Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Horses found starving in Miami-Dade start new lives

The Miami Herald [tries] to report: Eleven horses were found starving in a Southwest Miami-Dade field on Sunday. An injured dog and the skeletons of about six horses that probably died of thirst were also found with the horses.

Ten of the horses got a new chance at life when rescuers saved them and transported them to a Hialeah-area ranch. The 11th, a racehorse, was identified as Moon’s Treasure by a lip tattoo, and transferred yesterday to a thoroughbred rehab and adoption center.

The dog is recuperating at Miami-Dade Animal Services.

Authorities were tipped off by an anonymous email, directing them to the property at SW 205th Avenue near 148th Street. The area is known as a horse dumping ground where illegal slaughter farms flourish.

Miami-Dade property appraiser records show that Sandra Bermudez and Cesar I. Bedoya own the land. They could not be reached yesterday.

These horses bring to the number of abused and neglected horses to 72 at the Hialeah ranch rented by the non-profit Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of South Florida. The ranch also shelters donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, and a Vietnamese potbellied piglet that materialized on the property days ago.

Laurie Waggoner, SPCA ranch operations director, thinks that all five mares from Sunday’s group are pregnant. Waggoner thinks all the horses will pull through, even the old quarter horse that’s little more than a skin-covered skeleton — and had maggots in a hoof abscess. She thinks he’s about 30.

So far, the horses have been de-wormed and vaccinated, and treated to free Purina feed by Mary Feed & Supply owner Lazaro Roig, who showed up yesterday afternoon with 80 bags.

A veterinarian will check the horses today.

The animals were “fearful" when SPCA volunteers showed up, said Waggoner, especially one of the colts, who finally jumped into a trailer with his mother after four hours of “wrangling." Waggoner thinks no human had ever touched him.

Once the animals are healthy, they’ll be up for adoption.

“If they’ve had training, they’ll be adopted quickly,’’ she said.

Farrier David Bustamante, 25, who helped with the rescue, said that the horses are fearful because “they’ve seen dead horses and dogs eating dead horses. They can smell death."

He said he also saw a dead rooster wearing cock-fighting spurs at the site.
SPCA president Jeanette Jordan said that after 40 years in animal rescue — horses since 2002 — she still can’t understand why people abuse living creatures.

“If they could talk,’’ she said, “what would they tell us about evil?"

Photo caption: This pregnant mare is one of the 11 malnourished horses brought to the ranch run by the SPCA.

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