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Burnet County commissioner again settles animal cruelty case

Pre-trial hearing for Billy Wall animal cruelty case

Retired Judge Kevin Henderson (top, center), formerly of Williamson County Court at Law No. 1, presided as visiting judge during a pre-trial hearing in the animal cruelty civil case against Burnet County Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Screen-captured image

Another settlement has been reached in the animal cruelty civil case against Burnet County Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall, this time in Burnet County Court at Law. 

During a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Wall again agreed to forfeit 79 head of cattle to the county for sale at auction. Proceeds will go toward reimbursing the county’s estimated expenses of $63,088.94, an amount that could increase by $1,000 a day until the sale. Wall will have to make up the difference if the amount raised by selling the herd does not equal the cost to the county. 

Wall’s attorney, Eddie Shell, also stipulated the settlement include no finding of cruelty to animals. All parties agreed.

A court date was set for 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, if the settlement falls through. As part of the settlement, Wall will not be able to appeal the deal, which is exactly what he did when the first settlement was reached in October. 

Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd seized Wall’s cattle on Sept. 8 after investigating charges that the animals were malnourished. The case first went to Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Lisa Whitehead’s courtroom, then was moved to Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Jane Marie Hurst’s courtroom, where a similar settlement was reached. It was later appealed to Burnet County Court at Law.  

The Tuesday hearing was conducted via Zoom with retired Judge Kevin Henderson, formerly of Williamson County Court at Law No. 1, presiding as a visiting judge. Three Williamson County attorneys acted as prosecutors. Burnet County Court at Law Judge Linda Bayless and County Attorney Eddie Arredondo both recused themselves from the hearing.

The brief proceedings lasted less than 30 minutes. Williamson County prosecutor Joe Register said he would draw up an agreement for Wall’s and Shell’s signatures, probably by the end of the day. The settlement should be in force no later than Monday, all agreed.

“I’m going to sign it if it comes in with everyone’s signature on it,” Judge Henderson said. 

The settlement will be filed in Burnet County and forwarded to Henderson for his final ruling. 

A settlement reached in the Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace courtroom on Oct. 11 was for $32,853.94. It included an agreement to take the cattle to auction within 10 days. 

The cattle were in no condition to be transported, Sheriff Boyd determined at the time after consulting with a large animal veterinarian caring for them. Boyd also told that he would charge Wall with a misdemeanor once the civil case was decided. 

Shell said Boyd broke the agreement by not taking the cattle to auction within 10 days of the settlement, which is why he appealed the decision to the County Court at Law. He also objected to Boyd’s intention to file criminal charges.

2 thoughts on “Burnet County commissioner again settles animal cruelty case

  1. What a disgrace! It should be a felony. All hat no cattle Billy should resign…can’t manage cows, can’t manage leadership.

  2. Wow – so they agreed to no charge for cruelty to animals? I guess when you starve cattle for so long that they cannot even be transported safely that’s not cruelty? Well, what is then? Disgraceful.

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