It didn’t take long for Jose Alvarez noticed something odd as he made the rounds on his Southwest Ranches property. The carcass of a butchered horse lay near the fence surrounding his company, South Eastern Fish Farm.
Alvarez could see that the horse had been slaughtered: The hind quarters had been removed as well as two large parts of the back.
The discovery, made around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, shocked the quiet Southwest Broward neighborhood.
“We have never had a horse victimized like this in Southwest Ranches,” says Jim Leljedal of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. “We are working hard to solve the case. There is a detective assigned and we will follow up on any tips or leads that we get.”
Horse killings have already become a growing problem in Miami-Dade County.
The illegal market has gotten more attractive as some restaurants in the region are said to sell horse meat. Investigators have repeatedly found carcasses in recent years.
In 2011 alone, more than a dozen slaughtered horses were reported.
Now, it seems, the problem has moved north to Broward.
The 8-year-old brown horse, named Marco, was reported missing about 7 a.m. on Saturday by Jesus Sangiao-Parga of Just Perfect Landscaping at 5345 SW 210th Ter.
Sangiao-Parga told police officials the retired racehorse, valued at $1,200, was given to him as a gift four years ago.
Police may have a picture of how the horse was stolen in the dark of the night.
An investigation revealed the culprit entered the Sangiao-Parga’s business by climbing the fence gate sometime Friday night or Saturday morning. The person then went to the rear of the property where Sangiao-Parga kept two horses, Marco and 14-year old Sophie, in a stable.
Investigators believe the thief put a bridle on Marco and escorted him out through the rear of the property to Griffin Road where a vehicle picked them up.
The slaughter site was just a half mile away from Sangiao-Parga’s business.
Sangiao-Parga now wants justice for the family’s beloved animal.
“It is like losing a family member,” says Jesus’ son David Pargo. “It is just heartbreaking. I still have trouble to understand why somebody can do things like that.”
The brutal horse slaughter also alarms local animal rights advocates.
“This is not the first time we have a horse slaughter in our state,” says Don Anthony of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.
“These crimes really need to be controlled. We simply can’t have instant slaughterhouses in neighborhoods.”