Horses Abandoned Near Florida Everglades

Horses Abandoned Near Florida Everglades

The Arabian gelding's face and legs were covered with summer sores, Waggoner said.

Photo: Courtesy Laurie Waggoner/South Florida SPCA

Miami-Dade, Florida, authorities are seeking whoever abandoned a maltreated Paso Fino mare near the Everglades.

Detective Robin Pinkard, Miami-Dade Police Department public information officer, said personnel from the department's Agricultural Patrol Section responded to a report of a horse tied to a fence on a property near the Everglades on Aug. 4.

“Once officers arrived at the property they located two horses; one was deceased from what appeared to be lack of food and water,” she said. “The second horse was in poor condition and also had no water or food.”

The mare is the latest horse apparently abandoned in the same area in recent days.

Laurie Waggoner, director of rescue operations at the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said a severely malnourished Paso Fino gelding was found in the same location on Aug. 1 and a 20-year-old Arabian gelding was discovered there on Aug. 3. In addition to being severely malnourished, she said the Arabian's face and legs were covered with summer sores, which develop when flies pick up Habronema,(stomach worm) larvae from horse feces. Infected flies then deposit the larva into open wounds. Larvae that hatch in wound sites linger, irritating the tissues and creating the itchy sores that are notoriously difficult to treat.

Waggoner said about half of the SPCA's cases stem from abandoned horses. Horses are frequently found near the Everglades because of its remote location, she said.

“The area is so rural and no one sees the people abandon the horses there,” Waggoner said. “The police have nothing to go on.”

Even so, the Miami-Dade Police continue to investigate the incidents.

Meanwhile, all three horses are receiving rehabilitative care at the SPCA ranch and are expected to survive, Waggoner 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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