Locked in, TBs couldn’t lift heads in stalls

A horse peeks out from the low-slung stalling area where three Thoroughbreds were seized by police Sunday.

A horse peeks out from the low-slung stalling area where three Thoroughbreds were seized by police Sunday.

Three Florida Thoroughbreds, locked away for months in shanty stalls so confining they couldn’t lift their heads, were seized Sunday by Miami-Dade law enforcement.

Removed from patched-together stalls where thick, putrid excrement covered the stall floors, were tattooed 4-year-old filly Silver and Smoke and tattooed 5-year-old chestnut gelding Bringcheckcharlie. A third, un-tattooed Thoroughbred was also seized from a boarding facility in an industrial section of NW Miami-Dade known as Miami Gardens, according to Laurie Waggoner, director of operations, South Florida SPCA.

An active police investigation is ongoing, she adds. Police will locate the owner(s) of the animals to press charges and turn over the two malnourished and one severely emaciated horse to the SPCA, she explains.

4-year-old T-bred filly Silver and Smoke was seized Sunday by Miami Dade law enforcement and turned over to the South Florida SPCA with two other Thoroughbreds. They lived in squallor.

4-year-old T-bred filly Silver and Smoke was seized Sunday.

“We found out about the horses over the weekend when a Good Samaritan notified us. The horses were being kept in a little boarding area where people can bring their horses and pay $50/month for a stall,” Waggoner says. “I went to pick them up on Sunday … and the horses were all anxious to get out of their stalls. They’ve probably been locked in there for a couple of months.”

Hunkered low beneath the ceiling and standing deep in muck was how the SPCA and police found three Thoroughbreds Sunday.

Hunkered low beneath the ceiling and standing deep in muck.

As if they knew that anyplace was better than there, they eagerly followed Waggoner to a waiting truck, trying to snatch mouthfuls of grass as they went. And they traveled well during the 45-minute trip to the SPCA facility, their addition bringing to 70 the total at the South Florida SPCA.

Conditions were so horrific at the squalid shanty that Waggoner took pictures showing a six-foot-tall man having to stoop beneath a low-slung ceiling, and she also documented the filth on stall floors, so thick that there wasn’t a clean spot for a horse to lie down.

The three Thoroughbreds after arriving at the SPCA.

The three Thoroughbreds after arriving at the SPCA.

Though the horses had relatively clean water, they were clearly malnourished, especially the gray filly.

“She has a body score of 1 and is in the worst shape of all of them,” says Waggoner, noting that Bringcheckcharlie has such a bad case of thrush in his feet that the frogs are completely rotted out.

“It was just disgusting. It was atrocious. Nobody had cleaned the stalls in a long time and there were standing puddles of muck and urine,” she says. “I would love to be able to lock the people responsible in those stalls for 24 hours!”

26 responses to “Locked in, TBs couldn’t lift heads in stalls”

  1. Locked in, TBs couldn’t lift heads in stalls | South Florida SPCA | Horse Rescue

    […] By Susan Salk on August 5, 2014 Reposted with permission from Off-Track Thoroughbreds […]

  2. Sherry Sellars

    This is unacceptable I do not understand people. We just rescued my sister’s 3 yr. old thoroughbred from a boarding place in Tracy California. My brother in law passed away in March of this year and my sister boarded their horse here while she was trying to recover from the shock of her husband’s death. He was a racehorse who raced at Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco. She paid every 2 months and thank goodness she paid in person and didn’t mail in her payment. When we went to pay his board and see him in June we couldn’t believe what we saw he had bite marks all over his face and back from the horse in the stall next to him. And he was starving to death. There wasn’t even a piece of alfalfa left anywhere in his stall Poor baby just looked at us like please help me it was so sad. We approached the owner and my sister in not a very nice way asked him if he was starving her horse, he literally looked at us and said YES my feeder doesn’t understand that Thoroughbreds need more food.Then had the nerve to ask her to give him a week to fatten him up. Unbelievable needless to say we called a boarding place in Galt Ca. and they came right away and picked him up it was great he left that hell hole in 5 star accomodations he boarded the trailer and didn’t look back. Within 3 weeks he was looking alot better but because of the severe weight loss he won’t be able to race anymore. My sister has decided to keep him as a pet he is the most loving guy so sweet. These horses are innocent and the ANIMALS that treat them like this need to be put away for good!!

  3. Stacy

    I am so upset I received a message about these horses to alert the breeder of the Grey Filly , She is devastated that one of her babies has suffered like this. When investigation is done will be going to her to live her life out permanently.

  4. Lana Marie

    Although this is in fact deplorable, disgusting etc. etc. It could have been much worse – as in those horses on one of the many illegal ‘farms’ that slaughter just about anything & including for the black market ‘horses’! If you want to know more check out Richard Couto’s fb page or his website http://www.animalrecoverymission.org/ He has busted & taken video/pictures etc. to the authorities & FINALLY getting their support in shutting down these HELL HOLES! Florida has a serious situation where horses have been stolen or butchered right in their barns & pieces taken for the black market!!
    Yes, the owner of these should be fined heavy along with whomever takes the board $$. IMO the place should be burnt to the ground!
    To even try & get into the heads of people that do this…I honestly don’t think we can even go there, none of ‘their’ excuses fly!!

  5. cheri vaughan

    I am ashamed to be human at these moments. House of Vaughan is sure these beautiful equine athletes will be restored, narrowly. We are SO thankful to those who saved them from the squalor, lifted them from the crimes being committed against them for NO GOOD REASON. Anyone who has ever been connected to the threesome should be prosecuted in our opinion. We are heartsick that such an atrocity has occurred AGAIN. We want to finish by being positive… we love you, beautiful equines and those who extended their hands in sincere friendship to save them.

