Horse found dead in Riverview man's backyard, deputies say

The horse had died days before deputies were called to the home in the Panther Trace subdivision, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Another horse was taken to a shelter.
Published April 12
Updated April 12

RIVERVIEW — A 61-year-old man faces charges after deputies say he neglected two horses on his property, keeping them confined in his backyard without food, water or shelter.

When deputies showed up Thursday, they said they found one of the horses had died days before.

David Wayne Middleton was arrested on a felony charge of agravated cruelty to animals and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful confinement or abandonment of an animal, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies from the agricultural unit, which deals with the county’s livestock, ranchers and farmers, were sent to 12710 Adventure Drive in the Panther Trace subdivision to investigate a complaint of animal neglect.

There, the deputies said they found two adult horses — one dead, one still alive — inside a small backyard behind a home. The space was just 40 by 40 feet. There was no food, water or shelter for the horses, deputies said.

A veterinarian was called in. Neighbors said they had not seen the owner, Middleton, for weeks. When the owner arrived, deputies arrested him.

The surviving horse was taken by deputies and placed in a shelter, where it is now being cared for.

The investigation is continuing in this case. The Sheriff’s Office said more charges could be pending.

Middleton was being held in the Hillsborough County jail late Friday in lieu of $3,000 bail.

Contact Carl Lisciandrello at [email protected] Follow @carlmarks Times

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