Left once again to pick up the wreckage of another wannabe horse owner “chasing the dream” —his animals wasting away —Laurie Waggoner of the South Florida SPCA returned last month to the same scene where a year earlier, three Thoroughbreds had starved, nearly to death.
Working in tandem with the Miami Gardens Police last month, Waggoner seized four horses, including a foal, and most notably, 5-year-old mare Enchanting Tide, who last raced at Gulfstream Park before falling into the wrong hands. They all showed the heartlessly familiar signs of neglect, she says.
“You could look at the horses and know that they didn’t eat everyday,” Waggoner says, noting that the owner, who was arrested at the scene and charged with animal cruelty, did have some food and water on the premises—but not nearly enough. “The owner recently came here from Cuba and was ignorant about how to take of horses; and he just wanted to live the dream.”
Dam: Marhaba, by Turkoman
Foal date: March 15, 2010The suspect, whose identity was not available to Off Track Thoroughbreds.com by the time this story was published, reported to Waggoner he had owned Enchanting Tide for only a matter of days, she says. And he produced her registration papers at the time the animal was seized, Waggoner adds, noting the Thoroughbred was in comparatively good shape, with a Henneke Body Score of 3. The suspect’s other horses did not fare so well, she says.
“An appendix-type mare and her 8-month-old foal were living in the same stall, and the foal had dreadlocks” due to inattention and worse. Her mother and a gray horse were also in various states of starvation.
Sadder than the story of Enchanting Tide and the three other rescues, is the seemingly endless cycle of indifference, disregard and animal cruelty occurring in the one-acre facility of shanty stalls situated in Opa-locka, Waggoner says.
On a property squeezed between other miniature farms on scant acreage, and across the street from an apartment complex, owners pay a minimal monthly fee for rough board in a low-slung shanty, she says.
Many stalls were thick with mud and waste, and the room clearance is so low horses can’t fully lift their heads. There is not enough room on the property for turnout, yet, she estimates there were 10 horses on the property by the time Miami Gardens Police responded to the scene after a young woman barraged them with pleading phone calls to investigate the matter.
It was the same scene Waggoner responded to last year to rescue OTTB Silver and Smoke, and others. Please see that story here: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2014/08/05/locked-in-tbs-couldnt-lift-heads-in-stalls/
“The situation is overwhelming,” Waggoner says. “It’s the same location, different owner. Last year we had a 77-year-old man who had a dream to make it big at the racetrack. But he never wins. He just had the dream.”
Sadly, Waggoner suspects the sad cycle will continue, as more owners move their horses into the muck and filth of the sad little stable in Florida.
“There is no solution,” she says. “If I don’t do it, the animals wouldn’t be picked up. It would be like all the other places out there, where the animal is left until he dies.”
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