HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Authorities are investigating an apparent slaughter of a horse after pieces of its body were found in Homestead.
Investigator Richard Couto of the Animal Recovery Mission tells local media that investigators from the group found the horse’s body early Sunday off a dirt road. Couto estimates that about 90 percent of the horse had been removed. Parts of the horse were found scattered in the grass.
Dio Benitez, SFSPCA Ranch Manager, said, “The horse was an older grey Paso Fino, a popular breed in South Florida. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female, only the head, skeleton and some intestines were left. Even its hide was gone.”
Miami-Dade police’s agricultural unit will investigate the incident, although it’s a difficult crime to prosecute.
Couto says Homestead is considered to be a “hot spot” for illegal horse slaughter. He says the meat is butchered and sold on the black market, and is often consumed for medicinal purposes.
“It’s happening all too often here in Miami-Dade County,” said Kathleen Monahan, president of SFSPCA. “There is a demand for horse meat for human consumption among those who believe it has medicinal and/or magical qualities. Unfortunately, this meat is toxic due to the vaccinations and regular medications that horses are given here, many known to cause cancer in humans,” explained Monahan.
SFSPCA urges South Florida horse owners to be extra vigilant when it comes to keeping their animals safe, and warns the public to not consume any horse meat due to its health hazards.
If anyone has any information about this crime, please call South Florida SPCA at 305-825-8826, or MDPD’s Agricultural Unit at 786-218-8344.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.