Nearly a dozen horses were found emaciated and starving in a rural area in southwest Miami-Dade. By the time the horses were found, several more had already died.
Of the 11 horses found, the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals confirmed that one of them was a race horse. From a tattoo on the horse's lip, the SPCA was able to identify it as "Moon's Treasure." The horse's last race was at Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens on Jul. 8, 2011. Moon's Treasure had to be taken by van off the track, which the SPCA said usually happens when a horse is injured.
Animal rescue workers also found seven dead horses and the skeleton of a horse's head on the private property.
"Three fairly new carcasses and there's horse skeletons everywhere out there," Laurie Waggoner with the SPCA said. "Some of the weeds have grown up through the rib cages."
They also found a dog unable to walk that they think was used to train fighting Pit bulls, known as a bait dog. The dog was then left on the property to die. Miami-Dade Animal Service workers took her in and named her Lola. Lola, along with the horses will be up for adoption once they have recovered.
David Bustamante with the SPCA called the area the horses were found a "hot spot," where in the past several months, dozens of horses have been found emaciated, abused, slaughtered and dead.
"The animal abuse in this area is epic," said Richard Couto with the Animal Recovery Mission.
Waggoner said the area where the horses were found is known as the "8.5."
"It's eight-and-a-half square miles out here, kind of almost in the middle of the Everglades," Waggoner said. "I would say 80 percent of the animals that our rescue picks up are picked up in this eight-and-a-half square mile area."
The horses were using a house on the property as a barn. Rescuers said there was about three to four inches of manure piled up in the house.
The rest of the horses are being taken to a shelter in Hialeah where veterinarians will try to nurse them back to health.
For more information on adopting an SPCA rescued horse or donating to the organization, visit spca-sofla.org, or send donations to
15476 NW 77th Court #440
Miami Lakes, FL 33016.