Two garbage bags of horse body parts were found in the northwest section of Loxahatchee, Fla. Monday night. According to Palm Beach Animal Care and Control, the head, hooves, and legs of a horse thought to be about 12 years old were recovered. There were no tattoos or identifying brands. A pair of gloves was also found in the garbage bags.
A resident in the area of 180th Ave, and 32nd St. called authorities to report “suspicious bags” in the canal located at 180th Ave. and 32nd St.
Diane Suave, Animal Care and Control department director, stated this is the first report in the area of possible horse slaughter crimes. A preliminary investigation shows the horse’s throat had been cut. There have been no reports of missing or stolen horses, and the remains of the horse have been taken to Animal Care and Control for further investigation.
Jennifer Swanson and Brad Gaver, co-owners of the Loxahatchee based Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue are very concerned and worried. The remains of the horse were found only five miles from the horse rescue, however they never let their guard down when it comes to the safety of the horses.
“We have several dogs who bark the moment they hear anything amiss. Brad and I always have our night watches, and foot patrols because we often have rescue horses who need around-the-clock care. We also have ten nurse mare foals who require frequent feedings so most of the time one of us is always awake. We try to keep this place as secure as we can by locking our gates and just being vigilant,” stated Swanson.
The Florida Horse Protection Bill was signed into law in May 2010 which makes it a felony to kill, maim, or mutilate a horse and prohibits the transport, sale, distribution or possession of horse meat that is not acquired from a “licensed slaughterhouse.” There are no licensed horse slaughterhouses in Florida.
If found, the person(s) responsible for this heinous crime, faces a mandatory $3,500 fine and the minimum of one-year in jail.
“We have always known this is going on, and we cannot turn a blind eye. We cannot continue to think that it will not happen here because it does, and it did. We need to work together to keep the horses safe. This area has one of the highest equine populations in Florida, and our horse welfare laws must be strictly enforced until every last evil person is punished for these horrible crimes,” continued Swanson who, since 2002 has been rescuing, rehabilitating, and finding new homes for 1,500 horses.
If you have any information concerning the identity of this horse or about the situation, please contact the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control at (561)-233-1200 or call 1-800-458-TIPS.
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