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Police search for clues after horse remains discovered in Southwest Miami-Dade

By Nikiya Carrero

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    MIAMI (WFOR) — Police are searching for clues after horse remains were found in Southwest Miami-Dade on Saturday morning.

It’s the latest of several cases of alleged horse slaughtering in the area and this weekend’s discovery was found around 8:42 a.m. near Southwest 128th Street and 202nd Avenue. Miami-Dade Police’s Agricultural Patrol Unit is investigating the incident.

When officers arrived, they found a head laid, covered in trash in a bush, and pieces scattered on the road.

CBS News Miami’s Nikiya Carrero spoke with a man who has been working tirelessly for years to put a dent in the multi-million-dollar horse slaughtering industry.

“Horse owners out there be forewarned, especially if you’re keeping a horse on a property where you don’t live and there aren’t many humans at night,” said Animal Recovery Mission founder Richard Couto. “Those properties these people are targeting.”

Couto has been trying to stop the killings since 2007. He said through his experience, he believed where the horse was found was just a dumping ground.

“I would say this horse was killed on private property to section and butcher this animal,” Couto said. “And then, in the middle of the night, had the time to load this animal carcass and dump it on the side of the road.”

Couto says in the last few years, there has been an uptick in horse slaughterings. In the last six months, CBS News Miami has reported on at least five instances in Southwest Miami-Dade, but one animal activist says there were several more.

He said people are paying anywhere from $7 to $40 a pound and Couto added that the horse found on Saturday was particularly larger.

“These killers had a lot of time on their hands to do what they want to do [to] this horse and guaranteed a lot of meat,” Couto said. “We’re talking possibly 600 pounds of meat came from this animal.”

Over the years, Couto has noticed a trend: Most of these horses are pets and belong to someone who truly loves them. But, protecting them is the issue.

“These people are doing surveillance on properties,” he said. “They’re targeting certain properties with a lot of horse — they’re targeting properties [that] actually don’t live — they know the horses at there at night and people aren’t.”

At this time, Miami-Dade Police has not confirmed if this case was a horse slaughter.

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