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Stolen Florida Therapy Horse Found Slaughtered for Its Meat

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Three stolen horses, including a cognitive health therapy animal, were found slaughtered in a remote field on Friday in rural South Miami-Dade County.

Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, of the Miami-Dade Police Department, said the thieves took the horses late Thursday or early Friday. They likely slaughtered them for their meat, according to the Miami Herald.

Police believe the thieves took the horses from their stable to the adjacent property, where they cut a hole in the fence, took the horses into the field, and killed them.

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Agricultural unit officers discovered the animals when they saw vultures circling the area. They followed the birds into the field, where they saw the remains.

David Yepez, caretaker of the therapy animal, Paloma, said the loss impacted many people.

He expressed concern for the therapy recipients, including children with autism spectrum disorder, who were emotionally attached to Paloma.

Yepez, an Army veteran, is acquainted with post-traumatic stress issues and was himself very fond of the horse.

Will the people responsible for this be found?

“It’s sad,” Yepez said. “You build an attachment, and you see the impact this horse has, not just on one person, but several people.”

This incident is just the latest in a slew of horse rustling episodes in the Miami-Dade area, according to The Guardian.

Thieves took two horses from the region just last month.

Those animals were also found slaughtered and dismembered, with their body parts strewn around the immediate area.

Over the past several years, horse rustling has been an epidemic in Florida. But until these latest episodes, police were optimistic that it had stopped.

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Police made an arrest of one suspect in December, taking Hialeah resident Alain Arencibia-Diaz into custody after he allegedly attempted to sell 40 lbs. of horse meat during a sting operation.

Zabaleta emphasized that nobody should consume any meat that may have come from these horses, as they receive medications that render the meat dangerous to humans.

“Just because it’s expensive doesn’t make it a delicacy,” he cautioned.

Police have made no arrests and have no suspects in this latest case, according to the Herald. They also do not know if this incident is related to any past rustling and slaughtering cases.

The perpetrators, if caught, will face felony charges for both theft and animal cruelty.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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