The remains of a slaughtered horse were discovered on the bank of a canal along Southwest 136th Street at 205th Avenue on Monday.
A crowd of buzzards gave away the location of the remains to private animal abuse investigators who told Local 10 they believe the animal was butchered within the past two days.
"This was someone's Christmas dinner, no doubt," said Richard Couto, founder of the Animal Recovery Mission.
Based on his survey of the carcass, the white and gray animal was likely someone's pet.
"The horse had horseshoes, well cared for. The coat that was discarded right near the body was groomed, as well as the mane and the tail," said Couto.
"Basically a head and a carcass was all that was left," said Julia Yapell, who discovered the remains Monday.
She said she stopped her car when she saw all the buzzards and could see the animal's ear sticking up out of the water. She snapped pictures of the remains with her phone. As a horse owner herself, she said her heart immediately began to hurt.
"There really are not words to express it. It's common knowledge that they often slaughter the horses while they are still alive. Their tactics are to cut the vocal chords so the horse can't cry out," she said as she fought back tears.
Miami-Dade police processed the scene. Investigators took pictures and collected bloody fingerprint evidence.
It's unclear to whom the horse belongs. This area is considered Miami-Dade County's horse country. After a spate of slaughters in 2009 and 2010, and subsequent convictions of those responsible, residents said they were starting to feel safe again.
"I don't think we've had one for a quite a while out here. I thought we'd been pretty successful in the past couple of years, but it looks like they're back it," Yapell said.
Yapell encouraged horse owners who can no longer afford to care for their animals to contact the SPCA of South Florida at 305-825-8826 or www.HelptheHorses.org.