DeLand woman arrested after dead, malnourished animals found in ‘filthy’ home

A 37-year-old DeLand woman has been arrested and charged with more than two dozen animal cruelty charges after multiple animals were found severely malnourished or deceased inside her home.

On Monday morning, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a residence located in the 300 block of E Beresford in DeLand for a well-being check. According to VCSO, a woman had reported that a “strong odor” was coming from the house, and several emaciated dogs were barking inside.

When deputies entered the home with assistance from Volusia County Fire Rescue personnel, they observed malnourished animals that were living in “filthy conditions,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The deputies began bringing the surviving dogs outside and providing them with food and water. Officers with Volusia County Animal Services soon arrived on scene to assist with evaluating, treating, and providing shelter for all of the animals.

According to VCSO, the following animals were rescued from the home: three dogs that were hungry and dehydrated, a tortoise, multiple snakes and lizards, and a tarantula.

While searching the home, deputies also found deceased animals, including a young Basset hound, two cats, three geckos, and two birds.  

Detectives eventually made contact with the homeowner, Ashley Taryn Boucher, when she arrived at the residence. She told detectives that “caring for the animals had become too much.” She admitted to living at the house, though she claimed that she did not realize the severity of her animals’ conditions, according to the sheriff’s office.

Ashley Taryn Boucher
Ashley Taryn Boucher, 37, of DeLand (Volusia County Jail booking photo)

While speaking with law enforcement, Boucher claimed that she fed the animals three to five times a week, though she admitted that she has previously gone “five days straight” without feeding them.

Based on the appearance of the animals, VCSO stated that it appeared unlikely that the animals were being fed three to five times a week.

According to the sheriff’s office, Boucher’s bedroom was the only area in the home that was clean. Detectives also confirmed that she fed herself daily, and she often “splurged” each day by purchasing a $6 to $8 cup of coffee.

Inside the home, detectives observed unopened dog food cans on a coffee table, and Boucher admitted that she received an auto-shipment of dog food from Amazon.

At the conclusion of their investigation, detectives determined that Boucher was “clearly capable of providing basic food and care, as well as the ability to surrender (the animals) to Animal Services or a local rescue before they suffered from such neglect,” according to VCSO.

Boucher was arrested and transported to Volusia County Jail, where she is currently being held on a $54,000 bond. She is being charged with 20 felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty and 8 misdemeanor counts of confinement of animals without sufficient food, water, or exercise.

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