Well-groomed horse cut into 10 to 15 pieces in SW Miami-Dade (US)

21 horses killed since January

By CHRISTINA VEIGA | Miami Herald Staff Writer

She was a bay – a dark brown thoroughbred. She had a shiny coat and new horseshoes, all signs that someone took good care of her.

But Saturday night, the 3- or 4-year-old mare was found cut in pieces along a rural roadside in Southwest Miami-Dade, a spokesman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals said.

The mare was the latest horse slaughtered, possibly for her meat, in a rash of such killings this year in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“It was a pretty brutal scene,” said Richard Couto, a board of directors investigator with the SPCA. “I love horses, and going to a scene like that and seeing one in 10 to 15 pieces, it’s difficult.”

It was not known late Sunday whether any horses had been reported missing in South Florida.

Two neighbors contacted the SPCA when they came across the scene along Southwest 207th Avenue while taking their own horses for a pleasure ride. The remains were scattered across hundreds of feet, and the back legs of the horse were missing. Its organs were found in large plastic garbage bags, Couto said.

The number of horses killed since January now stands at 21, Couto said.

Roberto Aguedo Chavez, 53, the owner of a ranch at 19890 SW 180th St., and worker Ricardo Olivarez, 45, were arrested earlier this month after they sold horse meat to an undercover cop for $5 a pound. Last month, two teenagers were also arrested, and face charges of killing a registered breed horse.

In Florida, it is illegal to sell horse meat without proper labeling. A pound of the flesh can sell for up to $40 on the black market. A 1,400-pound horse may yield about 400 pounds of meat, Couto said.

“South Florida is probably one of the only places in the United States that a dead horse is much more valuable than a live horse,” he said.

The SPCA and Miami-Dade police are conducting separate investigations, Couto said.

Anyone with information may call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-8477.

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