Florida deputy accused of starving 5 horses that were skin and bones and had open sores

RUSKIN, Fla. (WFLA) – She took an oath to protect and serve her community as a member law enforcement. Raven Devoss was expected to uphold the law while working for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, assigned to the jail.

In fact, the 27-year-old was approaching a milestone – completing her first year with the agency. According to a spokesperson, Devoss was hired on July 30, 2018.

Now, Raven Devoss is on the other side of the law.

The now-former detention deputy is facing animal cruelty charges in neighboring Hillsborough County, where she lives. On Thursday, county agricultural deputies say they received a disturbing complaint regarding starving animals at her home in Ruskin.

When deputies arrived at the house in rural Hillsborough County to investigate, what they found was heartbreaking.

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Five horses were starving to death in the hot Florida sun. Their ribs were sticking out, and their bodies were emaciated.

Skin and bones.

Their eyes told a story of misery and pain. They faced each day with no food or water, according to a news release. Documents also show that they had no shelter as they lived amidst trash, debris and barbed wire cluttering the grim landscape.

A spokesperson told WISH-TV’s sister station WFLA the horses were in “very poor health,” due to malnutrition. Deputies say they also found several open sores on the animals due to poor care.

Joe Roaten is a father-of-four who lives just down the street from Devoss. He’s been in the neighborhood for 24 years and says he’s never seen anything like this.

“It makes me sad, it makes me angry too,” he said.

Roaten says he knew Devoss had horses, but had no idea the animals were dying a slow death in her backyard.

He told us, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are, how high the totem pole you’re at, what’s right is right. And, what’s wrong is wrong.”

After the horses were examined by a veterinarian on Thursday, Devoss was arrested.

The sheriff’s office says 27-year-old Raven Devoss, a detention deputy for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, has been charged with five counts of unlawful confinement or abandonment of an animal. She’s also facing five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

A representative for the Pasco Sheriff’s Office released a brief statement saying Devoss was, “dismissed (Thursday) during her probationary period for failure to meet the conditions of her probation.” Devoss was hired on July 30, 2018, and had no infractions during her time with the sheriff’s office, the representative noted.