Florida Thoroughbred Found Butchered

A Thoroughbred horse discovered butchered alongside a road in northwest Miami-Dade County, Fla., is the latest animal found slain for its meat in that county .

Since 2009 the butchered remains of more than 22 horses have been discovered in Miami-Dade County. Two horses were also discovered dead and mutilated in a field in nearby Miramar, Fla., in 2009.

A law enacted in 2010 makes it a felony in Florida to mutilate or kill a horse for its meat. The law also forbids the transport, distribution, sale, and purchase of horsemeat for human consumption. Violators face mandatory minimum penalties of $3,500 in fines and one year in prison, and maximum penalties of $5,000 in fines and five years in prison for each offense.

Miami-Dade County Police Public Information Officer Edna Hernandez said the latest slaughtered horse's carcass was discovered in the early morning hours of Oct. 20. Investigators believe the animal was killed elsewhere then disposed of at the roadside, she said.

Richard Cuoto, veteran animal cruelty investigator and founder of the Animal Rescue Mission, a private, nonprofit agency that probes Florida's illegal horsemeat trade, said the 6-year-old Thoroughbred mare sustained a fatal knife wound to the heart before all four of her legs were removed. The mare was in good condition prior to death, he said.

"Her mane was combed and she looked to be in good shape," Cuoto said. "She was definitely cared for."

Cuoto said a tattoo on the animal's upper lip indicates the mare was formerly a racehorse, and he hopes to use the tattoo to trace the mare's identity.

Meanwhile, Hernandez said Miami-Dade Police Department's Agricultural Patrol Unit detectives are investigating the circumstances connected with the horse's death.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact CrimeStoppers at 305/471-TIPS (8477) or 866/471-8477, or visit crimestoppersmiami.com and select "Give a Tip," Hernandez said.

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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