Man convicted of animal cruelty finally maxes out
The Hancock County man charged in 2011 with the torture, mutilation and death of 29 animals, mostly puppies, has been moved to a West Virginia state prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Jeffrey Nally Jr., 22, formerly of Orchard Road, was being held in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville since his sentencing in Hancock County Circuit Court in April 2012. He was moved Oct. 4 to Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Mount Olive, W.Va., the state’s only maximum-security prison.
Nally’s transport to a state prison took so long because a bed opened up only recently, said Susan Harding, executive secretary to West Virginia Division of Corrections (WVDOC) Commissioner Jim Rubenstein.
“We have many inmates who are waiting to come into our system because of overcrowding,” Harding said.
The Mount Olive facility, east of Charleston, houses “the most violent, high-risk, dangerous and disruptive inmates in the state,” according to the WVDOC website.
Nally is serving a 10-45 year sentence for torturing and killing dogs at his Orchard Road home in 2011. He was charged with 29 felony counts of animal cruelty in a case that attracted worldwide attention for the heinousness of the crime.
Officers with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police moved in on Nally on March 9, 2011, after the mother of his then-girlfriend called police with concerns about her safety. The woman had been living with Nally but later told authorities that she was not free to leave and was forced to clean up the mess after Nally killed a dog.
Nally also was charged with kidnapping, but the charge was dropped when he reached a plea agreement with the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office in April 2012. Nally ended up pleading guilty to nine counts of animal cruelty, each of which brings a sentence of 1-5 years in prison. The sentences are being served consecutively.
Following Nally’s arrest, authorities found a horrific scene at the home – dog carcasses buried in shallow graves or wrapped in plastic bags and thrown over a hill, according to news accounts. They also found guns, blood- and hair-covered tools, and what appeared to be a beagle’s pelt and eyeballs in a jar.
Further investigation revealed decapitated, burned and skinned dogs, and dogs shot multiple times with pellet guns, arrows and other weapons. Nally reportedly acquired the animals through classified ads offering free puppies to good homes.
The case got the attention of the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which pledged $10,000 toward the cost of forensic testing and expert witness testimony if the case went to trial. The money ended up not being spent because the case was settled before trial, said Scott Heiser, ALDF senior attorney.
Heiser said he hopes Nally doesn’t qualify for parole any time soon.
“Jeff Nally is probably one of the most dangerous offenders you’re going to encounter,” he said. “Guys like this have no soul. They’re dead inside. They don’t care about the suffering they inflict. In fact, they enjoy it.”
The ALDF named Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis one of “America’s Top 10 Animal Defenders” earlier this year for his prosecution of the Nally case.
Nally is eligible for parole in April 2021, according to the WVDOC website. His projected release date is Oct. 4, 2034.