Venice toddlers found living in horrible conditions

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VENICE, FL. – Deputies have arrested a Venice woman for child neglect after deputies discovered toddlers living in horrible conditions.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Deputies went to a home on the 9000 block of South Tamiami Trail Tuesday night to look for a wanted sex offender. They were told by 22-year-old Donnalee Ballard that the suspect lived with her and would be home soon, and they could wait inside. Once in the home deputies saw two children, ages 1 and 2, walking barefoot on floors covered in garbage, blood and rotting food; dirty diapers smashed into the carpet; and beer cans and drug paraphernalia scattered around. There was also a lighter on the bed, dirty sheets and beer cans in the 2-year-old's room.

Ballard also admitted being addicted to drugs and shooting up Oxycontin that day while the children were in the next room.

Deputies requested Sarasota County EMS to respond to evaluate the children, and one of them had a high fever. Ballard said the child had a fever the day before and admitted she did not have medication and did not seek medical treatment.

DCF took custody of the children and Ballard was arrested. She is currently being held without bond. The wanted sex offender, James Denegall, was also arrested for violating probation.