Sunday, July 22, 2012

'He was a skeleton with a head': Sheriff’s Deputy Charged With Starving Miniature Horses

FLORIDA -- A 23-year veteran of the Hillsborough County, Fla., Sheriff’s office has been arrested on two counts of animal cruelty after volunteers from RVR Horse Rescue discovered four emaciated miniature horses on her property in early July. 

Belo had initially called a vet to come and euthanize the mini named "Warrior", telling him that the horse had fallen off a porch and had been lying in the dirt for two days. The vet refused to euthanize the horse and called RVR Horse Rescue for assistance.

Fourteen-year-old Warrior was so emaciated and weak
that he died from his condition three days after the rescue

On their website, RVR posted the heart wrenching story of Warrior, the miniature horse who died: 

”He had a little bit of grain that was spread out in the dirt next to his head, and a small bowl of water that he couldn’t lift his head high enough to drink out of.  We found his feet to be in deplorable condition, his back hooves were nearly 4 inches longer than they should have been, which would make it difficult, if not quite impossible for him to stand on his own.”

Pamelo Belo's mugshot photo

Agricultural officers who responded to Pamela Belo’s property determined that the horses were starving and dehydrated, and that the alleged neglect had been going on for as long as a year.

One of the four horses later died from organ failure resulting from starvation.  The surviving three, Lily, Sandy and Spirit, are being cared for by RVR Horse Rescue volunteers. Sandy and her 15-month old filly Lily will soon be up for adoption; Spirit is recovering.

Shawn Jayroe, owner of RVR Horse Rescue, told First Coast News, ”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 everybody.”

Spirit, a ten-year-old minature stallion, shows
signs of starvation but is expected to fully recover.

Belo, 48 has been a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for 23 years. She was initially suspended without pay, but resigned from the Sheriff’s office after the charges were filed.  If convicted, Belo faces up to five-years in prison.

Let's hope that justice prevails for one little horse named Warrior.

(Daily Mail UK - July 17, 2012)

UPDATE: This is from RVR Horse Rescue's website. Proof that there are honorable people who work for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and who are, I'm sure, horrified that a fellow officer could do such a thing:

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office rocks! Thank you! 2 officers showed up yesterday and dropped off 500 lbs of feed, treats and cash donation for the rescue from their unit.  Thank you HCSO, and others, for the donations!