SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have seized around 200 animals, including several exotic species, from a farm in Southwest Miami-Dade.
The animals were rescued by court order from the five-acre facility located in the Redland, near Homestead, Thursday.
The large-scale rescue operation was nicknamed “Noah’s Ark.” Officials are describing the disturbing discovery as a massive case of animal neglect.
Among the animals rescued are horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, alpacas, emus, chickens, turkeys and geese.
“The sheer number, the different breeds of animals, the different kinds of animals and the quantity of the animals,” said Kathleen Monahan of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It’s a massive undertaking.”
The animals were in such bad shape that authorities had no choice but to step in.
Earl Miller said the property owner hired him in part to feed those animals, and when he saw the conditions, he contacted authorities.
“He was feeding the animals in a horse trailer with large, 1,200 blocks of alfalfa instead of pulling them out of the trailer,” said Miller, “so animals were getting stuck and were getting cut on the bail wire. There was mold growing in the feed shed.”
Police said many animals were near starvation, lacking shelter and confined to inadequate conditions.
“Starving animals were seen, sick animals,” said Monahan.
In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said, “Animal neglect is the quiet twin of animal abuse. I am proud to have partnered with the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Agricultural Patrol, Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS), and the SPCA to obtain a court order removing these animals from the harsh conditions they were forced to endure.”
One animal died during the rescue, and four others were euthanized.
“That gives you an idea of the seriousness of the investigation,” said Monahan.
The animals are currently being cared for at a nearby ranch by the South Florida SPCA. They said this is the one of the largest single rescue operation they’ve ever handled in South Florida.
“This is really, really huge,” said Monahan.
SPCA officials said they are concerned about where to place the animals because there are so many of them.
As for the property manager, police said criminal charges are pending.
“After veterinarians completely examine the animals and provide reports, the Miami-Dade Police Department and my prosecutors will determine if further criminal legal action is warranted,” said Fernandez Rundle in her statement.
If you would like more information about the South Florida SPCA and how to help these animals, click here.
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