4 former racehorses found abandoned

Officials: Horses have no fat, no muscle

MIAMI - Four former thoroughbred racehorses were found emaciated and abandoned near a northwest Miami-Dade County canal, investigators said.

Investigators with the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recovered the four abandoned animals, which were in poor health.

PHOTOS: Abandoned horses found

The were found near the C-9 canal off Okeechobee Road.

Officials said the horses have no fat and no muscle and are full of rain rot and sores.

"God knows when the last time he had a meal -- a racehorse that has been thrown away and neglected," said Richard Couto, of Animal Recovery Mission.

Identification tattoos in the horses' mouths gave investigators information on their previous owners, which they hope leads to an arrest.

The tattoos indicated that one of the horses participated in 31 races, winning twice, placing second twice and finishing third twice, and there was no information after Jan. 1, 2011.

A veterinarian said one of the horses had a heart murmur from being anemic. Its skin is so raw that its hair fell out, a condition that veterinarians said was caused by a depleted immune system.

Miami-Dade police are investigating.

The horses were taken to Alibi Acres in Southwest Ranches to recover.

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