‘This may break your heart’: Deputies find starving dog suffering next to bowl of food in Florida

‘This may break your heart’: Police find starving dog suffering next to food bowl

DELAND, Fla. — A DeLand, Florida, man has been charged with animal cruelty after a dog that was found suffering died at an animal hospital.

Deputies said they responded to a home to provide an escort for someone removing her belongings and moving out of the house.

Ronald Winters informed deputies when they arrived that there was a dog on the front porch and added that “the dog wouldn’t bite, or even move,” police said.

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According to a report, a Volusia County deputy found a 13-year-old dog, Maria, under two blankets, “emaciated and soiled,” and “obviously suffering.”

Despite her looking thin, deputies said she was next to a bowl of food that “appeared untouched.”

Maria was taken to a veterinarian for treatment, but it was decided to “let her go in peace,” due to her “deteriorating condition,” police said.

Officials said two cats that were also located on Winters' property were found to be in need of medical attention, although their conditions did not rise to the level of animal cruelty charges. They were taken in by Animal Services to receive treatment.

Those two cats, Grey and JackJack, will be up for adoption at New Hope Animal Shelter in DeLand, deputies said.

Deputies said Winters was taken into custody on a charge of cruelty to animals.

Officials are asking residents who witness an animal suffering or have an animal that has needs they can no longer meet to please call Volusia County Animal Services for assistance at 386-248-1790.

A DeLand man has been charged with animal cruelty after a dog that was found suffering died at an animal hospital.
A DeLand man has been charged with animal cruelty after a dog that was found suffering died at an animal hospital. (Volusia County Sheriff's Office)
Animal cruelty arrest 1/27/20

Warning: This may break your heart and make you angry. It is difficult to see man's best friend suffering this way. Last night, Deputy James responded to an address in DeLand to provide an escort for someone removing her belongings and moving out of the house. While on scene, Deputy James was informed of a dog on the front porch. He was told the dog wouldn't bite, or even move. After two blankets covering the dog were removed, Deputy James realized the dog was severely emaciated and soiled. She had a bowl of food next to her that appeared untouched, and was obviously suffering. Deputy James contacted Volusia County Animal Services which assessed the dog and determined her body condition score was a 1, the worst condition. Ronald Alan Winters, 72 (DOB 7/22/1947), was taken into custody on a charge of cruelty to animals. The dog, Miria, 13 years old, was taken to a veterinarian who evaluated her and gave her the best medical treatment possible. But we're sad to report that due to her deteriorating condition and obvious suffering, the only humane decision left was to end Miria's pain and let her go in peace. Two cats that were also located on Winters' property were found to be in need of medical attention, although their conditions did not rise to the level of animal cruelty charges. They were taken in by Animal Services to receive treatment. Those two cats, Grey and JackJack, will be up for adoption at New Hope Animal Shelter in DeLand. We're posting this to ask you to please report cases of animal abuse and neglect before they get to this point. If you witness an animal suffering or have an animal that has needs you can no longer meet, please don't ignore it. There are people out there who can help. For assistance from Volusia County Animal Services please call 386-248-1790.

Posted by Volusia Sheriff's Office on Monday, January 27, 2020