Photo copyright: South Florida Sun-Sentinal
Since January, 17 horses have been killed in Miami-Dade county. On Friday, six horses and one mule were found on a Miramar ranch, starved and sickly. One had to be euthanized on the spot. So why is Miami so unfriendly for horses?
The killings have a probable motive - meat. Horse meat fetches a good price, and what cheaper way to obtain it than to steal someone else's horse? But it hasn't stopped there: the killers have even gone so far as to slaughter some of the horses right there on the farm in which they live. One foal even watched as its mother was butchered.
A reward for information leading to the capture of the criminals has reached $10,000. But is it enough?
In the animal cruelty case, the Broward chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took the five horses and mule to a sanctuary of theirs. They had ribs that showed clearly through, and shoulders that jaggedly stuck out from their body. Of the one horse that had to be put down, "This was a horse that was suffering," Tania Rues, a Miramar Police Spokesperson, said. "It was clearly in pain." There was food available, it just seemed as if no one bothered to feed them. The owner was not around - possibly out of the country.
Why have horses been such a target lately? They might be an easier target in Miami because of the surroundings. Only two horses have been killed in Broward, and there have been no reports from Palm Beach County. In those counties, owners tend to live on the property where their animals live. They also usually have more security: from iron-barred gates to cameras, these farms have careful eyes on their horses. In Miami, most owners show up to care for their animals and then leave.
Regardless, horseowners all over South Florida are worried. And so are rescue groups. Anyone could easily adopt a horse under false pretenses, only to then butcher the animal. Those rescue groups are rethinking their policies and becoming more strict. Farm owners are getting together, forming Watch Groups.
Between the SPCA and local Police, the horse world has been shaken up here in South Florida. Hopefully, it won't be for much longer.