Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sheriff’s Deputy Charged With Starving Miniature Horses

Pamela Belo, 48. Police photo.

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.  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. 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.” 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.”

Warrior. Photo: RVR Horse Rescue

Belo, 48, was initially suspended without pay, but resigned from the Sheriff’s office after the charges were filed.  ”I thought she was a very nice lady. She’s a cop. As far as I know, I haven’t seen nothing wrong over there,” a neighbor told ABC Action News.

For more information about RVR Horse Rescue and how to help, visit their website.

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