SOUTHWEST RANCHES, FLA. (WSVN) - The Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) is offering a $25,000 reward in an urgent bid to bring to justice those responsible for the theft of two horses from a secluded property in Southwest Ranches.
The private property, located in the tranquil Rolling Oaks area of Southwest Ranches, is situated near the esteemed World Class Equestrian Centre, which is known as a prominent horse-loving community.
The stolen horses are identified as Milagro, 8 months old, and Venus, 2 years old, who the owners believe were taken from the home sometime Friday night, early Saturday morning.
“The worker, that works for me came to feed the horses, they were gone and we found the fence broken,” said Pablo Gamboa, the owner of the horses.
ARM was immediately alerted by the horses’ owner following the discovery of their disappearance.
“These horses are like kids for us,” said Gamboa. “Like family members.”
The family rescued Venus when she was 3 months old and have also had Milagro since she was a baby.
This incident has sparked grave concerns that the stolen fillies may have fallen victim to the illicit black-market horse meat trade, an illegal industry that has plagued the state of Florida for years.
The owners remain hopeful that this is not the case and that they will return home safely.
“We are very stressed not only because we love our horses, because they are like family, but it’s also that we lost a sense of safety,” said Ana Munoz, owner of the horses. “The fact that somebody just comes around and enters in the middle of the night to do this and not be noticed.”
This event follows the earlier slaughter of two other horses, War and Sammy, whose remains were tragically found discarded near a canal in Homestead, another notorious hotspot for illegal horse slaughter activities.
“I ask people if you see something strange, strange cars, strange people, looking at the properties, please call the police and let them know. Don’t just ignore it,” said Munoz.
The illegal slaughter of horses constitutes a third-degree felony in the state of Florida, a crime that ARM had a pivotal role in addressing with the enactment of the Good Horse Slaughter Act in 2010.
The legislation criminalizes the buying, selling, transporting, and killing of horses for human consumption, as well as possessing horse meat. Perpetrators may face a minimum of one year in imprisonment and a $3,500 fine.
ARM, in close collaboration with the police are actively pursuing leads to shed light on this case.
If you have any information on this crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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