The South Florida SPCA, working in conjunction with the Miami-Dade Agricultural Patrol, seized eight severely malnourished horses June 1, including six Thoroughbred mares.
As of last night, only one horse identification had been made, and another mare had died.
According to her lip tattoo, Florida-bred Thoroughbred Maggie’s Shamrock was among the group of severely malnourished horses.
“It’s rare that we get a group that is this skinny,” says Laurie Waggoner, director of South Florida SPCA ranch operations. “Usually there’s one who is worst, the skinniest, and then there are others who seem to survive off of air. But this time, they’re all just skeletons.”
The band of mares, all between ages 10 and 12, were ranked between 1 and 2 on the Henneke Horse Body Score System, the SPCA says, noting that the animals were eating weeds in their struggle to find food. “There was absolutely no grass on the property,” Waggoner adds.
One Quarter Horse mare is suspected of being pregnant, and the SPCA is awaiting confirmation of veterinary tests.
The animals were discovered Sunday after the Miami-Dade Agricultural Patrol received a tip by a private citizen, the SPCA says. After assessing the situation, the SPCA was contacted, and the animals were handed over.
The addition of the horses brings to 70 the total number of rescue horses under care at the South Florida SPCA, according to a press release.
Police arrested property owner Nivardo Beaton and charged him with cruelty to animals, according to a statement from the Miami-Dade Agricultural Patrol.
As police continue to investigate the matter, Waggoner says the South Florida SPCA will do its best to restore the health of these horses. “The horses are all doing OK,” she says. “And we’re coping as best we can. We don’t dwell on it. We do what needs doing and get it done.”