LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - Many people in Palm Beach County's thriving equestrian community says they are devastated yet determined to find the culprit after the slaughtered remains of a horse were found in a Loxahatchee canal.
The remains of the horse was taken to Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control to be analyzed. Authorities there say the horse bled out.
Horse lovers in the area were keeping a close watch over their animals Tuesday.
"If we are not here our gates are locked all night long and we do an every two-hour check on our horses," said Jennifer Swanson, who operates Pure Thoughts, Inc., a horse rescue in Loxahatchee.
"It was only a matter of time before we found a carcass," said Swanson.
The butchered, dismembered body of a 10 to 12-year-old horse was discovered in a series of trash bags left in a canal, authorities said. Investigators said a woman walking near 180th Avenue and 32nd Street spotted the bags and called for help.
Officials with Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control said the horse's throat was slashed and its tongue and meat removed, likely for human consumption.
"This was probably a very loving horse willing to go with whoever came to him and that breaks my heart that someone can do that," said Swanson.
In Florida, it is illegal to sell horse meat. But the slaughtering of horses has been a problem in the state before. This is the first-ever confirmed case in Palm Beach County. "This area loves horses," said Swanson. "This area needs horses."
Swanson's organization has rescued, rehabilitated and placed over 1,700 horses over the last decade. "Finding a horse in trouble isn't very hard these days," she said. "It scares me. The lack of humanity scares me."
Authorities believe that it is possible that the horse belonged to someone in the area of where the remains were found.
Anyone with information about this is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 1-800-458-TIPS.