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Butchered Florida horses may feed black-market meat trade

MIAMI — Caretakers found the brown American quarter horse Bonita lying dead and bloodied on the stable floor early Sunday morning.

Her front legs had been hacked, as had portions of her rump.

Not far from the carcass lay her months-old foal.

"I get a flashback in my mind of what happened,'' said Gloria Masdeu, a caretaker at Stone City, a ranch in the 12100 block of Northwest 157th Street where Bonita was boarded. "I don't know how people could do that. It's just awful.''

Since January, the remains of 17 horses have been found in Miami-Dade County, slaughtered and abandoned on or near rural roads. In May, two horses -- their throats cut and flesh stripped from their legs -- were found in a field in Miramar in Broward County.

"The majority of the found carcasses exhibit signs that the horses were butchered and meat removed,'' said Capt. Scott Andress, commander of Miami-Dade police department's Agricultural Patrol Section, one of the agencies investigating the incidents.

Police believe the killers carrying out these malicious acts are motivated by money.

"We've received anecdotal information from horse and livestock owners that there's a black market demand,'' Andress said.

"We're attempting to confirm that such a market exists and, if so, to what extent.''

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.

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