another lawsuit and cannot legally defend and prosecute the same person.
Although Hudson at first denied a request for venue change by email the evening before, he signed the motion in court after a prolonged discussion at the bench with Wall’s attorney, Eddie Shell, and Williamson County Assistant County Attorney Carson Walker.
Shell told DailyTrib.com the request was made for strategic reasons, but wouldn’t elaborate.
When asked, Walker said the change of venue was not a problem for the prosecution and that both parties agreed. Both parties also agreed to extend the 10-day time limit to hear animal cruelty cases.
The hearing will determine whether charges will be filed against Wall by the Sheriff’s Office or if his cattle will be returned to him.