Crime

Abused horse gets new home, while her ex-owner gets a criminal record

Zasha the quarter horse will get a new home on Saturday, nearly four years after she was rescued from a South Miami-Dade ranch. Her ex-owner, Julio Lopez, was convicted this week of misdemeanor animal abuse.
Zasha the quarter horse will get a new home on Saturday, nearly four years after she was rescued from a South Miami-Dade ranch. Her ex-owner, Julio Lopez, was convicted this week of misdemeanor animal abuse. South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Zasha, a 7-year-old quarter horse mare, gets a new home Saturday, nearly four years after the starving and skinny horse was rescued from a South Miami-Dade ranch.

Her ex-owner is headed to house arrest — after he was convicted this week of animal abuse.

Julio Lopez, 58, was sentenced to stay confined in his home for 20 days, and must also complete 100 hours of community service after a jury found him guilty of four misdemeanor counts of animal abuse. A Miami-Dade judge on Wednesday also sentenced him to two years of probation.

Miami-Dade police arrested Lopez in May 2013 after raiding his ranch and finding four hungry horses, including Zasha. The animals were taken to a ranch run by the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“Had Mr. Lopez used the funds he spent on his attorneys’ fees and other legal costs to pay for feed, his horses would not have endured their horrific suffering, and neither the civil custody nor the criminal cruelty cases would have been necessary,” said the SFSPCA’s president Kathleen Monahan.

After being nursed back to health, three of the horses had already found homes. The fourth, Zasha, is scheduled to leave the SFSPCA’s ranch for a new home with a private owner elsewhere in South Florida.

Lopez’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

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