Another Florida Horse Slaughter Probed

Palm Beach County, Fla., authorities are investigating the death of a horse apparently slaughtered for meat and dumped in a canal.

Capt. David Walesky, operations manager for Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, said that on Oct. 11, fishermen discovered the horse's remains in a canal near Loxahatchee Acreage. The case remains under investigation, Walesky said.

This is the second apparent slaughter in the area since June, when a horse's dismembered remains were discovered near West Palm Beach. Since 2009, the remains of more than 20 horses have been discovered in Florida, most of them in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Last year the Broward County town of Southwest Ranches passed an ordinance that imposes minimum penalties on anyone convicted of butchering a horse for meat, which mimics a state law passed in 2010.

Walesky said horse slaughterings are often difficult to investigate due to the fact that only the horses' remains are typically found.

“Unless you catch someone in the act or in possession of the horse or horsemeat, these cases are tough,” Walesky said. Walesky cautioned that owners who are having difficulties caring for their animals should exercise caution when finding new owners for their horses.

“This is not a good time for horses: We see on Craigslist all the time and on fliers in feed stores that owners are giving their horses away, free, to new homes,” Walesky said. “But people should check references before turning their horses over to new owners because new owners don't always have good intentions for the horse.”

Walesky also recommends that owners finding themselves hard pressed to feed or care for their animals should make arrangements early to find appropriate homes for their horses. He also notes that Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control personnel are available to work with owners before animals get in trouble.

“If owners contact us early we are more inclined to work with them,” he said.

Anyone with information about the horse slaughter cases should call Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control at 561/233-1200, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department at 561/688-3000, or CrimeStoppers at 800/458-TIPS (8477). All CrimeStopper calls are confidential.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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