NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - An investigation has begun after about 20 horses were found slaughtered in Northwest Miami-Dade.

Richard Couto from the Animal Recovery Mission told 7News that his representatives are investigating the remains of several horses that were found at 17900 NW 129th Ave., Wednesday morning.

The discovery was made by a woman walking in the area to feed stray dogs. “She saw a Chihuahua gnawing on something,” said ARM’s Rachel Taylor, “so she went to have a look, and it was a leg of a horse. It’s not uncommon in this area.”

According to ARM, the body parts of at least 20 dead horses were found along the roadway, including severed heads and legs. “It’s like this whole area is a graveyard,” said Taylor. “That’s what’s alarming to me.”

ARM added that the horse meat is sometimes used for food and other purposes. “They’re taking every bit of meat, horse meat for human consumption,” said Taylor. “It’s also that they’re being used for rituals and ceremonies. This one was killed for its meat, but it’s also killed for Santeria.”

Remains could be seen laying in the grassy area, but others were in bags. “We just slashed them open, and it was tails and hooves and skulls,” Taylor said.

Officials said the killings are either recent or months old.

Residents, however, are not surprised. “It’s ridiculous that they do this to these animals,” said Ruben Ramirez, who works nearby. “I noticed yesterday the bags and all the turkey vultures and was like, ‘Wow, I hope it’s not horses again.'”

People in the area told 7News that because of how frequently this happens, they are thinking of installing cameras to catch whoever is responsible.

Many of the horses are stolen, ARM said. “It’s a huge commodity, huge demand,” said Taylor. “It’s very underground, though. It’s illegal. We made it illegal.”

“In seven years of doing this, we’ve done hundreds of horse slaughters, but in one day, we’ve done 20 already,” Taylor said. “That’s crazy. This is like a mass dumping area.”

Miami-Dade Police responded at around 11:30 a.m. and have yet to comment on who may be responsible.

ARM investigators said they believe the horses were slaughtered nearby and this scene is just a place to hide the dirty work. “I think people think this has gone away, but clearly it just doesn’t. It hasn’t gone away,” Taylor said.

If you have any information on this crime, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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