  6. Carol Huff

    THIS makes you ashamed to call the owners members of the HUMAN species. They are sub-human in my opinion. Anyone who could do this to a horse, or any animal for that matter, deserves to be locked in a stall for months and months on end, one in which they can’t stand up straight, and one in which they have to live in their own excrement. I don’t know what the animal cruelty laws are there, but certainly this qualifies for punishment, and not just a slap on the wrist.

  7. Geri

    I spent five minutes trying to make a donation through their link and gave up with all the hoops I had to jump through. I even had it accepted and then kicked back because they didn’t like the phone number, of which they had no need. Suggest direct link to Paypal.

  8. janice

    Our family volunteers with the humane society on North Texas, and unfortunately, this treatment is more common than not. It’s Sick. 3 of our 4 horses are adopted. All of them are amazing animals which I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time with. $50 a month doesn’t even cover horse treats, let alone feed, hay, farrier, etc. I hope they catch the people responsible.

  9. Barbara Griffith

    What has been going on in Florida the past several years is the fact that there is hidden slaughter houses in the swamps around Dade county and other areas that sell slaughtered pigs to the public which is made up of Cubans, illegal Mexicans and just a large number of folks that will buy this meat including horse meat from horses that the owners of these illegal slaughter houses buy and fatten up feeding them garbage that they go around and collect behind super markets such as trimmings from produce like lettuce etc. Law enforcement has been working for years trying to shut this down but shut one down and another pops up. You can find a lot of this info on google by typing in illegal slaughter houses in Florida or Dade county. Keep in mind that certain parts of South Florida looks more and more like a failed third world country than a state that used to be part of the US.

  10. Sharon Tupper

    I was just disgusted when I read this. How can these people do this to horses when the horses didn’t do anything to them. I’m so appalled by this that it made my stomach turn. I agree that the owners of these horses should’ve known better and if they couldn’t properly care for them, why didn’t they try to find other suitable homes for them instead of leaving them like this. When I owned my Half-Arabian, I visited him everyday, feeding him, and taking care of him. Some people just don’t care and they shouldn’t be allowed to own anymore animals during their lifetime. I wonder what their racing careers were like before this happened. It would be interesting to know.

  11. Linda R. Moss

    Oy Sue – this just makes me nuts! But hat off to you for including this in the cadre of stories you so eloquently write. We need to be reminded from time to time – not all of us go to the ends of the earth to cherish and care for these beautiful beings.

  12. Patty Hamilton

    This is really a sick situation down in Miami-Dade. You have Third World Country people some how getting these beautiful horses only to destroy them. Thank you to all that rescued these horses.

    1. Enrico Pescatore

      It’s important to realize that equine abuse knows no class boundaries. We don’t know who the owners are from Susan’s report, and you shouldn’t assume that they are “Third World Country people.” Look no further than the horrific murder of the great Alydar (or more recently the PETA undercover video) to learn that very wealthy people are capable of mistreating — even murdering — thoroughbreds. See “The Killing of Alydar” here: http://www.texasmonthly.com/content/killing-alydar . And here’s a story on PETA’s undercover work: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/sports/peta-accuses-two-trainers-of-cruelty-to-horses.html?_r=0

  13. SusanA

    I would be curious to know how a son of Bwanna Charlie and a daughter of Montbrook who most likely brought large amounts of money at a weanling or yearling sale, ended up in this condition…..how does this keep happening? Heartbreaking.

    1. Jill Pflugheber

      Equibase answers some of those questions. For “Charlie”, Sales history–his highest selling prices was $2200 as a 2 year old. $1200 as a yearling, RNAed twice for $3500 and $6500. Connections as of his last start
      Trainer: Phillip Lee
      Owner: Joyce Collier Ivory
      Breeder: Ponder Hill, Inc.

      Poor kids–new life now. I hope they find the real current owners (unlikely to be those posted as last connections).

  14. Judith Ochs

    You have to fault the owners significantly. They never looked in on their own horses. And anyone who thinks $50 a month will cover costs for a horse is either looking for the absolute cheapest way out knowing that amount covers not even basic – or is incredibly ignorant about what it costs for simply decent care.

    1. HorseLuv73

      At that price, that sounds like a self-care situation where the owner provides hay and grain and cleans the stall. Obviously, they failed miserably at that and shouldn’t be allowed to own even an insect in the future.

    2. Jon

      I do not think that one can buy a decent bale of hay in Florida for $50. I know mine eat more than $50 of grain a month each. Clearly these people did not know what it costs or do not care about the well being of their horses.

  15. Michelle Y.

    Unbelievable. I would love to know exactly what kind of thinking is going on in the brains of these people. Or, should I say, lack thereof of brains.

  16. Jon

    It is clear that the owners should not even be allowed to own a gerbil, let alone a large animal. Things like this remind me of how lucky my OTTB’s are. They are loved, spoiled and want for nothing. Both the owners and the boarding facility are at fault for not taking the steps to properly care for these horses.

  17. Whitney Mulqueen

    Susan….who did these horses belong to? I hope that they will face serious consequences for such horrific neglect. Please keep us posted on the progress of these 3 angels….my heart breaks for them….but, thankfully……someone stepped forward to help them 🙂

  18. TBDancer

    Despite all the publicity and websites available for people to learn about horse care and stable management, there is always a situation where the board payment ends the responsibility of the “caregiver.” Thank goodness for the good samaritan who reported this situation. A long road of recovery ahead, and prayers for the return to health of each of these TBs.

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