HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- It was a case of neglect so severe that one of four rescued horses died.
On Monday, autopsy results revealed the miniature horse, Warrior, starved to death.
Now, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is charging one of its
own deputies with animal abuse. The surviving three horses are being
cared for by RVR Horse Rescue, a nonprofit run by volunteers.
Agricultural detectives from the Sheriff's Office worked quickly to
determine that the neglect may have been going on for as long as a year.
The horses were allegedly starved, dehydrated, and left outside in the
heat for days.
Longtime deputy Pamela Belo has been charged with two counts of
animal abuse, one which may come with up to five years in prison. She
was going to be suspended without pay, but submitted her resignation in
the wake of the charges.
"How can you go in your house and eat dinner and know that there's a
little pony outside your door laying there and starving?" asks Shawn
Jayroe, owner of RVR Horse Rescue. "It's been very hard,
because [Warrior] didn't deserve to go through that at all. We tried
everything that we could to save him, and it was just heartbreaking for
Two of the three surviving miniature horses, Lilly and Sandy, will
soon be up for adoption. A third, Spirit, is still recovering.
To find out more about RVR Horse Rescue or to make a donation to help care for the horses, you can visit their website or Facebook page.